As a startup CEO, you wear a lot of hats. You’re responsible for the big-picture vision of the company, but you also have to get your hands dirty with the day-to-day operations. One of the most challenging aspects of running a startup is figuring out what to work on and when. There are always more ideas than there is time to execute on them, so how do you prioritize?
The answer lies in using a prioritization framework. A prioritization framework is a tool that helps you evaluate and rank potential projects or features based on their strategic importance. Most frameworks use some combination of criteria such as impact, feasibility, and alignment with company goals. However, most existing frameworks are not well suited for early-stage startups that are still trying to find their product-market fit (PMF). In this blog post, we’ll outline a prioritization framework that is specifically designed for pre-PMF startups.
Why Most Prioritization Frameworks Are Not Suitable For Pre-PMF Startups
Most existing prioritization frameworks are not well suited for early-stage startups for three main reasons:
1) They rely too much on data: In the early stages of a startup, data is scarce. You haven’t had time to collect enough data to accurately assess the impact of potential projects.
2) They require too much theory: Existing frameworks often require detailed business plans and market analysis before you can even start ranking projects. This can be very time consuming and may not even be possible if you’re still trying to figure out your business model.
3) They focus too much on what users ask for: Just because users ask for something doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. In fact, many times what users say they want is not what they actually need.
How To Prioritize Effectively At An Early-Stage Startup
The best way to prioritize at an early-stage startup is to focus on making 10 customers very happy. By doing this, you will create a strong foundation upon which you can build your business. Here are some tips for how to make this happen:
1) Aim to make 10 customers very happy: It’s important to focus on quality over quantity in the early stages of your startup. It’s better to have 10 loyal customers who love your product than 100 customers who are just lukewarm about it.
2) Data is scarce, so don’t rely on it too much: As we mentioned before, data is scarce in the early stages of a startup. This means that you can’t rely on it too much when making decisions about what to build next. Try to use qualitative data (e.g., customer interviews) instead of quantitative data (e.g., analytics) when possible.
3) Theory is important, but not more than building: It’s important to have a solid theoretical foundation for your business, but don’t get bogged down in planning too much without taking action. The best way to learn is by doing and iterating based on feedback from customers.
4) Don’t just build what users ask for: Just because users ask for something doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. Instead of blindly building whatever users ask for, take the time to understand their underlying needs and pain points. This will help you prioritize projects that will actually improve the user experience and move the needle forward for your business.
Prioritizing your startup’s to-do list can be a daunting task, but it’s essential if you want to make progress on your most important goals. By using a prioritization framework that is specifically designed for pre-PMF startups, you can ensure that you’re spending your time and resources on the right things. Keep in mind that data is scarce in the early stages of a startup, so don’t rely on it too much when making decisions about what to build next. And finally, don’t just build what users ask for—take the time to understand their underlying needs and pain points so that you can prioritize projects that will actually improve the user experience and move the needle forward for your business..