Posted by: T.D. Inoue | April 17, 2011

Crossroads – big decision points in the early life of a startup

We make a myriad of decisions every day, but some represent “crossroads” for the business – decisions that profoundly affect the direction of the business. These are big, scary decision because you think that if you’re wrong, it can destroy the business.

At times like these, I believe the secret to making the appropriate decision lies in referring back to the reason why you started in the first place. I ask myself: “How does this decision mesh with our core mission?”

When viewed in this light, the answer may be easy. It can take a tough, emotional issue and strip it down to the basics – is this consistent with who we are and what we’re fundamentally trying to do?

At OurKudos, our mission is to “celebrate the good in the world” – we are all about raising the public awareness about good. We are a celebration of life and the people who make a positive impact on us. So you would think that our decisions would be easy. Not so!

It’s easy to get buried in the day-to-day projects and lose track of the basic meaning for existence. There are small things, like worrying about how you’ll pay the bills. These are like oxygen  – required for life but they are not the meaning of life.

And so crossroads questions get complicated quickly. After the rational thought and debates, it often comes down to a gut decision – should we go down path A or path B?

We are currently at such a crossroad. One of our launch goals is turning out to be much more complicated than we had originally thought and it threatens to push our release back significantly. I feel like we don’t have the information or the resources to proceed down that path and the further we have progressed, the more complicated it appears. It is sucking down our time and stressing us out.

For me, the decision is an easy one because I completely believe in our core mission. I think the stress we’re feeling is not the good stress of growth – it’s the stress of doing something that is unnatural at this point in our growth. It’s like asking a crawling baby to run. At some point in the future, that baby will be able to run, but no matter how you try, you can’t force it to do so now. It’s simply not ready.

What tough crossroads have you reached and how have you dealt with them?


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