I have made a lot of mistakes in life. One in particular that I remember was during the early days of StudyNation. The product had not had a good start (we had launched as StudyTimes.com). Our SEO strategy hadn’t worked as well as we thought. We had to shut down the site and relaunch as StudyNation.com
The relaunch was immensely successful. Within 3 months we were very close to displacing the top sites. The traction on the traffic was fantastic.
As the one closely working on the project, I decided to do something that I shouldn’t have, in hindsight! Selling!
Sales is core to any business. And everyone in the world has to think of sales sooner than you would like, unless ofcourse if your last name ends in -kerberg! And thats what I did as well. Problem was, there wasnt anything core to sell. The product wasnt ready for sales! The traffic wasnt high enough to sell advertising and the lead generation side of the business needed me to work on the product before I stepped out into the market.
It was a discussion with Vivek that made me realize my flaw. It was evident the minute we sat down to chat about it. I had made the fundamental mistake of running after sales even before the product was ready!
That said, Seth Godin argues that the attitude should be to ship fast. Had the iPhone waited to do a ‘complete’ job of itself (heck, it didnt even have SMS forward. It still doesnt have an SMS way of sharing contacts!), it possibly would never have been the iPhone we know of! But then, that was the iPhone. It was a revolution as it is. The same logic, I reckon, doesnt work when you shipping out something that as already been shipped before, especially by someone else!
The idea is to ALWAYS place the product first. Make sure the sales you wish to achieve, is supported by the product you have built. No point building an ecommerce product that doesnt make buying simple. Or a lead generation product that doesnt make searching on the site simple. Thats core. Thats fundamental.
Product is your sales!