A hop, skip and jump, or not

The fact that you mastered the pond in your grandparent’s backyard doesn’t qualify you to cross the English Channel. 

Well, the Channel is a 16-hour ordeal if you swim at 2 miles per hour. Seasoned swimmers will tell you that it takes a lot of preparation. You need to frequently swim in icy water and eat like a pig because you need the reserves (read fat). I heard some recommending up to 50 miles per week. And you can’t do it without a pilot. More important, get one with a good record.

We frequently get this mentality in the start-up world: you have a great (untested) idea, you convinced your best buddy to join you in the garage, and your grandmother gave you a few dollars to survive the first six months. Then, after four months, you hooked your first paying customer with a well-crafted MVP. You made it. You are on top of the world.

And then, suddenly, the $10 million Series A becomes the next goal. Because why not go for world domination. After all, only the big fish in the ocean attracts attention. And nobody wants to be associated with small fry.

A better strategy to start small, cut your tooth by learning the hard way. Proverbially, learn how to swim in all the seasons, and get a coach to guide you through troubled waters. 

Bottom line: By starting small and engaging with the minimum viable market, you earn the respect of your community. Because it is not a bad idea to accumulate a fair amount of learning experiences before moving to the next stage.