Stepping Back: 5 Questions To Yourself Ask Yourself About Your Startup
Every year (or quarter) it is worth taking a step back from the day to day emotional roller coaster that is a startup. It is worth making the time to reset your directions and ask the "big picture" questions that can drive the success or failure of your business.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. Do I Have The Right Team In Place?
Your business has undoubtedly changed in 2012. Are there holes in your team you should fill?
What sort of org do you want in each quarter of 2012 and how do you proactively get there?
Are there people on the team who are underperforming or a bad fit? How do you remove these people from your team and when do you do it? (Hint: don't wait)
2. Do I Have The Capital I Need?
When do you run out of money? Do you have at least 18 months of cash left?
Should you raise money in 2012?
What milestones do you need to reach in order to raise money (if that is your plan)?
Who do you want to raise money from? How do you build buzz and relationships with that person now?
Can you reach profitability in 2012? What are the tradeoffs to doing so (e.g. shrink the team? ramp sales? roll out new pricing)?
3. What Should I Be Doing Less Of? Or More Of?
What are things that you spend time on that did not help you in 2012?
Can you stop doing these things? If not, can you outsource them?
Where did your team waste the most time in 2011?
How do you make sure they spend time effectively in 2012?
What was the biggest barrier to productivity for your team this past year?
In hindsight, what were the activities in 2011 that created the most value for your business?
How do you make sure your team spends its time on the most important things?
4. How Is My Product Doing?
What do users love about your product? What are 1-2 things you can do to build on this momentum?
What do users hate about your product? Do you need to fix these things?
How much traction does your product have? Where does distribution come from?
If you are early stage, are you working on the right product? When do you decide the product is working/not working and what do you do about it?
5. What Can I Do To 10X My Business This Year?
Is there a market shift happening that you can exploit in 2012? (e.g. Android penetration? Rise of Pinterest for distribution to commerce sites? Something else?)
How can you think bigger and bolder in 2012? What are 1-2 big audacious product / partnership / other goals you should swing for?
How do you focus on the big swings despite everything else you are doing?
Any other questions you think are worth asking? Let me know in the comments section.
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Other posts you might like:
Are You a Visionary Entrepreneur
20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Raising Money
You Dont Need a Good Idea To Start A Great Company