That, more than anything else, is what will eventually kill their company. Not a lack of funding, not bad product-market fit, but a lack of motivation to try something else and find another way to solve that problem when their first solution doesn’t work out.
At the end of the day, if you don’t own the preferred shares in your startup, you don’t have ultimate control of a company. You do still have plenty of say — you are the founding CEO after all — but even if you’re careful about how much equity you sell, you quickly answer to someone else when it comes to selling, raising more capital and taking on debt.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably living far too much in category three — filling your time responding to people because, well, that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? People ask for our time and we give it.
The odds you can do even one thing well when starting a business are LOW. The odds you can simultaneously do multiple things well are VERY low. And, if you’re trying to derisk your business, that’s the first place you should start. Find your one good thing, and focus on it.
Good KPIs are lagging indicators and they tell you what has already happened to you business. Leading indicators are great KPIs because they help you predict the future.
If your business is experiencing sustained flat growth and you are out of ideas, it’s probably time to get back into exploration mode.