I was rereading The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz last Saturday. It’s a unique business book because it doesn’t propound specific strategies to get through the business of business.
That’s part of the problem we have today.
Young, first-time entrepreneurs are so focused on the idea and the strategy that they lose sight of the business of business.
It brings to mind the old saying “you can’t see the forest because of the trees.”
We all start out with a grand vision that changes so much so quickly. It’s part of the deal.
Any skills we learn today can become obsolete in twelve months.
The race is on to stay relevant in a world that’s changing faster than any other time in history.
Starting is easier than ever
A hundred years ago, it was hard to start a company so most people didn’t. Distribution channels were poor, there was no internet, and phones were still being adopted.
Today, you can start a business with a few hundred dollars and scale to a million in annual revenue in less than three years.
The popular podcasts, blog posts, and videos talk about the specific promotion tactics the founders or marketing head used to grow the business. They don’t focus much on the customer development and product development that went into it.
I don’t blame them.
Success stories get more views and engagement.
Taken together, there’s a rosy picture about what it takes to start and grow a new venture. When I started working on my company, KyLeads, it was as easy as buying a domain, a framework, and hiring a developer.
We were off to the races.
Except, it wasn’t a sprint. It was a marathon that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.
Instead of overnight success, I began a long process of learning new skills, firing people who weren’t meeting our standards, losing cash, and staying up late at night.
The blog posts didn’t prepare me for 10% of what I faced as a SaaS CEO.
Unfortunately, things fall apart
I think this is one of the most consistent unwritten rules in business.
Things will fall apart, other organizations will threaten your position, and employees will fall short of expectations.
You’re humming along while kicking ass and taking names. Out of left field, key team members will quit, customers will fire you, and your partner will get sick. The economy will crash, banks and investors will cut off lines of credit, and the walls will start closing in. Things fall apart and it’s up to you to pick up the pieces – every time.
It’s a struggle.
So what are you to do when this happens? How do you pick up the pieces? How do you become great at what you do?
Although there’s no secret to being great and keeping a company running, there are skills which are more important than others.
The chief skill is focus.
you focus on the details of the day to day while keeping sight of the vision that compelled you to start the company. Focus solves a lot of the problems because …read more
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