“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested” – Seneca
I believe that every one of us have 3 main resources to get stuff done, Time, People and Money, the last 2 we can make more of, so Time which is the resource that is a constant is perishable and scarce. Therefore, IMHO, entrepreneurs and startup founders need to make sure that they are putting first things first.
Prioritizing your time is a huge leverage activity, I come across time and time again, smart, talented startup founders wasting their time on wrong priorities. The classic example is the story of CarsDirect.com as told by Bill Gross. I wrote a blog post a while back on Strategies to implement validated learning where there is an interview of Bill Gross describing how an entrepreneur who was working with him to launch a business to sell cars online was spending time talking to the Car distributors and trying to streamline the supply chain when a customer buys a car from the website. This is a classic problem, usually I see with founders from the technical/engineering background, they are so motivated by building something that they forget to ask the question will someone actually want this? if your heart says Yes! I always follow up by asking How do you know? Have you validated your hunch?
I had a chance meeting with a Founder of a very promising company, and she was talking to manufacturers and retail chain stores etc on how to place her product. I was about to scream why are you wasting time doing all that? should she not be focusing on selling online? even before making it? create an Inbound Marketing strategy through a blog for the product and its vision to see how many people are really interested in this product and even go to the extent of having a buy button with a price on it to see how many people click on it. Do some A/B testing to validate how to price the product and collect a social media/fan base before jumping into actually making and selling the product. The supply chain, negotiating with a manufacturer, deciding how to reduce the cost of production etc are all necessary but not sufficient conditions to building your business.
The most critical stage in a startup development is the validation of Product to Market fit. Check out this post by Andrew Chen on when a consumer product has hit the product to market fit. It is an important milestone. So, don’t waste time and focus on this milestone and get there as fast as you can, you can figure out the rest once you have this in your bag.