Entrepreneurial Blind Spots

Everyone has a blind spot. When I work with entrepreneurs, it’s sometimes easy to see what their blind spot is.  It’s harder to recognize it in yourself.  You have to work to uncover them.  It’s important to do that, because you can round out your team with people who are strong in things you are weak.

Often when I ask entrepreneurs who are engineering focused what they are going to do next they tell me about all the different engineering things they will be doing.  New websites.  New features inside a product.  A new engineering wrinkle that is cutting edge or current in the main stream VC world.   They think that will increase their valuation and allow them to raise money easier.

What they forget about is the customer might not need or want it.

Other entrepreneurs that aren’t technically focused turn their attention to their strengths.  If a person is great at marketing or sales, they will say that is the next step in the business even if it’s the technical side of their business that really could use the attention.

When you aren’t comfortable or confident in a skill you tend to shy away from it because you fear making a mistake.

It’s also important to listen to the advice of outsiders.  Sometimes outsiders give crappy feedback.  Great feedback might rub the entrepreneur the wrong way.  If it comes from a place that’s frank and honest, it’s helpful.

One time I was at a meeting with an entrepreneur and a person asked them, “What’s the first thing you are going to do with the money?”  They responded with how they were going to re-engineer the product and get rid of work in process in production.  The questioner responded that they would hire a couple of sales people and ramp up top line revenue.  The entrepreneur dug their heels in.

It turns out that someone else who looked at the business on the same day concluded that they needed to ramp up sales and not work on technical features.  The entrepreneur didn’t listen to them either.

The best thing to do is figure out where you are weak.  No one is perfect.  Once you know, quickly find someone you can work with that fills the gap.  Your company will be better for it.