Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top Overall Priority

Many of us have a single overarching goal.... and a whole lot of other stuff we have to do. For example, yesterday I had lunch with someone who is the (non-technical) founder of a very early stage startup. They have two people - the business guy and the tech guy - a product, and a few customers. They're getting ready to go look for a round of funding but don't need it just yet.

The business guy has one overall priority: sell more.
The tech guy has one overall priority: make the product more saleable (to existing and to future customers).

That's it. Sounds simple. Except for all the other stuff:
  • meeting potential investors and keeping them interested
  • forward-looking product features that won't help get today's customers but will help keep ahead of their competitors
  • hiring and managing sales guys and developers
  • writing blog posts and twitter updates to keep the company's public face fresh
  • analyzing logs to see if there are any lurking problems
  • budgeting - just how long before they really do need a cash infusion?
  • And a whole lot more...
Entire days go by when the business type doesn't make a single sales call to a current client about expansion or to a potential new client. Whole days go by when the technical guy doesn't create a product feature or fix an annoying bug. They're caught up in the other stuff.

Now, I'm not going to tell you the other stuff is unnecessary. The fact is that most of it is part of the job, too. But here's the catch: if you do all the other stuff but you don't do your single highest priority, you will ultimately fail.

So make sure your absolute top priority gets addressed frequently. Keep it, well, at the top.

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