126. Focus. Distraction Is Kryptonite for Founders

VC Minute
Distraction is like kryptonite to founders. Yet fundraising is one giant distraction.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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Rachel McCrickard

One of the things I say is that distraction is the kryptonite of founders. And I think that the fundraising process actually runs counter to the idea of focus. What I mean by that is that during the fundraising process, you are being asked to think about your roadmap, where you’re going, and where you’re taking the company over the next five years.  

So oftentimes, you get into this mindset of thinking, “Okay, once we solve this, what’s next? And what’s next? And what are the other product iterations that are coming next? Then it can take you back to the team to say, “These are all the things that we need to build.

In the early days of a startup, maybe even the first five years, it’s just like doing one thing really, really, really well. Every single time that we’ve tried to add on some sort of product extension, or we could do this, or we could do this, it’s never gone well. And we’ve always backtracked and been like, Nope, this is what we do really, really well. 

I’ve gone to websites before where I was like, “What does this company do? They’re doing so much that it’s not clear.  I want people to come to Motivo and see that this company provides clinical supervision. That’s all they do. They provide clinical supervision. 

And if you believe that your market is big enough to grow a successful company off of solving that one problem, just solve that one problem really well. And other opportunities will come when they do.  

We use the OKR process to keep the team really, really focused on our quarterly goals. And I do a few other things to keep the team focused. One of the things I do is that anytime I travel or go to a conference, I come back and give a presentation of what I learned there.  

Because one of the things I’ve noticed as a founder is that I oftentimes see what’s happening out in the marketplace and what people are saying, but maybe our engineers are not privy to that. They don’t know that this is what’s happening in healthcare, and this is why we’re going in this direction or doubling down on this set of solutions.  

I try to make sure that what I’m learning is funneled back to the team and that I’m giving the same message over and over again, so the team knows what’s most important to the company each quarter and each year.

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