This is an article in my series "Lessons for tech startups", about ways startups can prepare themselves for the many ways they’ll be scrutinised in their path to funding.
We’ve been told that an essential ingredient to building a successful company is passion for your product. And it’s true! Passionate enthusiasm for the idea is essential, but it’s so important to recognise when you’ve been blinkered by your enthusiasm.
It's a double edged sword, and a non-intuitive one that often only gets picked up by founders through trial-and-error as they do their first tour of the investor circuit. Potential investors are going to look at the founders and directors of business and ask whether these the right people to take this business forward through inevitable course corrections and even total pivots.
Unless you're actually passionate about your products and passionate about delivering quality, whatever quality means for you, then you're probably going to find it difficult to attract funding partners who want you to stick around to grow that business. But passion sometimes manifests as loyalty to the original concept, and it can be the downfall of an otherwise strong team.
Sometimes, maintaining a singular focus can work for you - you may get lucky and find that the product you're selling in year 15 is the product that you started with on day one. But much more often, you'll need to course-correct as the market evolves, competitors see your strengths, and you see theirs.
Be prepared, as you build your company, to regularly remind yourself that the idea is not sacrosanct. The idea is the seed; the thing which is sacrosanct is your flexibility, the innovation that brought you there to begin with, and the collaboration with the people that you've chosen as partners. It's the razor-sharp focus on delivering good products. And delivering good products means throwing out things that you'd consider to be key parts of your original idea and adapting to your strengths, where the market is going and new opportunities that you see.
I've grown and guided technology platforms to scale and investment for over 15 years. If your team needs guidance on preparing for investment due diligence, platform scaling or customer experience optimisation, get in touch for and find out how I can help!