More ways to kill your business

I’ve been trying to write about the lessons learned from the failure of my last company (albeit quite slowly) and I read a post this morning from Mike McDerment of FreshBooks that covers some similar topics.

His post is titled 7 ways I’ve almost killed FreshBooks and I can second every single point he makes. Luckily for FreshBooks, they’re still around and thriving.

I especially appreciated his first point – “Thinking we had to move faster than we did”

As entrepreneurs, we tend to immediately feel the pressure of getting our idea to market as quickly as possible. We have some paranoia (good perhaps?) and believe that another company will out-execute us and leave our company behind.

In the long run, it’s much more important to do things right as opposed to doing them as fast as possible. Obviously there’s a fine line here, but stepping back every once in a while to review before making that next move can be a good practice to follow.

A good idea is just that – an idea. It takes execution to build a great company and this is where many fail. Full execution of your strategy may take some time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Rushing forward as fast as possible is not always the best move.

With the new-found popularity of agile development and business processes (which I’ve been endorsing for many years now), I think some entrepreneurs are forgetting that an overall strategic plan is still important. You don’t necessarily need a full fledged, 200 page written business plan. But having a high level strategic plan will definitely enable you to stay on track and hopefully avoid some of the issues with feeling the need to take certain actions prematurely.

Tom is currently a developer advocate and offering manager with IBM Watson. A serial entrepreneur, he's been the founder of numerous startups including Investify and StatsMix, a Techstars alumni company. Tom lives outside Boulder, Colorado and in his free time he's an avid rock climber, skier, and trail runner.

1 comments On More ways to kill your business

  • The cat is out of the bag was my first reaction when FreshBooks aenuoncnd the launch of their new benchmarking service in October 2006. Then, and later I called it the hidden business model in SaaS: He basically aenuoncnd the hidden value proposition enabled by SaaS: competitive benchmarking. All previous benchmarking efforts were hampered by the quality of source data, which, with all systems behind firewalls was at least questionable. SaaS providers will have access to the most authentic data ever, aggregation if which leads to the most reliable industry metrics and benchmarking.

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