Choosing the Right Targets and Metrics

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, 5 Scaling Up Stage, Design of Experiments, skmurphy

The targets that founders set for a startup, and the metrics they choose to measure their progress toward these targets, are key decisions in the definition of the business. The wrong targets–in particular selecting only targets that are easily achievable–will not only postpone difficult choices that will bring clarity but may doom a team from the beginning if they don’t adjust and aim for outcomes that create a sustainable and growing business.

Five Tips For Activating Your Network of Relationships

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Customer Development, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

A startups social capital, the network of relationships that the founders have with friends, former co-workers and associates, and friends of friends represent a key resource for the team. It’s possible to activate this network to help you solve a variety of problems–e.g. finding a cofounder, finding early employees, finding contractors, finding early customers, finding investors, finding advisors–but you can normally only activate for one purpose at a time.

Kierkegaard: Creativity Must Master Dread of the Unknown

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, skmurphy

Entrepreneurs can be paralyzed by the rich set of possibilities they face. It seems almost paradoxical that when you have one choice you can start immediately, when you have two you can flip a coin, but as possibilities multiply the desire to make the best choice can paralyze you. To fully embrace your creativity you must master your dread of the unknown.

Be Clear on Product Roadmap to Customers

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 5 Scaling Up Stage, skmurphy

Be clear with customers about what is on your product roadmap. We recently did some win/loss interviews for a client to collect stories on why a customer purchased–and why a prospect failed to purchase. When we asked one customer about the quality of their support we got an answer that was initially a little surprising: “We like them because they always come back with an answer even if that answer is no. Other vendors will either talk about a feature being ‘under consideration’ or ‘on the long term roadmap’ or ‘we are still evaluating how best to implement it’ but you tell us no. We may not like the answer and we may sometimes argue but it’s much more honest and useful than most of the feature request answers we get from other vendors.”

I was reminded of that when I got an email today from someone at Peet’s trying to obfuscate the fact that they had discontinued a number of their teas.

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