The part of every entrepreneur’s DNA that allows him to dream big and envision a world where his creation impacts countless lives is the only thing that can lead to failure. Especially in the early days of his entrepreneurial pursuit, each new opportunity may sound like something that will change everything.
Many founders are caught in this cycle of pursuing brilliant initiatives, but with limited resources, and the race against time can be very damaging.
Below are ways to stay focused and avoid classic dilemmas that plague entrepreneurs:
Keep your focus on the path that exhibits least resistance
There are problems that are harder to solve, markets that are more complicated to compete, and segments of customers that take more time to convince about your proposal. Serial entrepreneurs know this very well. You can spend months, even years, trying to monetize a business and then start another venture that surprisingly makes lot of profit and gain customers in the first four weeks.
Paypal started out as a company called Confinity that allowed people to send promissory notes between Palm Pilots. The market did not adopt the technology quickly enough, so the company was dedicated to creating a payment system targeted specifically to the web, making it possible to send money by e-mail to another person. It was just the beginning of the growing trend of online consumption and increased popularity of e-commerce sites such as eBay, making this audience an easy target for Paypal.
Particularly if you want to earn revenue soon, it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to sell to any customer. But the truth is that some audiences are better suited, both in terms of opportunity and cost. Therefore, it is more important to spend your time with them. Others may look promising, but they will never materialize into actual revenue. Going to the side that you think will probably have strength and ignoring everything else is a distraction.
Focus on where you can build value faster
Surviving the first days means creating a massive value for a specific customer segment whose problem has not been resolved. You can have a grand vision of how your business is going to change the world, but you will not win trying to solve everyone’s problems.
Apple did not start with products that could be used by anyone – they were created for computer and electronics enthusiasts. Amazon is not always a place where you can buy just about any product imaginable. The retail giant focused first on innovating the book sales market.
Almost every successful business started with niche products. Discover an area where you can quickly create value for your customer and that is being ignored by the competition. Avoid working on things that are not critical in this regard.
Recognize when something does not work
This advice seems to be against the idea of focusing on a main path, but it is equally important to recognize when something just does not work.
Entrepreneurship is full of ups and downs, and it is true that sometimes you can spend months grinding something without being rewarded. However, if you stay a long time without experiencing “victories,” it can be very difficult to move on. It may be a sign that you have to follow other paths.
It’s hard to admit that it’s wrong, especially when you’ve invested too hard for something to work, but it’s even worse if you’re forced to admit defeat and close your business by wasting too much time on wrong actions.
If this is your case, change your approach, be it your primary value proposition, target customer base or acquisition channel. What is expected is that you finally start to see some positive indicators.
Simon Sinek wisely said that “vision is a destiny – a fixed point on which we focus the whole effort. Strategy is a path – an adaptive path to take us where we want to go. ” Your strategy will change as you gain access to new information as you work toward your goal, but your vision must remain steady, unaffected by distractions that may come your way.