Since we’re gearing up for the launch of KickoffLabs we’ve been reflecting on what we’d do differently next time. My first bit of advice to future Josh (or anyone starting a new business) is to stop worrying so much about steps one through three.
Eventually you’ll face some choices that are worth fretting over, but here is a list of things we spent too much time worrying about before we starting doing what I’d call meaningful work.
The Logo & Colors
Not sure how much deliberation was spent on this choice, but it was too much. And when we started working with a good local designer we changed it anyway. I guess I learned some good things about color theory along the way… otherwise we would have been better off finding ten acceptable logos, picking one randomly, and moving on.
I’m not saying to ignore product and marketing site design but I am saying that minimal is better. We started out on Themeforest trying to find the “BEST” design for a marketing site and admin pages. We even bought some we didn’t use because they were just too much complicated. (Note to theme developers on themeforest… I’d pay more money for simpler designs… I did. )
I say go minimal because your product is going to be changing constantly leading up to launch. Minimal designs are also faster to implement, change, AND easier to support across browsers. You can get away with just having a designer work on a few key pages and a style guide… then you can figure out the rest.
As we’ve built the product I’ve had to refine my pitch so much that I still want to throw away 50% of the text on our beta home page (and I probably will before it’s public). I shouldn’t have worried that much about it since I’d be changing it anyway. I believe KickoffLabs is a great product because we force you to come up with some minimal copy and let you tweak it easily… but after that I should have stopped worrying about it when I didn’t have a product to show people anyway even if they liked what I had to say. I didn’t listen to what my own product was telling me to do.
But why do you worry about these things?
I think the problem is that when you don’t have much started then you feel like every (should be) small choice is magnified. You need to realize that your logo, colors, tagline, etc are all things you’ll change later on. It may also help to picture “If I had my business going and was busy working with customers… how much time would I spend on this. “
The other problem with worrying about these things that feel important at the time is that if you don’t have a product to show anyone what do those things matter? The sooner you can show people your product the more motivated you’ll be to keep going. Having customers, I’ve found, is VERY motivating. You should want to get there as fast as you can.