This is the third part of a 7 day series titled “7 things to learn from our app startup”. You can view the earlier parts here
Key Point: Deadlines will kill you, but only if you let them.
This is a big one. Deadlines can be toxic for a startup, but are a necessary evil. When you create deadlines, especially deadlines towards HUGE milestones, and you miss them, it is bound to cause the morale within the team to drop. However, without any deadlines there is complete chaos and nothing to shape your milestones around. They always say “under promise and over deliver” and we thought we were doing just that. “Talk with the guys on the server side -Check! , Talk with the app development side -Check! , Talk with the attorney -Check! , Design team – Check! , Sales team -Check! , Account Mangers -Check! “. Full steam ahead! We felt like the Titanic, our plan, our process, and our timeline, all iron clad. We were unstoppable. What happened? The iceberg. We missed our deadline. We didn’t miss our deadline by an hour. We didn’t miss our deadline by a week. We missed it by over a month. Why did this happen? There is always something unforeseen. There’s a line of code that breaks the system, there’s a glitch in the server, there’s a computer that crashed and lost the most decent design work, there’s a power outage, there’s a dog’s birthday. Whatever the case, there will always be things that you don’t plan for. Even the biggest and best companies have obstacles, none the less a company starting from scratch. The key is how you react to those obstacles and stay nimble. For us, we stayed positive and true to our vision. We were so passionate about what we were doing we knew that these barriers were just a small part in the big scheme of things. We had promised a handful (luckily, a very forgiving handful) of businesses that the app would be released and fully functional by a certain date – it wasn’t. What did we do? We didn’t quit, we didn’t fire anyone, we didn’t fail, we MOVED ON. We apologized to the businesses, and encouraged them that we were working to the best of our ability to get it out as soon as possible, and we were! The thing is, most of the time your early adopters are the most forgiving, they see the value in it. They WANT it. They NEED it, and they’re excited about that. Set realistic deadlines, but always add some time for the unexpected. Excuses get you nowhere. No matter which deadlines you miss, stay determined, stay true to your values, and always keep moving forward. Remember, there’s a reason you started this. Now finish what you started.
Comment below and let us know what you took away from today’s message. Stay tuned for Part 4 of our series tomorrow!