Setting The Stage – Resources For Startups

Keeping Your Business Startups Out Of The Sand Pits

Startup Success

Setting The Trajectory For Success

This web feature is a series of articles intended to be viewed in order - top to bottom in the side menu.  If you missed the Introduction, you may want to start there.  It's a little like pre-setting the stage to understand the "why".

For context with this web feature, let's first look at the business focus for this content.

Business Types:

In general, there are three business types:

  • Service - Where the company provides an action or a service.
  • Retail or Distribution - Where a company sells the products of other companies.
  • Product - Where a company produces and sells its own products.

This is, of course, very generalized, and there are many companies that operate in more than one of the above categories.  In this article, we'll focus on product-based businesses, and the product side of a combined business.

Product Based Business

Definition:  A business (or Startup or Venture) that is the source of a product. These are businesses where the product(s) is created or manufactured as a tool to create revenue.  A product can be physical, digital, or conceptual.

For purposes of this article, we will deal with all products in one generic swipe, but remember that each business and each product is unique.  We expect our readers are able to adjust this material to their circumstances.

So, to start, if you are a product based business, list your product or products (generally is OK), then follow through the steps on the rest of this page.


What is a "Resource"?  Take a minute and list all of your entrepreneurial resources.  Really, write them down.

Your list should include all the normal things like:  Money, Time, Friends, Service Sources, Mentors, this Article, etc..  But think a little deeper - how about Brain Power, Enthusiasm, and the people your friends know.  This list should get pretty long.

Resources are all the things that are available to help move your business forward.

What is a "Sand Trap"?

For our context, a Sand Trap is anything that consumes resources disproportionately - especially Time, Money, Brain Power & Enthusiasm.

Finding the Sand Pits

Buttercup:  We’ll never succeed!  We may as well die here.
Westley:  No, no.  We have already succeeded.  I mean, what are the three terrors of the Fire Swamp?  One, the flame spurt – no problem.  There’s a popping sound preceding each; we can avoid that.  Two, the lightning sand, which you were clever enough to discover what that looks like, so in the future we can avoid that too.

- From the movie, The Princess Bride.

The two responses are so different.  As you enter your own fire-swamp of new product ventures, realize that a disproportionate number that enter don't survive.  However, all you need to do is figure out the resources available and learn where the traps are.  Let this article (and the ones that follow) point out a few of the "popping sounds" to help you avoid some of the hazards for startups.

Entrepreneurial Quicksand

Have you ever spent hours fiddling with a Powerpoint slide for a presentation?  Or on getting a web page to look just perfect?  Have you ever looked up from your email and noticed an hour has passed?  Do you ever wake up at night worried about details in your company?  These are all evidence of "Sand Traps".

Again, if a "Sand Trap" is anything that consumes resources disproportionately, and if your time is one of your resources, then get out of the sand trap of what I call the "fiddle factor".  Fiddling to perfection is not usually necessary - even though if often feels like it.

Speaking from experience, feeding the OCD involved in perfectionism is wasteful.  Of course we want to do our best job!  But - the way I now think about it - "Does my best job include leaving the other important tasks undone?"  (because I spent too much time perfecting one?)  No.  My best job is to do good on everything, then if time allows, go back and do great on a few things.

We really have to see things as they are.  Yes, spending a little extra time to fiddle and perfect things can seem super important at the moment.  And, it might seem like a small thing, but seriously, if we can't start to identify these simple "Sand Traps", the continuing consumption of resources will add stress and pressure.  Neither of which are good for success with our startup.

Start Small, Then The Big Things Are Easier

This article also addresses some much bigger sand traps that can't usually be solved in an hour.  Perfectionism and time consuming "fiddle factor" is an ongoing battle for many people, but it is a small battle.  It may happen over and over, but with some effort in identifying the triggers, it can be overcome (one instance at a time).

Now let's get on to looking at some bigger things.

Dealing With Things That Bog You Down Is Key To Staying Out Of The Entanglement.

startup resourcesNext Up:  Hey, That's My Idea !!

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