I've learned this lesson over and over throughout my career. So when I'm asked to give advice to other entrepreneurs or people working at startups, that is what I tell them.
It came up again last week when I was a guest on the excellent Hack to Start podcast. We talked about everything from my first job as a kid working in my parents' Domino's Pizza franchise, my role at Apple (and why that was the last place I thought I wanted to work after business school), and everything else leading up to PersistIQ.
Hack To Start Podcast
Podcast hosts Franco Varriano and Tyler Copeland were especially interested in the lessons I learned from my time as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Redpoint Ventures and as part of a Y Combinator cohort.
And the lessons were largely the same. If you stay focused on the things that matter the most to the success of your business, other problems like fundraising will take care of themselves.
It's so easy to get distracted. At a startup, distractions are everywhere. Milestones come and go. So does press attention. Unfortunately, so do customers and strategic partners.
These ups and downs can be at times thrilling and demoralizing. In some ways, the rollercoaster of emotions and activity is part of the fun. But no matter what happens, it's critical to stay focused, and come in to work every day doing your best on the tasks that matter the most.
Maintaining focus is hard
Very Hard. Everyone on the team should know very clearly what the overall goal is, and understand how their own subgoals support it.
Every hour, it's worth asking yourself "Is what I'm doing right now going to move the needle toward what we're hoping to accomplish?" If the answer is "No," then stop.
So what matters most to your business? Every company needs to spend the time with their product and with their customers and potential customers to really understand what moves the business forward.
At PersistIQ we live in our product. We use it every day to help find new customers. We talk to our customers all the time about problems they're having throughout their sales organizations. In this way, we learn what really matters and act on it.
Time is short, in life and in startups. So believe me when I say Hack to Start's podcast is worth yours. Of course, check out my conversation with Tyler and Franco. But also browse their archive. They've talked to dozens of smart, motivated entrepreneurs and uncovered some great insights.
Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.
This post was brought to you by PersistIQ. Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale. See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.