Wasting time when you have no time to waste.
Every second counts when you’re running a startup.
Here are three things I’ve mistakenly wasted my time on. Don’t do the same.
1. Making things look pretty.
I’ve spent far too much time on logos and graphics and websites and business cards and branding, well before I even knew if anyone would buy what I wanted to sell.
The most important aspect of your startup is your customer.
Find the customer, then tighten up all the things that makes your startup pretty.
2. Asking others to help you.
Help others first.
Admittedly, that sounds fluffy. Let me explain.
Your startup has a much better chance of survival if you–as the founder–become valuable to others first. This is about building trust. People trust their friends more than they trust businesses. So make friends in the startup community.
Help others first, in any way you can. Build your friendships.
If and when you ever ask for help, you’ll be in a much better position to receive support that matters.
3. Listening to unqualified critics.
In retrospect, I’ve spent far too much time listening to–and acting upon–the “advice” of people who have no credibility when it comes to my ventures.
Bad advice doesn’t just come from stupid people. Some have fancy titles, like “investor” or “expert.” Most of the people I’ve talked to are very smart people. And most of them are very successful too.
But that doesn’t always make them qualified.
What makes a critic unqualified is if they have no evidence to back what they’re saying.
When you’re first starting up, it’s easy to take the advice of anyone and everyone who wants to give it. Trust me, that’s not how you build incredible businesses.
The fourth most important people to listen to are qualified critics.
The third most important people to listen to are your customers.
The second most important people to listen to are your team.
And the first most important person to listen to is yourself.
Your startup won’t find success without you.
Spend your time on it, and spend it wisely.
I wish there were a roadmap that could completely guide us, but there’s not. We’ve got to listen to the right people and trust our gut.
To give your startup a shot, give it the focus it needs.