Startup Operations: True Bottleneck 2 - Momentum
Like the Intellectual bottleneck, another big bottleneck that at startups is more 'energy' related. Let's call it the Momentum Bottleneck. Simply put, not all teams have the same amount of energy, and therefore, momentum - and momentum is a key ingredient to success in almost every startup situation. I wondered why this is the case.
Energy comes from all-round positive feedback from the universe: Conviction around products because they just work, Conviction around plans because they get executed well, the ability to beat competitors consistently etc.
Even in the best of situations, energy or momentum could erode due to various reasons here.
- Things broke very rarely, but did in one situation with the largest client;
- Some sellers left the team, leaving to a slower-than-usual execution even on the best laid plans;
- Competitors get beaten consistently, but market better - so no one knows; and
- (The Trojan horse) Everything's going well - products, plans, people - but communication is broken and no one knows they're winning.
There's nothing more frustrating than an inexplicable fizzling out of momentum. This usually starts within one team, spreading infectiously to others until broader energy and momentum is lost.
And so - If finding operational bottlenecks and resolving them was the COO's mandate in the past, finding momentum bottlenecks and smoothing them out is probably the key mandate in today's tech startups.
Over time, if unresolved, this can kill companies. Beware!