Momentum is oxygen for startups. This is something that I’ve experienced many times. Momentum can be anything that motivates you and your team. Getting selected for a big conference. Convincing a local angel to invest. Getting a good press story. All of these small victories keep the founders going and make the difficult process of a startup bearable day-to-day.
Having said this, founders should realize that (while these small victories are important for morale) what matters most is just one thing…
Customer Engagement Or Revenue
Material month-over-month growth of one of these metrics are the only true indications that you have the possibility of a real, sustainable business.
I see a lot of founders overly excited by “feel good" data points like...
Attending (or being invited to) conferences and lesser-known accelerators/incubators (I’m seeing this weekly right now)
Having early investors and advisors join the team
Anecdotal feedback from customers (what they say versus what they do)
Founders are smart, persuasive & persistent. These “feel good” data points can be forced by founders. What is much less able to be forced (and what matters most) are data points that prove you have a real business...either ongoing customer usage or revenue.
In this podcast an experienced founder describes the false positives that he experienced in his previous company that lead him to this conclusion.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and blog about my favorite lessons from them. This is truly one of my favorites and this particular lesson rings incredibly true to me.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 7:05 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Tom Leung (@toml), co-founder of Anthology; (@anthology)
Michael Sacca (@michaelsacca)
Joelle Goldman (@JoelleGoldman)
Matt Goldman (@SDMattG)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.
Real Founder Lessons
The best startup advice from experienced founders...one real-world lesson at a time.