We’re deep into our beta cohort and I’d say it’s going well, very well. And my mark for success? We have been able to validate their first two, maybe three, business ideas as failures before they spent any significant time or money.

When going into business it’s instinct to think “I’ll do anything!” That might help get a general practice off the ground but it’s also a quick way to commoditize what you do because you can rightfully assume that’s what your peers are doing as well. Without the thoughtful development of a niche offering to a niche audience, you will find yourself competing on price instead of vision, expertise, experience, and skill.

There is a popular expression that has been beaten into the ground, celebrated, and worshipped by the masses in tech. “Fail fast,” they say with enthusiasm! But as I’ve learned from Phil Gilbert, the former general manager at IBM Design, failing fast comes with a cost, sometimes a high cost. “Fail cheap,” he used to say, should be the goal. And that’s exactly what we have designed Jump Ship to do.

Through the series of exercises and activities, we can develop more distinction in the intended business audience and services. When the market is flooded with supply, the only way to generate demand is through real distinction. It may seem counterproductive, but narrowing the focus on what you provide to a reduced potential marketplace is necessary. And it’s hard. Especially when facing a financial cliff, no matter how small it might be.

Ryan and I have spent a good portion of this year going through our version of these exercises to make Jump Ship actionable—failing cheaply—on day one. And it works! Not because we say so, but from the outcomes of our curriculum. On day one we were able to demonstrate that our client’s initial thinking on their business won’t result in a single sale. That doesn’t mean they had to start all over from scratch, just the opposite, we just had to pull them up and change their perspective which ultimately led to a much better path toward a successful start.

By no means is what we have put together perfect, but it’s working and the left side is tingling! Jump Ship can help you fail cheap and launch with a bang so that when you're ready to hang your shingle out, you know exactly what you're selling, who you're selling to, and what to avoid.