Feb 20 2007

How Targeted Should An Early-Staged Company Be?

Question: How focused and exact should an early stage startup be in talking about the path their business will take? Does an approach of “We could take the business in X,Y or Z direction” have more or less appeal than “We are focused on doing exactly X and targeting consumers of Y and Z demographic.”

Our Take: Be honest. Be as clear as you can about your business, but don’t force yourself to make definitive statements that you can’t back up later. Obviously the more focused your business plan is, the better, but only if it truly is a focus and not window dressing in the attempts to allure investment.

Some startups have a very clear vision of what they want to do, some less so. Some of the most fulfilling discussions that we’ve had are with entrepreneurs who’ve created something that can go in several different directions. During the investment discussions the management team, along with their new investors, flush out the going-forward strategy. It’s fun to sit around a table and brainstorm about the possibilities. Speaking with potential investors and giving them all of your options is a good way to see how your future VC analyzes situations and how they can work with you in a collaborative manner.

Chances are that your business strategies will change either slightly or completely during your company’s evolution. Few, if any startups get it completely right the first time, so don’t feel like you should pretend to know everything from day one.