How Stuff Gets Done in a Startup

One of the known facts of startup life is that there’s always more to do. A startup is a burgeoning business, usually run by just a small group of people, meaning there’s always more work and never enough people or time to get it done.

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So somehow we have to find techniques to get through as much as we can. Here are just three suggestions—share yours in the comments below.

1. Quit early, quit often

Startups are rife with experimentation. While this is a great thing, it can easily eat up your time.

Ted Gonder touts the process of quitting early, and often:

This seems obvious but the only way I’ve gotten to a place where I’m relatively comfortable with high commitment levels is through the process of elimination. To truly commit to something, you have to know that there aren’t that many other things which would be a better use of your time and energy.

When you’re constantly experimenting with new approaches, it’s important to pay attention to things that aren’t working, or are sucking your time, so you can cut them out as soon as possible.

2. Make decisions

Another thing that’s unique to startups is how quickly they move. Decisions have to be made and you have to be able to change directions fast.

This post includes a great quote from a school principal who explains how he approaches decision-making:

People aren’t counting on me to be right; they are counting on me to make decisions. As soon as I realized that, I had the job knocked: just make decisions. If I make a wrong decision, guess what; I make another decision, and then another and another. A mistake is simply an opportunity to make another decision. The trick is knowing when and how to change your mind.

When your company is young and still finding its feet, you’ll be put on the spot often. Whether it’s prioritizing tasks, approving a new design or experimenting with new product features, you need to be able to make the call. Then, if it doesn’t work out, you need to be able to follow it up with another decision, and another.

3. Learn to endure haters

The thing is, you’ll always have critics. Particularly if you’re going against the grain, which has become the norm for startups.

To put up with this, you need to know your vision inside out and the plan you’re going to use to achieve it. Circle back to this often, both for your own sake and your team’s, so you can remain confident in your strategy even when facing detractors.

Again, Ted Gonder has some great points to make on this:

Understand that others’ hateful comments are almost always an expression of the haters’ own insecurities, and usually have little to do with you. Winston Churchill said that if you don’t have enemies, you’re doing something wrong.

What other methods do you use to get things done in your startup?