Which is more important: a big vision or a specific focus?

This post is by David Cohen from Hi, I'm David G. Cohen

Eight years ago, I wrote what continues to be one of my best-read blog posts, entitled “Reconciling Vision and Focus.”

The question it sought to answer is one that still resonates with founders today:

Which is more important for your startup–a big vision or a specific focus?

It’s a question that consistently comes up in my conversations with entrepreneurs both within the Techstars universe and those I meet via my “Office Hours” conversations.

What I wrote in 2014 could have been written today:

Companies have mentors or advisors telling them they need a big, bold vision to draw others to the company, attract investors and be viewed as thought leaders.

At the same time, they are also being told they need to focus–they need to do something very specific and really build up a dominant market share with good revenue in a specific area.

Many view this as conflicting advice. It causes them to thrash about, between big vision and specific focus. In reality, it’s not conflicting at all.

This played out in a conversation with a recent founder who had a big vision to expand his company beyond his current focus.

At the same time, his company’s name actually highlighted the area of current focus, not the broader vision, something I cautioned him could be seen as a “market limiter.”

By all means, start your company by focusing in an area that can best validate your capabilities and potential. Chances are, this will be an area (Read more…)