Ask @StartupCFO: Am I settling when it comes to driving company performance?

I was with one of my CEOs this morning. As we walked through the highs and lows of his business I made a suggestion that I want to pass on.

Nothing’s ever perfect in a startup, or life for that matter. Perfection is an illusion. However, on the startup journey the bulk of value gets created once everything starts to work.

The way to get to that promised land of momentum is through thousands of little things. Decisions and improvements, big and small, that you and your team make every day.

Most startups burn money. As a result, time is not on our side. Each day and week matter as we figure out how to make our companies work.

With all that context in mind, here’s my suggestion:

As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in all the activity that’s going on. We see all that activity and are happy that things are moving forward. But I guarantee you, no matter how much progress you’re making and how hard everyone is working, you are making compromises. You’re settling.

Maybe you have a good sales leader, but not a great one. Maybe you know you have a conversion issue, but you keep allowing that to go on without diagnosis and a plan. The list of examples is endless.

I recommend that CEOs take some time each week to reflect on the business and ask themselves ‘where am I settling for good instead of pushing for great‘?

Even in my small advisory firm I do this weekly. I don’t allow meetings after 4pm Fridays. I take that time to revisit the whole week. I look at where I have settled. I use that to learn, grow and accelerate.

If you do this each and every week, mobilize your insights and push for improvements, you will be amazed at how much your entire company will level up.

This post was syndicated with permission from Mark MacLeod’s @StartupCFO blog


Mark MacLeod

Since 1999, Mark MacLeod has been helping fund, grow and exit venture-backed startups. Mark has over 14 years of experience as a CFO for leading companies such as FreshBooks, Shopify, Tungle, and many others. In addition, Mark spent three years as a General Partner for Real Ventures. Mark now runs SurePath Capital Partners the leading investment bank advising the SMB software and commerce markets.

0 replies on “Ask @StartupCFO: Am I settling when it comes to driving company performance?”