A former colleague who worked with me at a couple different start-ups had this quote at the top of his white board at all times:
“Start-ups don’t starve, they drown.”
The point is simple – very few of our organizations have a lack of opportunity, or things to do. One of our most important jobs is to choose the right things to do on a daily basis, and ensure our priorities are well thought-out and are kept in perspective, despite the daily fire drills and interruptions that fight for our time.
Author Om Malik recently wrote about the downsizing of Joost, and offered a similar, thoughtful perspective:
“Joost hired too many people, too quickly. It never behaved like a start-up but instead felt like a grown-up company with too many bureaucratic layers.”
Remember what your mom used to say when you took too big of a bite? If you’re not careful, you’re going to choke. Start-ups are just like that. Unless you focus, you’re going to choke.”
Matt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.