Focus One of the Keys for Success in Software Companies

September 30, 2009

In my first blog I touched on strategy as one of the keys for success in software companies. As a Venture Capital Firm another key trait we look for is Focus. One of the common maladies small software companies have, often through necessity because of a lack of expansion capital is a willingness to do Anything For A Buck (AFAB).

A company needs you to add this feature to the product that other companies or customers don’t need. Another one wants you to deliver your product or service in a manner that is different than how you deliver it today… maybe behind the firewall. Another company wants your product delivered in double byte language in 3 months when it is not even on the development road map. Another company will sign a contract but wants 24/7 support at no charge… well you get the point.

This always results in a company trying to do too much with limited resources, both growth capital and people. In our role as adviser’s to expansion stage software companies we constantly strive to make sure the CEO’s have true focus on the things that really matter. When you have 10 things you are trying to do you will do none of them well and will squander your people and capital resources. We encourage all of our portfolio companies to focus on the 1-3 things that truly matter and don’t worry about the rest. If you adopt this approach in managing your business (trust me it is not easy to do) you will have better results across your company as you put all the wood behind the arrow.

In the end it will help insure that you hold the high ground and are the winner versus your competition. You will have left your competitors behind in the dust as they continue to try and be all things to all people and you continue to focus your capital and team on the few things that really matter

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.