Do one thing well


If there’s one thing that startups in particular are often guilty of, it’s trying to do too much, too soon.

Having a clear focus means it’s easier to communicate what your product is and who it’s for. Take your lead from success stories such as Dropbox and Instagram by doing one thing really well.

Before them companies like Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals) were breaking the mould and making simple, usable software. Their co-founder Jason Fried explains their thinking in the book Getting Real:

“If you can’t fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don’t expand the time and budget. instead, pull back the scope.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Often there can be pressures from customers, investors or other team members, but learning to say no is something you’ll need to get to grips with if you want a usable product. Get the core right and you’ll make your life a whole lot easier.

One thing we make a point of doing with each product we work on at Spook Studio is to make a list of things we won’t do. This helps to add some constraints to the design process as everyone has a clear idea of what the product isn’t. In this way we can make better decisions and not take our eye off the ball. We also find that agreeing on some design principles for the product can be a great way to make better and quicker decisions.

One way to achieve this focus is by developing your Blue Ocean Strategy. A simple but effective framework for developing a targeted value proposition. It allows you to consider ways in which you can stay ahead of the competition and create new value.

The strategy canvas is one of the core tools at the heart of the Blue Ocean Strategy framework

It takes discipline to stay on track and not lose focus, but it’s a valuable trait that all successful entrepreneurs and product owners seem to have.