High effort or none at all

What gives a startup the highest chance for success?

There are obvious things that check the typical “startup” boxes but those are all detailed in retrospect. Most of us don’t hear about companies until they are well past the startup mode, then we study them and try to apply what we learn from them to our context.

The real stuff that most don’t see is what makes or breaks an early stage company.

Effort. Very high effort.

Before the viability of the company.
Before product/market fit.
Before investment.
Before customer personas.
Before word or mouth or earned media or any awareness.

The only determining factor for early startup traction is the amount of energy that is injected into it.

Everything is high effort and low impact to begin with. The startups that succeed are the ones that continuously apply high effort to a specific problem until the impact starts to increase.

It’s only at that point that the founders can decide if the velocity is there to warrant continuing to pursue the idea or to pivot.

This is the startup grind where sustained high effort is most often the differentiator.