What Should Every New Startup Founder Focus on?

When you’re in the early stages of startup growth, it’s intimidating to think about the endless list of to-dos…not that this ever goes away, but at least you learn how to deal a little better with practice. What should you focus on? Consumer research? Marketing? Product development? All of the above? In what order?

Given how easy it is to be pulled in a hundred different directions as a startup founder, it’s important to focus your energy on what’s most important. But, how do you decide? One piece of advice that many entrepreneurs receive is to keep their business simple. Expanding too quickly or jumping around from idea to idea without a clear direction can certainly prevent a startup from getting off the ground — but simplicity in the wrong area may be just as detrimental.

Hope this compilation helps you find that essential focus you’re looking for as you continue to grow your business.

1. The customer’s pain. It seems to go without saying that you can’t have much of a business if customers won’t pay you. As a leader, you must spend time meeting with those customers and find a need that competitors aren’t meeting. Then you must rally your troops to do a great job of satisfying that unmet need.

2. Your co-founder. Many entrepreneurs seek out co-founders. But picking the wrong one can be fatal for your startup. How do you find a partner with complementary skills who shares your vision and commitment to making it happen? They must built up trust by making commitments and acting on them.”

3. Your culture. As a startup grows, founders can’t do all the work themselves. Instead they hire people who they hope will be able to identify opportunities and capture them at least as well–if not better than–the founders would.

4. Adapting. The biggest competitive advantage of a startup over a big company is its ability to attack profit pools faster. That means that if there’s an opportunity to deliver value to customers in a new market, the big company will lumber while the startup sprints.

But such quick adaptation to new opportunities doesn’t just magically happen. Leaders must have a clear vision for the market and deep insight into customers’ evolving needs.

5. “Push and contract.” It’s tempting to want to keep trying one new strategy after another, especially when you have the resources to do so. But it is recommended going through a “push and contract” cycle with your business activities.

“Push for a couple of months with new ideas, but then have a period of pullback and reflection to see if they’re making money” .

6. Don’t overload. Trying new ideas for your business can help you find out what works, but it’s important to avoid taking on too many tasks and overwhelming yourself and your team.

7. Clearly define your team’s roles. Everyone working with you should have a clearly defined path and know what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time. A good knowledge of your team and each team member’s strengths can help you decide the most effective way to divide up labor for new strategies.

8. Accept that some ideas will fail. Not everything you try with your business is going to work. This can be a difficult reality to face when you and your team have become invested in a project, but the best course of action is to let it go and move on.

Continue experimenting and finding out what fits, as long as it doesn’t become an excuse to avoid a difficult problem.


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