4 Tips to Find Your Startup's Focus

One piece of advice that many entrepreneurs receive is to keep their business simple. Expanding too quickly or jumping around from idea to idea without a clear direction can certainly prevent a startup from getting off the ground — but simplicity in the wrong area may be just as detrimental.

"It's great to do something simple, provided customers want what you have to sell," said Colin Finn, executive founder of Hawaii-based Daylight Mind Coffee Company. "There's a survivor bias [in small business] — you read about one success story that started with a simple idea. There are 15 other companies that did equally simple things that nobody wanted. Only the few that really focused on getting that first sale succeeded."

When he started his company, Finn found that experimenting with different tactics and learning to concentrate on what worked was the key to success. He and Daylight Mind's chief science officer Shawn Steiman shared a few tips for keeping your startup focused. [3 Steps to Finding Your Startup's Niche]

  • "Push and contract." It's tempting to want to keep trying one new strategy after another, especially when you have the resources to do so. But Finn recommended going through a "push and contract" cycle with your business activities. "Push for a couple of months with new ideas, but then have a period of pullback and reflection to see if they're making money," he told Business News Daily.
  • Don't overload. Trying new ideas for your business can help you find out what works, but it's important to avoid taking on too many tasks and overwhelming yourself and your team.
  • Clearly define your team's roles. Everyone working with you should have a clearly defined path and know what they're supposed to be doing at any given time, said Steiman. A good knowledge of your team and each team member's strengths can help you decide the most effective way to divide up labor for new strategies.
  • Accept that some ideas will fail. Not everything you try with your business is going to work. This can be a difficult reality to face when you and your team have become invested in a project, but the best course of action is to let it go and move on. Continue experimenting and finding out what fits, as long as it doesn't become an excuse to avoid a difficult problem.

Originally published on Business News Daily.