One of the deadliest diseases that can strike and crush your company is the infamous startup indigestion disease. Often overlooked, this allegedly tiny issue can sign the death sentence upon your business before it has even grown to its full potential. I’m not saying you should let hypochondria rule over your leader’s mind — but checking in for symptoms every now and then can’t hurt. Here’s what to look for.
You and your team been working like crazy over the last couple of months. You are all exhausted, under pressure, working slower than usual, but you’re fighting to wrap up all you began working on.
However, you don’t see any significant progress. The sales numbers are not drastically jumping high, you’re not getting way more exposure. To be honest, you’re not seeing any traction. Even though you’re working your souls off, the results remain average. Your product is not ranking higher, is not selling better, and your team is distracted, anxious, and torn between tons of projects, deadlines, and various events.
It is important to understand why these things happen in order to react timely and keep the ship sailing: The number one cause of startup indigestion disease is the lack of strong focus.
But wait, we are focused day&night! – you say. Exactly. You and your team are scattered between so many activities. You are grasping too many things at once. While you like to think you’re highly focused on getting them done — you are all actually distracted by the quantity, making it hard to truly put quality in focus.
You start too many things at once: most often set close deadlines and unrealistic expectations. Your team struggles so much to pull it all off as soon as possible that they forget why are they here in the first place, as well as what their ultimate focus should be.
If you note the symptoms early on, you are not doomed. The cure is as simple as this: stop what you’re doing and focus on one thing solely. Focus on the core of your business — and have your team do the same. Cut them loose of planning and overthinking too many things at a time. Stop losing time and establish the true priorities. While you started too many things at the first place because you wanted nothing but good for your own business — now is the time to think which of those things is crucial to maintaining your company.
Analyze the data to see where the loose ends are, identify the crucial factors, the supporting factors, and the nice-to-have factors. Develop a strategy that will allow you to focus on strengthening the key factors, one focus at a time. After you build the strong foundation, it will be easy to build the supporting factors, and to develop the nice-to-have ones as a cherry on the top.
Work with your team to help them achieve the optimal productivity, lose the anxiety, and stop fearing deadlines. Once you free them of pressure, their creativity and efficiency will strike at their full potential.
The lesson here is to avoid the basic trap that most of young startups end within by focusing solely on a core thing. Understand that possibilities are always weaker than desire: you can only beat the fire if you do it step-by-step. Full focus comes only when all the tiny pressuring distractions are not around.
And remember: no matter what happens, you want to win — that is Why You Always Pivot.