Oh man, you got 300 email sign-ups, awesome! Goodness, your web traffic spiked by 200%! Yesssss! Holy god, you got a feature article on TechCrunch — well done! You won an award from the regional chamber of commerce! Break open the champagne, right?
Not so fast. These moments of excitement are, in fact, your body lying to you. The little hits of dopamine feel so good. You want more.
You know who doesn’t care? Your would-be investors.
At the earliest stages of raising money, before you have any real traction, it can be tempting to take anything that looks like traction and shout it from the rooftops. The truth is that investors know what real traction looks like, and none of the above qualify. And yet, I’ve seen all of them in pitch decks. Trust me: At best, your investor doesn’t care. At worst, it shows that you are a founder who doesn’t know what’s important when you’re building your business, which is a huge red flag for investors.
The goal of a startup is to stop being a startup
I subscribe to Steve Blank’s definition of a startup: A “temporary organization in search of a repeatable, sustainable business model.”