One of the most common failures I see in startups is lack of FOCUS. Unfocused entrepreneurs mostly talk with pride that their new technology will generate multiple innovative products for consumers as well as enterprises around the world. Investors hear this as trying to do too many things with limited resources, meaning the startup will not shine at anything, and will not survive the competition.
For example, a while back I received a startup executive summary, requesting Angel investor funding, that touted technology for a line of almost ten distinctive different technological services. Even a company with unlimited money and people shouldn’t try to step into various domains for the first time at the same time.
Other elements of startup focus are a bit vague and difficult to perceive, so let me zoom-in on some key ones here:
I certainly understand the pressure add more of everything to your plan, as you listen to more and more people, all with their own priorities and biases. But in the long run, you need a narrow and memorable focus to build a strong company. Even in the short term, customers and investors alike will help you carry a simple and clear focus all the way to the bank.
I am not trying to be against the idea of having a variety of services/products in your startup but you should know and have priorities for your startup.Otherwise if you can not be able to describe what you startup does in few words,then you have to know that there is no FOCUS in your business.
Written by Pacifique Hallellua
Name: Robert Nsinga
Industry: Gaming, IoT, Mobile, Cloud.
Area of Expertise: Software development and testing.
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It seems like most entrepreneurs, I meet these days are quick to proclaim themselves visionaries, expecting that this will give more credibility to their startup idea, and improve their odds with investors. In reality, I’m one of the majority of the guys,who believe that startup success is more about the execution than the idea. Thus, unless the visionary highlights a cofounder who can take the vision and execute, I assume the worst
It’s true that gifted visionaries bring many good things to an organization, including big picture ideas, seeing around corners, and a hunter mentality. Yet they also come with a set of shortcomings. These were outlined well, with some good recommendations for overcoming them, in a new book, ''Rocket Fuel'' by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, both with a wealth of experience in this domain.
My bottom-line recommendation and theirs is that every visionary entrepreneur needs to be matched with a cofounder or key team member who has the required execution attributes(An execution Oriented partner). Let’s take a hard look at the key potential weaknesses of a visionary, and the value of an execution-oriented partner, which the authors call an integrator:
To compensate, every visionary entrepreneur needs to find a partner who gets great satisfaction from results, and loves the discipline of making things happen on a day-to-day basis. This person is the glue that can hold the people, processes, systems, priorities, and strategy of a developing startup together.
Again, the solution is a partner who is the voice of reason, who filters all of the visionary’s ideas, and helps eliminate hurdles, stumbling blocks, and barriers for the whole leadership team. Titles for this role in a startup are not fixed, but usually show up as president, COO, or chief architect...or name him/her yourself
Every organization needs a steady counter-force that is focused on directional clarity, and great at making sure people are communicating within the organization. Good integrators are fanatical about problem resolution and making decisions. When the team is at odds or confused, they need this steady force to keep them on track with the business plan.
Balance here comes again from the operational expert, who is very good at leading, managing, and holding people accountable. They enjoy being accountable for profit and loss, and for the execution of the business plan. When a major initiative is undertaken, they will anticipate the ripple of implications across the organization.
Here also the solution usually is a partner with prior experience, who has learned how and when to hire real help, and implement metrics and processes to measure results. They enjoy the coaching and development role, and are able to match work assignments to people’s strengths, promoting both people and company growth.
Of course, many will argue that the visionary entrepreneurs can simply fix their shortcomings, and thus save resources by satisfying both roles. But in my experience, very few entrepreneurs have the bandwidth to make this work, and the adapted entrepreneur ends up doing both jobs poorly.
I’m a proponent of capitalizing on your strengths, rather than focusing on fixing your weaknesses. If your strength is being a visionary, use that vision to attract a complementary partner, and make it a win-win opportunity for both of you.
Written by Pacifique Hallellua