One of the earliest life lessons I can remember came from my dad: focus on what you can control. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned that this isn’t just a lesson for kids. It’s one of those life lessons that’s applicable to all stages of life, both personal and professional.
And it’s a piece of advice we’ve been sharing with our portfolio companies quite a bit recently.
Focusing on what you can control requires discipline, focus, work ethic, and blocking out distractions. These behaviors are more important than ever for business leaders in this time of uncertainty.
As the US slowly starts to open back up, there’s plenty of debate on the best ways to stimulate the recovery. Experts from both sides weigh in on what should and shouldn’t be done. What is a leader of an early stage company to do?
We’d suggest that they focus on what they can control.
Here are three easy things that a leader in an early stage company can do in this time of uncertainty.
Show your customers how valued they are. Cut prices for your most loyal customers. Give it away for free for a period of time. They’ll remember your kindness and will find ways to repay those who stood by them when times were tough.
Be real and communicate. Teams look for leaders who have humility and empathy. Leaders communicate in times of crisis. Some of the best I’ve had the chance to work with share whatever they can whenever they can share it.
Consider adding to your team. There’s major talent leaving some of the biggest tech and retail companies. Airbnb, Macy’s, Uber, WeWork are just a few. We have seen incredible leaders come out of these organizations. Do you have advisors, vendors or partners that you always wanted to have on board and thought you could not afford to? Now is a time to make an offer. We’ve also heard from our CEOs how they’ve recognized rock star talent in their organizations. This can be a morale boost, but also can build loyalty to the organization.
By focusing on what can be controlled, you can help lead your organization out of the uncertainty and align on what matters.