Customer traction is the hard part

A new business is complicated. It involves weaving together suppliers, partners, customers, processes, technology, leases, employees, logos, capital and more.

Along the way, it’s easy to get distracted, but focusing on the hard parts is a useful way to move forward.

You could work hard on the logo, or double your supplier roster or, as I did once, spend time with your corporate lawyers brainstorming the way to make your terms of service more interesting.

There are endless tasks to be done in starting a new venture. But most of the tasks are necessary but insufficient. You can’t begin without them, but by themselves, they won’t create enough impact for your work to make a change happen.

And every new project must create change, or else it fails.

We spend our time focusing on the tasks because the tasks are known and do-able.

It’s a form of hiding.

Worth noting:

The hard part isn’t the thing that costs you the most money. If you can outsource the work to an expert and get that work done effectively, it’s not hard. It’s just expensive. You don’t need to build your own email server, you can rent one. And if you want to become a book publisher, it turns out that printing, typesetting, copyediting, legal work and the rest aren’t actually hard. There are people who are eager to do that for you.

The hard part involves customer traction. Can you find enough customers who will pay you a fair price and also choose to spread the word? Because if customers bring you customers, and those customers all generate more income than expenses, you have a useful project.

Every minute the founder spends not working on this question might be misallocated.