I have been sharing a piece of simple advice I received from Steven Murray that always stuck with me.
“Look at your business and see what’s working and what’s not working. Do less of what’s not working and do more of what’s working.”
This seems like a piece of no-brainer counsel but something that I find myself and most entrepreneurs screwing up (especially founders with engineering backgrounds)
As entrepreneurs, we are about fixing things and making things better for people and businesses with our products and solutions. So when we see something broken we try to fix it. This is especially true in our own businesses where in a startup, everything is a little broken and needs to be fixed—the website, the app, the product, the letterhead, the brand book, etc.
The deadly mistake I see founders make is to spend all their time and company resources trying to fix parts of their business that are broken or not working. I see it when entrepreneurs try to make TikTok ads work and spend thousands of dollars in ads and hundreds of hours of employee time trying to make the ad platform work. There is nothing wrong with this except that it leads to other platforms like their email being ignored which is already bringing in thousands of dollars in revenue with very little work.
Now that I’ve had a chance to work with dozens of startups, I see that every start-up is broken in some ways. But each startup with traction is great in its own unique way. Founders need to focus on maximizing the parts of their business that makes the business great instead of covering up weaknesses.
I guess another way to say this is founders need to play to win instead of playing not to lose
I often reflect back on this great advice and the beauty of its simplicity while marveling at how often businesses and high-performing teams screw this up (myself included!).