All last week I was amazed how difficult it was for seven founding startup teams to understand the power of focus.
"Everything for everybody" loses.
Focus destroys uncertainty.
"Many things to many people" increases time to failure.
It seems so obvious to experienced entrepreneurs, from the Shark Tank veterans to venture capitalists.
Yet focus is very awkward to accept for first-time startup people. It takes guts to bet that playing a single card will win the game. That's understandable, as serial entrepreneurs know well.
So here are some tips for helping you appreciate the power of focus for startups:
- Amazon got started focusing on books (underlying company plan was to become the ecommerce place with the most choices).
- Uber got started focusing on sharing rides (underlying business plan is to dominate autonomous driving).
- Amazon did not start by offering anything that could be sold to anyone.
- Uber did not start by also sharing lawnmowers, vacation homes, skis and tennis rackets.
Yes, focus requires guts. You have to abandon everything else. One shot at the target. That's scary for first-timers.
What's more scary (for serial startup people)? Not focusing. The veterans know without focus the tiny startup resources will be unable to launch the first product successfully. They've been there, done that -- and won't let it happen again to them.
BOTTOM LINE: Are you focused (enough)? Put your startup idea through the focus test: how could we only do one thing better than anyone else? One thing. Yes, that's scary, but the opposite leads to the startup graveyard. You can focus (more). Look at all those winners out there whose brands you eagerly purchase. They started with focus. You can do it! Make it part of your startup's unfair advantage.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!