Entrepreneurial Focus: Shiny Object Syndrome
December 1, 2016
A guy and a truck and flip flops
March 7, 2019

The 2 Key Steps to Startup Focus & Building a Business

So, you want to build an company...

The question is, "HOW?"

You already know the “Why”.

Make a difference

You know that there’s a simple 2 step formula you can follow

Step 1: Build a great product people love.
Step 2: Sell it to them.

Too simple?

It is. But it’s not.

Now let me show you how to build that great product people love...

Step 1a: Target the right customer and fall in love with them. You say, I get the fall in love with them part but how do I know who is “right”? ANSWER: You use Step 1b.

Step 1b: Learn/Feel/Live the #1 priority problem that you can solve AND will transform their life. Not problems 1 - 8. Focus on big, painful, hairy problem #1 first. They’ll love you for it.

Step 1c: Solve big hairy problem #1 beautifully, simply without extra noise or fanfare that distracts from why you matter to them. Crystalize in your customer’s mind why you are relevant and they will place immense value on you.

Step 2: Sell it to them

That’s it.

Yeah, that’s it.

If you make it more complex you’re doing it wrong.

yeah yeah there are lots of operational details about this like validating your assumptions, building things, marketing, sales tools, getting paid, etc etc but know this…

That stuff is easy.

What is hard is staying focused when your feet hit the floor every morning on doing everything you can to stay true to the 2 steps.

You will live or die by these simple focal points.

Everything else is noise. Necessary... but noise nonetheless.

Do you need 100,000 people to market to day one?


You need 1.

1 person you can call, go visit, sell to.

Then you find another.

My mom used to tell me, “You eat an elephant 1 bite at a time."

And on the surface, it seems so simple. Target the right customers, focus on their biggest problem, solve it in the right way.



What actually happens is this: As hard as you try you don’t truly “know” you customer until you have a bunch of them. Wha you think is their #1 problem may be for your first few customers but then it isn’t the #1 for the next batch.

Then what?

A shiny new customer comes across your bow and you fall in love again and you chase after them. This happens a few times then people step back and watch you run around like a fool. Trying to be all things to all of these customers.

Being from Colorado we call this a “false summit”. You work your butt off climbing up a mountain thinking the summit you’v been looking at is the goal. Only when you finally reach it, you find that it’s a little point and a flat spot and the real hill is way up there.

It’s demoralizing...

This is when entrepreneurs go one of two ways. Grab some water and keep climbing or shut it down and head home.

And that's why I want to show you how to do it the right way. How to summit a 14,000 ft peak. (we have 50+ of them here in Colorado)

Because the truth is, it is possible to focus on one refined customer segment, solve their most painful problem in an elegant way and NOT chase shiny objects like a fool or quit too soon.

And it's much simpler than you previously thought.

And it’s a skill you can learn and use again and again.

Remember in my webinar (you watched it didn’t you…?) I talked about 2 traps that kill most startups. The “If you build it they will come trap” and the “Trial & Error” trap.

It turns out, when you strive to build the right product for the right customer in the right way you must recognize that YOU are in control of each area of the equation

Customer Target + Problem Focus + Solution Design = Winning


You need to align each variable in this equation with the others.

If you tweak your Problem Focus you need to tweak your Solution Design and the Customer Target.

If you tweak your Customer Target, you need to tweak you Solution Design and the Problem Focus.

Do that and the Winning side of the equation takes care of itself.

It’s what I refer to in the RARECURVE Masterclass as understanding the IMPLICATIONS of all you do.

If you fail in this you will fail in everything.

You will add features to your product your customer doesn’t care about.

You will solve problems you customer doesn’t have.

You will target customers who don’t care about your product.

Then the death spiral has begun.

So how do I avoid the death spiral…
A lot of entrepreneurs are blessed and cursed with Shiny Object Syndrome, Can Do Attitude, and Vision.

1. Shiny Object Syndrome requires that you learn the words “No" and "Not Yet”.
2. Can Do Attitude requires that you stop asking yourself “Can I…” and start asking yourself “Should I…”
3. Vision requires that you recognize that having a vision does not mean you have the visibility necessary to make it happen.

Here’s an example:

Facebook is a gargantuan company with 2 Billion users who started by focusing on people who attended 1 school. Harvard. If you weren’t a student or an alumni you were out of luck. Then they went big and opened it up to Ivy League schools, then a few more, and so on and so on.

They ate the now 2 Billion user elephant one bite at a time.

Mom was right.

Here’s the best part.

You can learn the same approach, discipline, skills to build your own elephant… one bite at a time.

It gets better, too.

I’ve been teaching this to entrepreneurs (and big elephants like Nike, Victoria’s Secret) for years now.

Teaching you how to find your customer (the one you can fall in love with)
Identify their biggest, hairiest problem they are dying for you to solve.
Crafting a solution that transforms their life/work so that they fall in love with you.
Winning (love all around)

Very simple.

Now let me let you in on a little secret…

Once you figure this out, you can use it over and over again in your business as it evolves. You'll never lose sight of its magic.

So, on that note, Go watch my webinar.


Go Bend Your Curve!

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