My 2nd Startup after 90 Days – 3 thoughts
Over the past few months, I’ve returned to working in the startup environment. I forgot how much people doubt success and strive to maintain the status quo. This time around it’s a lot easier to get people to return an email. However it is just as hard the second time around as it was starting Myine Electronics (Livio) up in 2008. Here are my top 3 thoughts.
- Prep the ask before the meeting – I recently read an article in INC about always having a specific ask. My take away from that article was to prep the top 2-3 asks for a meeting before stepping in. I also received an article from a friend, which I absolutely love referring to the 8 reasons people buy “stuff.” I combine those two strategies going into every meeting.
- Focus on what’s core to your startup; everything else push aside or outsource – Starting Livio we tried so many different strategies, spending time on things that didn’t make a significant difference for the company. At Tome, we made a quick punch list, and put a time limit on all of the startup “stuff” that needed to get done. The speed that we were able to get up and running was accelerated by making quick decisions, and help with modern services available in 2014 that weren’t available in 2008. I probably spent more cash to get Tome started up than I did with Livio. However, the “cost” of starting up is a lot less.
- Some examples include: WordPress for quick holder websites, Vistaprint for quick custom business cards, Co-Work office space (we are at VenturePark in Royal Oak), Grasshopper for quick virtual office phones, Gotomeeting and Google Hangout, Insight.ly CRM, Basecamp, and more.
- Try to enjoy the downtime and maintain business momentum – As we don’t have existing multi-year business to keep us busy, most of our time is spent on product development and (new) business development. Without existing projects that require maintenance or customer service, there is a lot of downtime. The first company I filled every minute with “filler” business things that were a complete waste of time and money. This go around I recognize the down time between calls/meetings and try to enjoy the summer. When the meetings do come back and there’s work to be done, it’s 12-hour days. However, in the in-between time; There’s no sense in beating myself up knowing these things just take time.
- Don’t confuse this with being lazy or inactive. Just recognize that life is short, and hustle as hard and smart as possible. You can’t push a rope.