Time and time again I see founders look for the quick win or the magic bullet. The idea is that they too can be an overnight success just like . . . who? Just like no one I would bet. I don't think I have ever heard of a founder stating that their path to success was easy, or that they just had to do this one thing. And, if you and I could find one of these miracle founders, I would further theorize that there was some overwhelming hidden factor that really unlocked their company's success.

I call this the Founder Fallacy of the Quick Win.

What are the signs?

You are not data-driven. Regardless of whether you are a new restaurant or a software business, there are data gathering opportunities that can provide insights into your business. With insights come better decisions. Those that prefer to make decisions solely based on their gut instincts are typically looking for luck to drive success.

You employ a strategy du jour. We have all seen these people. One day they are a product company--the next day they are a consulting company. Each of these strategies is difficult but bouncing back and forth is insanity. Building businesses is a grind. Changing your strategy based on the thinking that you want to avoid the grind is a stellar example of quick-win thinking.

You change your story to match the listener. One trick VC's employ is to show interest in a related but indirect opportunity to your core business. They are measuring your commitment to your idea vs. the hope for a quick win with them. This is the shiny object test.

We all have dreamed of finding that one tactic where luck trumps smarts. The problem is if you think that it exists, you end up executing as if it will happen. Therein lies the fallacy. To support this train of thought, you end up throwing multiple business tactics against the wall to see which one sticks.

I would prefer that you create a broad-based strategy that employs a number of tactics and continue to iterate on each tactic further optimizing the results of each. When one runs its course, try a new tactic. As always, continue to gather data to inform you and the team about what is working and what needs more help.

Published on: Jul 16, 2015