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Staying focused after a raise

I’d like to share an observation with B2B founders, especially those who have just raised their first sizeable round. tl;dr focus is key.

Staying focused now is probably more important than at any other time. 

The below are some examples of mistakes I made at this pivotal moment. Perhaps some will resonate with you.

1. I stopped selling personally and handed that function over to an amazing salesperson with a stellar CV.

I hadn’t yet bottled the founder sales. This needs to be nailed before you delegate.

2. I started to sell anything to anyone because I could.

My ideal customer profile (ICP) wandered and wavered. I should have stayed with ICP1 for a while longer. Learned from something manageable, really nailed it, before moving on from there.

3. I went on a hiring spree to GET STUFF DONE!

Assumed that hiring is the way to get stuff done. More people more power right? The process of hiring was lengthy, and took a lot of energy. The noise and politics around hiring became a distraction. I should have tranched it against milestones.

4. I hired from corporate.

The CVs looked stunning, but that’s no guarantee that they’ll be right for a role in startup. Startups require a very specific type of person, and mostly corporate types aren’t a great fit. Key lesson learned.

5. I hired specialists.

Yes, you need the right skills for the role. But the ‘job’, when you’re still very early, is a lot wider than it seems. Even when you need a specialist, they still have to be able to play the generalist role when their specific house isn’t on fire. The earlier the stage, the wider the competencies have to be. No Ninjas.

6. I didn’t listen.

All that cash made me arrogant. “I’ve made it, right!?” Wrong. Doh. This is simply the beginning of a new and different part of the journey.

If in doubt get back to first principles and back to your identity: who do you serve, and why do you serve them?

For a more detailed look at business strategy ideas for B2B founders, why not have a read of our article: Business Strategy For Startups?

Written by Dan


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