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This is a Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound.
As you can see, it’s a very serious dog.
Hounds are notoriously difficult to train to be off-leash. When a hound dog catches a scent, it puts its head down and starts running. They lose focus on everything else that’s going on around them. Hounds can get so focused on tracking a scent that when they finally pick their head back up, they find themselves miles away from where they started. Hound dogs are one of the most frequently lost dog breeds.
Unfortunately, when building a startup, it’s easy to become the hound. You’re in a sprint to the next fundraise. You become focused on achieving key results that you believe are critical to that process. Top line growth. The launch of a new product. The total number of downloads of your latest app.
But while you’re intently staring at that one goal, trouble is brewing around you. Cash burn is accelerating. Customer retention rates are woeful. Those free trials aren’t converting to paying customers.
Meanwhile, your team is losing focus, chasing too many competing priorities and collaboration is breaking down.
These challenges can spin out of control before you spot them.
Navigating the startup journey can be an overwhelming experience. There is a lot to think about, and time passes quickly. You need to force yourself to pick your head back up. Let yourself see your startup from a broader perspective. Identify macro trends that might be impacting your team’s performance or future funding prospects.
Get out and talk to customers, investors, and your employees. Spend time in other parts of your business and see your challenges from different perspectives.
Sometimes our reaction to stressful situations is to hunker down, put our heads down, and relentlessly attack the one problem in front of us, trying to bludgeon it to resolution.
Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t be the hound. Pick up your head.