Dear Founders, Stop Trying to Innovate on Everything

If you’re founding an innovative company, you have a long, difficult road ahead of you.

To achieve your goal, you need to focus your time, money, and energy on that goal.

Because of the personality of many great founders, they need to question everything, do everything better, optimize everything, innovate on everything. “That’s how it’s done” is not a reason for them to do something.

But, you don’t need to do everything in the best way to achieve your main goal.

You can have many sub-optimal systems and still achieve that goal. In fact, you’re more likely to achieve that main innovation goal if some of your systems are sub-optimal.

You can be great at only so many things at one time. You can prioritize only so many things. You can spend your limited valuable resources of time, money, and energy on only so many things.

You should be focusing on the most important things. On the things that move you the furthest forward toward your goal relative to the cost.

Yes, there are exceptions, and you can do a cost benefit analysis to spot the places that you may want to find a better, new solution. But in general, don’t look for ways to innovate in every area. Only the main area! Focus!

While you’re trying to change the world, does it really make sense to also try to build your own payroll system? To build a new contract management solution? To build a custom HRIS? To build custom bookkeeping software? To launch your own logistics network? To run your own servers? Maybe. But probably not.

Over time, as you hire more people and have more resources, you can give room to people on your team to innovate in their areas. But early on, you need to focus on the main goal.

So, in some cases, do it that way just because “that’s how it’s done”.

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