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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Did Simon and Garfunkel Sing About Your Startup?


Simon and Garfunkel produced a song with the lyrics starting “Slow down, you move too fast.  You got to make the morning last.”  You might not think this relates to a startup, but in some cases, it does.  It is important to execute in as an expedient manner in your startup.  You have limited resources and potential competition breathing down your neck.  After all, first to market may have a significant advantage especially if you have a superior product.

Entrepreneurs sometimes forget that they have limited time and out of concerns or fear go after more than they can handle.  Everyone likes to think they can multitask, but not everyone is able to juggle as many balls as the next person.  Maybe, they even have a hard time juggling at all and they do not realize it. 

Part of juggling is knowing where all the balls are at all times and developing the timing and coordination to manage the process.  This is the same for managing multiple projects.  Startups may have several key events that need to be managed simultaneously: 1) find money, 2) build a product, 3) find partners, 4) set up overseas operations, and 5) manage a product launch.  The team you build will be working on each of these tasks, but as the CEO you really need to be on top of the activities and know the timings, milestones, and issues.  As first time CEO, you may even feel the pressure to try and do all of them yourself.

When you are not on top of the activities, there is too much chance for making mistakes.  It is harder to monitor activities when you do not take time to develop a means of tracking them.  For example, a project software, a spread sheet, a written series of notes, sticky papers on your mirror, or something else.  Handling too many things at once with no means of remembering what needs to be done results in forgetting key events or generating confusion in the company.  The more you try to do yourself the harder it is to remember what needs to be done especially when you do not develop a system to help remember.

Suggestions:

·        Develop a routine of meeting with your team and develop/idenfity timings and milestones

·        Put timings and milestones in some format that allows you to track them

·        Have timings and milestones available at all times and review regularly

·        Split your personal activities with the team and help prioritize the events

·        As the CEO you are the Money Person & Overall Manager. You cannot nor should you attempt to do it all!

·        Review activities from time to time and narrow activities to a sharp focus to achieve the key milestones in a timely manner.  You cannot do everything at once.  You may not be able to do everything that is on your to do list.  FOCUS on WHAT is IMPORTANT

·        Remember the Simon & Garfunkel song lyric: “Slow down, you move too fast. It is important to be expedient, but when you move too fast and miss things, you cost the company time and money.



You can follow Taffy Williams on Twitter by @twilli2861 and you can email him with questions at twilli2861@aol.com and his company website  or photo website. You can also find him in the group Startup Group on Linkedin. Other articles can be found in the Charlotte, NC- small business section of Examiner.com. This blog is now listed on StartUpRoar  and on Alltop®.