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Friday, June 22, 2007

Path to Startup Success

Do you know what is worse than failure? A mediocre success!!!

In the startup world where the only race is against time, I am amazed at how often I find great ideas covered in a maze without clear focused execution.

I've written about how the early days of an entrepreneur are unstructured. The beauty of a startup environment is the limitlessness and ability to arrive at solutions for everything. When you scale a team to more than 3 or get a real customer, chaos sets in.

The positive side of this is the startup energy. But every startup gets surrounded by a lot of well-wishers sending a lot of people to help the startup.

The single most success factor of an entrepreneur's success depends on the ability to separate the good, not from the bad, but well-meaning mediocre people!!!

In the early days, in the race against time, each referral to a person who does not bring in better people or direct access to an amazingly mind-blowing solution will bring the company to a mediocre success.

What I mean by this is that, everyone in the startup can spend 80 hours a week and be creative to find solutions in their field. If they allow mediocre people to mislead them one at a time, very soon, its hard to differentiate the efforts that are not worth pursuing to the ones that lack processes or people and this chaos will seep into the energy of the startup.

These people may come in the form of advisor's friends, vendors and employee referrals.

If we look around at companies that are successful, you can see the growing energy and in spite of any media created buzz, you can see a real successful company by the real company it keeps.

All entrepreneurs love to hear people who love their idea and believe in them. What you need to watch out for is that you don't surround yourself with people who keep talking about how they love your idea without helping towards execution.

As the team grows past 3 people, I think getting company wide milestones with dates and dependencies and tracking them may seem a little bureaucratic at start, but will help in keeping the transparency on the real progress based on data. I am not suggesting company meetings, such a milestone can be on a wiki or can be a business metric tracked by everyone.

3 comments:

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