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Building the Business

Today's post is from my comment to Fred's post on management stages. Reblogged for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure):

-If you begin committed to a framework of principles/values to inform your visioning, hiring, decision-making, and execution, you'll end up with a company that mostly reflects those values. 

--Building the business is still an iterative period; you need to test to find what works and what doesn't, especially in marketing and sales, and even more so if you're in a constantly evolving competitive market. 

--Focus is tough. Be careful not to chase too many 'opportunities', spreading yourself thin. By now you should have an idea of what sectors overperform for you; focus on those until it's clear you have  a new sector opportunity. 

--"Partnerships" != Business Development. Don't chase logos and press releases with established companies just for the credibility. If there isn't a clear path to revenue, it's not business development, it's a distraction. 

--Hiring is always tough. Avoid "I know a guy" approaches to hiring. Define the roles very clearly, and screen for initiative and ethics along with capabilities. There's nothing worse than a skillful person with marginal ethics and no interest in taking initiative. 

--Don't spend a lot of time reading blogs. Or TC. Or whatever. Or rather--know when to stop. In one of my ventures I read way more than talking to customers, obsessed with figuring it out or finding the magic bullet, some pearl of wisdom that someone blogged about that answered everything I needed. Wrong. Talk to prospects, customers, lost customers, lost prospects. At every stage. Make it the core discipline of your company and you'll always have a handle on what to do next. 

There's plenty of darkness around the startup, even as you're growing and nailing revenue. Your job is to bring light to that darkness (like WoW) and the clearest way is through direct contact with customers and everything you learn from them.

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