Build a Company, Not Just a Product

I recently spoke with a founder who’s had some turnover on his team. He’s an early founder and doesn’t have a working MVP yet. He said that his highest priority is finishing the MVP, which he’s considering doing himself. He isn’t worried about trying to replace his team.

This founder has hit a rough patch on the people side of the business, and he’s understandably frustrated. I’ve been there as a founder, so I get it. But it’s part of the journey —most founders experience it at some point.

This founder wants to forgo replenishing his team and focus intently on building a great product by himself. He’s very smart and will likely build something impressive. The problem is that building a product isn’t the goal. The goal is to solve a problem extremely well and get customers to pay for the solution. To achieve it, product development isn’t enough—you also need to develop other functions, including marketing and sales. To put it another way, you need to build a company.

Early-stage founders should keep in mind that their goal is to build a company. And that requires a team.