Sometimes, when you want to grow, you have to think small. That's a key piece of entrepreneurial wisdom that Danae Ringelmann has learned as co-founder of crowdfunding website Indiegogo

Ringelmann spoke Tuesday at the iCONIC conference in Seattle about the importance of "thinking small," which she broadly defined as having a narrow focus. In her case, she says Indiegogo's laser focus has been on its mission: Allowing anyone with an idea, who isn't breaking a law or causing harm, to raise money via the site. 

Here are the benefits of thinking small, according to Ringelmann, plus other lessons about focus and growth. 

A strong mission helps you attract better staff.

"When you have a strong mission, you actually attract purpose-driven people," she says. And these people are more productive and creative than those who just punch in to work, because they care about the company fulfilling that mission well. 

With a clear mission, you're better able to filter.

When you have a clear mission, you know when to say no. Some opportunities won't serve the best interest of a company in the long run, but without a mission, you may not know what's right for your business, Ringelmann says.

When you focus, you're better able to solve a problem.

People in Silicon Valley love to talk about innovation. But sometimes, innovation won't help you do what you've set out to do. Remember your customers. Pick the problem you want to solve, and solve it, says Ringelmann. 

Having a diverse staff helps you find solutions.

Ringelmann's advice for new entrepreneurs: "One of the most important things you can do is get your founding team as diverse as it can be." That means diversity of backgrounds, diversity of ideas, diversity of experiences. A diverse staff is more adept at finding a variety of ways to approach issues as they arise, she says.

 

Published on: Apr 5, 2016