For small startups it is essential to decide what not to do as much as what you decide *to* do. As new technologies come and go, ideas for change could cripple a companies productivity or ability to reach any single objective (AKA Distractions.)
If your objective is to build an awesome product, and work hard at solving a problem that others may not have been able to solve yet, then here is a “is this a distraction right now, or a need for change?” litmus test for small startups.
Do I believe we should *only* do [new idea] and grow the company out from from there?
(i.e. stop focusing on the other thing you had previsouly decided was *the* way to grow the company from.)
If you find yourself getting to a strong yes, then the convo to get into the new idea may be ripe for discussion, and it may be time to focus energy on a new strategy and to pool your resources to build a world class product. I’ll go into what you can do to break the new idea down further from there, to see if it makes sense in your business in other ways, in later blogs.
Side notes as to why this problem may often come about:
For one, the grass is always greener. So you need to be carefull when shifting towards an idea that is not on your mind every hour of every day…There will often be different problems, not less, to overcome when you switch.
Second is brain time. The amount you spend on solving a problem has some (not sure yet what amount yet) relation on the lack of time you have spent thinking about the new thing. All the litte details that are reflex knowladge for you for is lost with a new idea and direction.
Analogous Exmaples in life:
For a simplified abstract example, you spend a few hours packing the night before a trip. Last minute the morning of the flight you realize, “Hey, I can just take the smaller bag! How much smarter of me, I can save much space!” So you do.
At the airport you realize that one of the side reasons you wanted the bigger bag was not just to carry more, but to so your friend could but his shoes in it. Damn! You over looked ne of the many small details that led to the dscisoin to pack the big bag in the first place, but the new idea that came to mind, that you took action on in a shorter amount of time, did not allow you to consider all the many reasons why you made the decisions you did the night before.
A more common example: “Ughhh, I left my wallet in my other pants pocket!” You look better, and it’s a good thing too because now you need to find someone to pay for your dinner :p
You may not be able to avoid these smaller mishaps, but you definitely have the power to minimize disrupting a company by paying attention to these business distractions vs changing directions type decision points.
Remember: A small comapany needsto solve *a* problem, focus on it, and when they get their fit and a few wins the grow into more spaces. Here is a great article on focus as it pertains to Product Market Fit and MVP:
“…But of course that was just the beginning of the product line and not the end.”