The Importance of Staying Focused in a Vibrant Environment

October 28, 2015

The following post was written by Tejus Parikh co-founder and CTO of Rivalry, an Atlanta, GA venture backed company. He writes about everything that goes into building a young company, from fund raising strategy to technical nitty gritty.The Atlanta Tech Village is a constantly buzzing startup space with a coffee shop, kegs in the community room, ping-pong tables, and a few hundred dedicated startups. The companies inside range from a founder, a laptop, and a dream to VC backed orgs with seven figure run rates. Irrespective of the state of your company, there's someone there that's been there before and done that. Early stage companies need to be careful to not allow this benefit to become a distraction.One of the realities with the Tech Village is that there's always someone doing better. There's always someone that closed a deal that you couldn't close. There's always someone that's figured out the magic sauce to scale the business that you haven't found yet. Walking down the hallway is akin to a highlight reel: a stream of positive founders proud of how far they've gotten.It's easy to get easy to get sidetracked because your success does not measure up. It's tempting to chase the strategies that your more successful peers used. Especially when those founders make everything seem easy. But the reality is that startups are hard and take commitment and perseverance to succeed. They become even harder unless you do one thing.

All the advice you receive is worthless until you focus on your customer and take the time to fully understand your business.

All the advice you receive is worthless until you focus on your customer and take the time to fully understand your business. You have to know who your customers are, why are they buying, and why are they getting value from your company. Shut everything out and focus on this.Once this is done, you'll gain the ability to judge which advice is relevant. The story about how a company built a great outbound sales strategy might be interesting, but if your customers can only be reached through marketing you won't end up chasing your tail. The same is true for technology, hiring, and every other core function of the business.This is where The Village really starts to shine, because there's likely someone that is familiar with your chosen strategy, approach, and toolset. Since you know what you need to do, they can help you stay focused on how to do it. It's great because the single hardest thing in building a company is not getting stuck. Being at the village means not only is there some willing to pull you out of the mud, but get you going in the right direction again.

October 28, 2015
Karen Houghton