The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris
Guiding a startup takes a lot of time. Startups have become the modern version of the American dream. Thousands of people around the world invest their hard-earned time, money, and energy into their hope for the “next big thing”. Most of us know (and expect) that reaching that dream of the “next big thing” it will take years of networking, sales, and marketing before we even reach a tiny portion of success.
Dan Norris says that you can skip all of that and become profitable business in 7 days.
Change What You Believe About Startups & Business
Dan Norris used to be a believer in the “it takes a long time and lot of money to build a startup” argument until he tried something different. In his book, The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch, Norris briefly describes how a series of business failures following the traditional advice concerning launching a business made him question the logic of it all.
Frustrated, he trashed just about all of the knowledge he had previously learned about launching a business. Some of that knowledge included assumptions like:
- Creating a great product means sales (if you build it, they will come).
- Surveys reveal what customers really feel about your product or service.
- Going viral is the key to online success.
- Having email subscribers means willing and loyal customers.
Frustrated, he tried something different. To really focus on making money and eliminating waste, he set a deadline of 1 week to launch a new business idea. That business was WP Curve, a WordPress technical support subscription service that allows unlimited WordPress support. WPCurve became a roaring a success.
The principles and lessons he learned from that experience are shared in the 131 pages of The 7 Day Startup.
Digging Deeper: What’s Behind The 7 Day Startup?
Day 1: The foundation of The 7 Day Startup begins with two distinct concepts, a Bootstrapped Business Idea and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Norris spends more time on the Bootstrapped Business Idea than any other concept in the book. The Bootstrapped Business Idea is a bare-bones outline of a product or service that is immediately profitable and can scale quickly. The reasoning behind the Bootstrapped Business Idea is the move to implementation.
Instead of drowning in marketing plans, readers are encouraged to find something that works and move quickly to implementation. To help readers identify if their idea can be considered a Bootstrapped Business Idea, Norris identifies 9 characteristics. Four of those characteristics include:
- Product/founder fit
- Operates profitably without the constant involvement of the founder
- Large market potential
Day 2: Once you have your Bootstrapped Business Idea, the next step is to create your MVP, Minimum Viable Product, a concept derived from product development. As defined by Norris, your MVP is a product or service you create that can offer a benefit to your user while requiring the smallest work from you to create. In other words, narrow down your product to its core service and offer that instead of trying to load a product with thousands of features people won’t use anyway.
Days 3-7: Once you have your Boostrapped Business Idea and MVP, the rest of the book covers marketing and promotion of your product. On Day 3, you choose a name for your business idea. On Day 4, you create a website. On Days 5 and 6, you determine your marketing options and targets. Finally, on Day 7 – you launch.
Who is The 7 Day Startup For and Can It Help?
The 7 Day Startup actually describes the intended audience for this book exactly: entrepreneurs (emphasis on startups), “wantepreneurs,” freelancers and bootstrappers. The book is well-suited for that purpose because it provides quick, actionable insights and recommendations that would be most beneficial for these groups. If you own a small business, the concepts of product development and marketing can be put into action immediately. If you own a larger business, you might be able to pull off some of the recommendations, but it will definitely take more time.
The 7 Day Startup follows along a trend of other “get your business done in a week” books. This book’s tack is to tie in lean business principles with a launch to get results, which is a unique concept, even if some of the methods used to get there are the same you would find in any marketing book. For some business owners, this might be the perfect thing to help them eliminate waste and promote efficiency. For others (especially a bigger business), this book might focus on moving too fast too soon. It presumes that you can come up with a unique business idea in a relatively short time and move to production very quickly, which is hard to do in the competitive market that we live in today.
Dan Norris is a content marketer, author and co-founder of WPCurve along with several other business. The companion website to The 7 Day Startup (with resources & templates) can be found at at WPCurve. You can find Norris on Twitter at @thedannorris. This review was based on a purchased copy of the electronic version of the book.
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