One of the most important aspects of a startup that can’t be easily accelerated is organizational development of the corporate culture and market understanding. Some things take time even with quick learners and hardworking people — there’s no way to rush it. Generally, it takes 12-24 months for a new startup to solidify its own personality.
Even with extensive experience working together on the founding team, there are always new people in the startup that introduce their own nuances and characteristics. No two corporate cultures are exactly alike. One of the best things a new startup can do is be intentional about its core values and use those as a guide for decision making, especially on the hiring front. Everything starts and stops with people.
Organizational learning about the market also takes time, like the corporate culture. Markets are always more complicated on the inside compared to how they look on the outside. Competitive dynamics are often difficult to understand until a startup gets on the front lines and goes to battle. One of the reasons I recommend startups raise less money in their seed round (see Death to the $700k Seed Round), or raise more money and make it last longer, is that it always takes more time than expected to make progress. No matter how hard an entrepreneur tries to make the right decision, the market dictates what wins, and iterating quickly is the best path.
Organizational development takes time in a startup — there’s no way to rush it.
What else? What are some other reasons organizational development takes time in a startup?