Startup CEO thinking too small

Are you as a startup CEO thinking too small and dooming your startup to failure?  You need to “size” your startup size ambitions in alignment with:

  • Your experience and skill set
  • Your co-founders
  • The funds that you can raise within your ecosystem
  • The support that your ecosystem can provide
  • The size of the addressable markets within your chosen target market niche(s)

Within those constraints you need to work very hard to build the best feasible startup. This may be:

  • A “Lifestyle” startup that only provides income to support one family
  • A metropolitan area or (within country) regional startup
  • A national or (several country) regional startup
  • A worldwide startup

Startup CEO thinking too small and dooming your startup to failure

Some startup CEOs:

  • Select a target market niche that is unreasonably small. It is reasonable to launch or test in a small niche; but only if it will give you credibility in a niche of exciting size in a growth economy for your offering. For example some Irish startups do not launch in Ireland because the market is too small; similarly some Israeli startups do not launch in Israel because the market is too small. Do not choose a small niche to avoid competition.  As Paul Graham said “You can only avoid competition by avoiding good ideas.”
    At a Disrupt conference Sarah Lacy, a writer for TechCrunch, said that within the attendees there were “not enough trying to change the world.”   But, changing the world is easier with the support of a world class ecosystem like Silicon Valley or London, than it is in a small town in (for example) Northern Maine.
  • Prepare a budget that is too small. Your startup budget should be prepared by an accountant who has experience supporting successful startups that launched in your ecosystem of choice.
  • Do not have enough time. If you have a full time job, at some point you must quit and become a full-time startup CEO
  • Focus on day-to-day minutia and never comprehend major opportunities that require creative thinking
  • Have a vision that is too narrow. You need to “Think Outside The Box” created by your experience as an employee
  • Are not flexible and adaptable
  • Just imitate somebody else’s idea without adding robust value
  • Do not raise enough money. Perhaps they do not really believe in their business plan. You must raise enough funding to:
    • Achieve the benchmark that justifies the next fund raise
    • Last for 3-4 months after that achievement so that you have time to raise the next round after you have “proof” in hand
    • Allows for some delay


Understand your ecosystem and the rest of your environment. Think “big” within those constraints. Yes, you will need to dodge the occasional disaster.




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