This is partly a story about a mistake I made by being simultaneously involved in multiple valuable sideprojects as a coowner of a startup. Due to lack of focus, these projects eventually began to decline in market share and value. Based on my personal experiences I hope to give other entrepreneurs some insight on when to focus on one project and how to do it.
Your first projects and businesses aren’t always an immediate hit. Which is why we like many others took on several projects and registered a multitude of domains. Eventually you come to filter out the unsuccessful and invaluable projects and direct your focus on the ones that bear greater potential.
At the beginning of my merger with my current business partner, we owned a portfolio of four major projects in which we invested a lot of time into and they were all successful in their own right but it quickly became clear to us that one stood out among the rest: our deals and coupons platform Saleduck. And this was the one that we wanted to nurture.
It eventually became clear that selling some of them would be our means of generating new funds and most importantly, it would allow us to focus our attention on Saleduck’s imminent expansion into Southeast Asia. Saleduck has now expanded into Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.
Therefore we sold our insurance comparison website in 2014. We also got an attractive offer for our Dutch classifieds website of €42,000 towards the end of 2014. However, we still saw a lot of untapped potential for the site and and wound up turning down the offer. We figured that if we invested a little more time into it, we would be able to raise its value and sell it at a higher asking price but unfortunately, we never found the time to give it the attention it deserved. Ultimately, we paid the price for this as the offer dwindled down to €22,000 by the end of 2015. Today it is a lesson learnt but at that point in time, It felt like a blow to us as we knew that it was money and focus we could have better invested into Saleduck from the start.
The Theory of Focus
Many different viewpoints exist on how to manage multiple projects in a startup. Some belief that it is a good strategy for a young company to continuously work on multiple projects. In my experience however, I feel that projects will suffer from the lack of attention they get. When you take on a second project, you do not double your workload, you triple it. Switching between businesses cost more time, effort and money. There are multiple theories and arguments that support this opinion: