Start Strong, Finish Strong, Launch Strong

“Finish strong” is a common phrase and something that people try to use to encourage us. People often say that most of the effort of any startup goes into finishing it. That last 20% of work that requires 80% of our total effort to make the startup complete. While this is true, it takes a combination of a strong start, a strong finish, and a strong launch to make your startup a success.

Startups Must Start Strong

Starting strong is not a problem for most people. Those that start strong often have a strong vision, a passion to create something new, or a passion to fix an existing problem. There are those that struggle with starting strong, however.

These are the ones that have a strong vision but start to lose their motivation and may even give up before they have fully engaged into the startup. Perhaps they get stuck in “analysis paralysis” – they spend so much time researching, planning, and analyzing that they never take action. Perhaps they get overwhelmed because they can’t break down a big task into smaller milestones and work toward them.

People that have difficulty starting strong must keep moving past the difficult steps of getting started. They must learn to break big tasks down, create quick wins, and constantly strive for progress. Seeking a partner with these complementary skills and attitudes can often lift them up when they are struggling during this phase.

Startups Must Finish Strong

For those that find it easy to start a project, they may find that it is harder to finish. Finishing isn’t easy – it requires discipline and the ability to get beyond setbacks.

When a carpenter finishes a piece of furniture, they often have to sand it with an increasingly fine sand paper until it is smooth. Then they may stain it, add a protective layer, hide nails and seams, and make it complete.

For a startup, the same thing applies. Finishing a startup requires paying attention to details. It means iterating over the product until it is polished and ready for customers. It also means knowing when to say ‘stop’ and launch.To finish strong means that you have spent the time to determine how you want to present your product to your customers. It means making trade offs. It may mean removing a feature because it isn’t complete or releasing it early to select users for feedback.

If you are a starter, make sure your team includes those that know how to finish strong. Find people that pay attention to details and know your startup’s audience so that you know where to make trade offs.

Startups Must Launch Strong

Launching isn’t easy. Even if you have finished, you haven’t launched. I’ve seen many startups fail to launch because they get stuck trying to improve their product. They keep finding new areas to fix or new features to release, certain that “unless we have this new feature, customers won’t buy our product.”

Launching strong means making the decision to call a product “good enough” and put it out there.

Launching strong means being willing to take criticism that a product “isn’t quite there.”

Launching strong means being willing to step aside from the mode of creation and into the mode of selling and support.

Launching is only the beginning of the journey. Without a strong launch, your product won’t sell. You must be ready to launch strong. You must be prepared for the launching marathon, because it isn’t a one-time event. Launching is really just Start Strong, Finish Strong, Launch Strong all over again as you launch, listen, learn, refine, and re-launch your product.

It is through launching strong where businesses are really built. Are you ready to launch strong?

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