Use This Proven CEO Productivity Trick for Startup Fundraising

How to put one priority above all the rest without sinking your momentum

Joe Procopio

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image by marymarkevich on freepik

After two decades leading several startups through fundraises and other screaming top priorities, I’ve learned a prioritization hack that every startup leader should use to take on a single mission-critical task without letting the rest of the business fall apart.

The hack comes in especially handy around fundraising, because when you’re a startup CEO, you’re always balancing two seemingly incongruent priorities:

You can raise money, or you can grow, but you can’t do both at the same time.

Raising money is a long, difficult process— and any serious fundraise will take at least six months of effort from first investor contact to the final close. At least.

It’s one of those startup Catch-22s: How do startup CEOs raise money without company growth falling off a cliff?

To make matters worse, startup CEOs in particular bear the additional burden of having to wear multiple functional hats on top of their traditional executive role. So when a startup CEO faces the prospect of a single critical priority absorbing all of their available time –whether it’s raising money, boosting sales, or hiring talent — many functional areas of the company suffer as a result.

Or do they?

Committing To a Single Top Priority

Every startup leader — in fact, usually every startup employee — has at least a dozen “top” priorities at any given time. It’s a phenomenon that those fake advice peddlers will say you need to eliminate at all costs.

“Focus on one thing at a time, all the time,” they’ll preach.

Sounds great, right? Makes for a nice motivational poster.

But any startup leader who has actually led something to success will tell you that advice is totally unrealistic. In fact, if you do have a single top priority all the time, you’re more likely stuck in a functional middle-seniority position at a large company. And you’re likely bored out of your mind.

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com