Running a start-up is never easy. There are sales calls, product improvements, customer complaints and cash flow to keep on top of. With so many things going on at once, it is easy to lose sight of your three biggest priorities.
The best way to keep your entrepreneurial vision in sight is to develop habits that will help you stay focused. Here are some suggestions I have learnt that have helped me stay focused amidst the hustle and bustle of managing a startup.
Focus on the core of your business
The most important thing you should focus on is your core offering and whether there is a market for your product. One of the common mistakes is building a product you believe customers will demand, instead of testing what they’ll actually buy. A few years ago we were developing a subscription-based product and thought we knew exactly what the customer wanted. We built the landing page and ecommerce backend along with a full email autoresponder series. Once we pushed the site live we made very few sales.
Instead of building everything before launching, we should have tested first. That way we could have worked out our customers’ preferences before creating the product. At the same time, review your market size to ensure it’s large enough to provide sizeable revenue.
Focus on growing revenue
Starting a business is exciting and many entrepreneurs devote too much time on the “creative” aspects of the business like website design or building out the feature list instead of activities that will bring in revenue. Getting in front of potential customers, working out what they’ll buy, and delivering it is critical. You have to develop a clear plan for driving revenue, even if the cost of sales in the early days is higher than expected.
Focus on moving your business forward
At the beginning of each day, the key question I ask myself is “what do I need to do today to move my business forward?” For me, this often means working through uncomfortable tasks such as making unpleasant telephone calls or forecasting the next month’s cash flow. After the day is done, make another list of the three things you need to do for the next day, so you’ll come to work prepared and ready to roll.