In a startup, sometimes it best to start at the end and work backwards

Most of our investments are early stage. For these startups,  our investment will not bring the company to cash flow break even. And many times our initial investment will not even bring the company to initial revenue either.

That is just fine with us.

There are many other things we want our companies to accomplish with our initial capital. Such as product, learn & engage with their users and staffing.

It’s easy for young startups to deal with task list at hand. Nothing seems more important than the product release that is 6 or 8 weeks away or the fires at the moment.

In a startup, sometimes its best to start at the end and work backwards.

What does that mean?

Think about what you want your company to look like a year from now. Then work backwards and figure out what you have to do & the timeframe (and how your board can help) to achieve those goals.

I’ve found that it this approach can help big time. It helps measure how your company is doing against those goals. It also provides transparency to your board so that everyone is on the same page with those goals.

But most importantly, it helps keep everyone focused on the big stuff.

In a startup you will always be understaffed and too little resources. That is just how it goes. And it can be overwhelming at times.

So I encourage you to try this approach and start at the end. It should clear away much of the noise.

Modern Girls and Old Fashioned Men – The Strokes (feat. Regina Spektor)

Just heard this amazing song on the hype machine when I was listening to all things by Regina Spektor. I’m hitting repeat over and over.

My advice to a friend thinking about joining a startup – you better love it

The other day a friend of mine asked me for some advice. This person is thinking about leaving her job and joining a startup.

She’s an american citizen who is now living in Spain.

I didn’t know much about the specific company in question but I said the two most important things are: a) do you believe in the founders and b) do you love the vision & product

I think it’s pretty obvious why the first point is critical.

But I know plenty of folks that join companies by ignoring the latter point. They tell themselves that the new gig is challenging or they could see the startup becoming successful one day. Or it’s a good place to get their feet wet in startup land.

I don’t like any of those answers frankly.

Here’s the thing. Startups are amazing. They can be unbelievably rewarding and they are addictive. This is the absolute best time to join or create a startup. But you better love the idea because startups are hard too. You are constantly understaffed and under resourced. And that isn’t easy when you are trying to change the world but it’s a fact.

I heard on NPR the other day the reason why the Boston Globe sport’s column was so successful back in the day was because they had the young reporters that were completely in love with the sports, teams and athletes they covered. They were passionate and it showed in their work.

That’s exactly right. Passion. Obsession to giving it your all. Not settling for medicroity.

And you gotta love it.