Managing A Startup: Speed Matters!

Building a successful start-up company from ground zero takes a tremendous commitment, broad ranging skill sets along with an undying level of persistence.  In the quest to turn your idea into a commercial success, timing will play a tremendous role in whether or not you are successful.

Yes, there is an element of timing of certain events and market forces that you have no control over, but there is also a huge element of timing that is entirely within your control if you learn to always seize the moment.

Having a strong sense of urgency is a common element in all successful leaders of business.  But simply having an innate sense of urgency in itself is not enough. One must have the discipline to put this sense of urgency into motion by actually taking action. The bad news is this is where many of entrepreneurs come up short. The good news is it is entirely within your reach to take control of this all-important issue.

One of the most common mistakes I have observed is people hesitating in making a decision. While this can sometimes be the result of wanting to make sure they have all pertinent information, it is more often a reluctance to act now for fear of making a mistake or implementing the wrong decision.  Over the course of your company’s evolution, this tendency to hesitate and not make/implement decisions will be very detrimental to your success — even your survival.

One of the most meaningful quotes I have ever come across is: “Great leaders don’t always make the right decision, but they always decide!”

I recently read a biography about President Truman. One of the anecdotes shared was one of the differences between his style and that of Franklin Roosevelt: President Roosevelt often went great to lengths to read, review, question and learn as much about a subject as he could.  Many cabinet members never knew for sure where he landed on certain items. It would often take weeks or months to get a decision on any matter.   By contrast, President Truman had a reputation for being 100 percent focused on the task at hand, would listen intently to what was presented and would make a decision on the spot. 

The point that I would have the reader take away from this is that when you are managing a start-up company, SPEED MATTERS!  Resources of all types are limited at best. You have fewer people on hand, cash flow is usually tight and milestones must be met to ensure funding will continue.  You must develop the habit of looking at the situation, assessing the alternatives and deciding and implementing a course of action.

Remember, there is a big difference between making a decision and acting on it.

There is an old adage in the world of sales that basically says you miss 100 percent of the sales you never ask for. In sports, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.  Acting now with a moderately good plan of action will often win the game quicker and with better results than will delaying action until everything seems perfect.   As Nike ads have advised us all along— JUST DO IT!

The following provides some very practical techniques to improving on-the-spot decision-making capacity.


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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.