Ten Reflections on 2023 from Atlanta Ventures

As we wrap up 2023, here are some of my key reflections from the year as we move into 2024.

A.T. Gimbel
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December 19, 2023

As we wrap up 2023, here are some of my key reflections from the year as we move into 2024.

10. Be prepared (do your research)

It is always interesting to see the different levels of preparedness people have for meetings and their business. With the inbound forms we get on our website, even the smallest amount of research or preparation shows you care and instantly vaults you above the noise. Spend the time to be prepared.

9. How to raise money (without investors)

In a tough fundraising environment, don’t forget there are other options to raise money for your business until you start to figure things out. Having a side hustle, doing consulting/services, and getting paid customers are all ways to fund your business without investors.

8. Growth vs. Cash

Several years ago the focus was all on growth. While growth is still important, in tougher economic and fundraising times it can make sense to take a little less growth if it helps preserve cash to give your business a longer runway to survive.

7. Execution is more important than the idea

I meet with a lot of folks who are very protective of their idea. They have received advice to be in “stealth” mode and require NDAs. That usually means you are missing out on great opportunities for feedback and market learnings. Remember somebody, somewhere else in the world has your same idea. It is all about the execution.

6. Starting a new business in down cycles

It is a tough fundraising environment now. That being said, it is a great time to start a business. Knowing it takes several years to get going, starting now could position you well in the next upward economic cycle. Furthermore, if people buy and love your product in a tough environment, imagine how much easier it will be to sell when things turn around.

5. Focus

It is easy to be attracted to the next market, customer segment, product feature, etc. But trying too many things can distract the team and dilute your limited resources. Instead focus on solving one problem, for one target customer segment, and be 10x better on one key dimension of the product.

4. It takes more than one thing for your startup to take off

I meet with a lot of entrepreneurs who believe they are one [insert product feature, capital raise, hire, etc.] away from having the business takeoff and start scaling. While that may be true if you are already having success, if you are still early, that one thing rarely makes the rocket ship start. Instead it is usually a combination of several factors that must align to get going.

3. Innovation needs constraints

Raising too much capital or growing your team before product-market fit can cause challenges. Early in your business, it is best to impose constraints to make sure you stay laser focused on proving out the key hypotheses and assumptions for the business.

2. Pivot or not

When times are tough, you sometimes have to make the tough decision of whether you should pivot the business or shut it down and move on. Here are some questions to think through that decision.

1. Find your passion

One of the questions we always ask potential studio entrepreneurs is what problems/areas are they passionate about? Entrepreneurship is hard, but picking a space where you deeply care about solving that problem makes it that much more important to keep going and overcome the inevitable adversity you will face in the journey.

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