A startup founder has lots of dreams. Those dreams would only come true if the startup founder executes properly. To execute properly, the startup founder needs to have explicit goals. The goals need to be kept to a minimum as it is humanly impossible to achieve large numbers of goals.
When I started my first startup in 2003 I had 3 goals :
- Hit portfolio of products
- Iconic Culture
I wanted a hit portfolio of products. I admired Microsoft and Google a lot at that time and had the dream that one day my startup would be able to achieve this goal. What I did not know was that to achieve this goal I would need to focus on solving 1 or more problems of the users. I wanted a hit portfolio of products but without any good problem(s) to solve, I did not find any good solution(s). I learned this lesson in the long run very painfully and after multiple setbacks.
The second thing I wanted was an iconic culture. I wanted people in my startup to feel happy and motivated to do something big. I had heard about iconic cultures in silicon valley companies and wanted my startup also to have that kind of culture. Only after working for more than 10 years, I learned that culture is something you need to nurture carefully for the long run. Culture cannot be bought or copied. You need to invest time and effort on it from day 1.
The 3rd big dream of any startup founder is Initial Public Offering (IPO). I also dreamt of having a successful IPO one day and becoming a millionaire or billionaire. IPO may be the most glamorous thing to happen to a startup but it is achieved by only a very few selected startups who are able to scale big. For scaling big you need to achieve the first 2 goals.
There can be other goals but I strongly feel that any commercial startup needs to have these 3 goals. Many entrepreneurs start a startup with the explicit goal of selling to a big company like Google. While that may make you wealthy but if you truly want to be super successful you need to achieve these 3 goals. Take the case of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc and you will find that all successful companies have achieved these 3 goals.
In my next startup, I would like to focus on these 3 goals from day 1 and would like to attain them as soon as possible. In my first startup, I had dreams to achieve these goals but no plan or execution to achieve them. In my next startup, I will single mindedly focus on achieving these as soon as possible. Attaining these should be the number 1 priority of any startup founder.
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