January 25 2016

How to Start Your Startup (Part 4): Iterating




Another buzzword in the startup world: Iterating.


Let’s break this buzzword down.


As we mentioned in our Market Research blog post, the advantage startups have over large corporations is their ability to adjust quickly and effectively. This process of determining what changes need to made and implementing those changes is called iterating. Successful startups are expert iterators. So to help you learn how to become an expert iterator, we asked our own expert, Allan Davis, to share his wisdom.


As a partner at Access America Transport- arguably the most successful startup in Chattanooga history- and a founding partner at Lamp Post Group, Allan understands how this process should work.


So, let’s see what he has to say, shall we?


Do all startups need to iterate?

Everyone in life should iterate on some level. Startups are lucky that they are small, and smaller things are easier to change. Once companies scale, bureaucracy takes over and change becomes nearly impossible.


What does the process of iterating look like? Are there steps that all startups should follow?

It’s not really a multi-step process. It’s more nuance. Meaning it’s just two steps, and you have to use your gut to know when to go back and forth between them. Just make stuff and get feedback, over and over again. If you tend to be more narcissistic, you spend more time making stuff and not enough time getting feedback. If you tend to be a people pleaser, you spend too much time getting feedback and not enough time building.


What sorts of changes have you made in your own companies while iterating?  

Compensation is a good example. You want to properly align your employees to the benefit of the company. So on one hand, you want to keep changing and refining the plan so everyone is perfectly aligned. But on the other hand, every time you change employees’ pay, everyone freaks out, even when it’s in their best interest. So you have to understand just how much iterating your company can handle.


Anything else you’d like to share about iterating?  

Iterating is like everything else in life- too much of it is bad and not enough is bad. Figuring out the right balance is the key.


Are you as sick of the reading the word “iterate” as I am of saying it right now?



So just to reiterate, iterate. Thanks Allan for taking the time to answer our questions! Check out our next blog post in our series where we talk Hiring.


Questions by Katlyn Whittenburg, Social Media Manager, and answers by Allan Davis, Partner. Stay up to date on what we are doing! Follow us on: