Leading your startup works just fine, right? But does it feel improvised sometimes? Are you making it up as you go? Too much firefighting and time spent on random tasks and meetings?


It does not have to be this way! To find what the biggest challenges are when leading a startup (and what to about them) I interviewed 30 founders. From this, I analyzed 15h of recordings, and 480 pages of transcripts and this blogpost is an extract of the result. I also added my own experience from my 2 startups – Cartmi (in Berlin) and RedJepakketje (in Amsterdam). 

Let’s dive right into all the juicy best practices to become an exceptional leader when scaling your startup!


“Focus is everything. I learned this the hard way building 3 startups at the same time and realized none of them are going anywhere” one of the interviewed founders shared openly. 


Knowing where you are headed and ruthlessly focusing on that is essential for leading your team to success. With focus, you reach a positive flow as you feel the progress. This sustains you and your team through the inevitable hard times. 

Being all over the place felt like progress, but actually, it’s just busyness. If you find your revenue isn’t where it should be, it might be a sign that your focus is misplaced or that you’re investing time in areas that don’t resonate with your customers.


Lead with a specific, clear, and mission-driven goal. As a founder, you build the company culture, the values and set the ultimate goals. Align all of this with who you truly are. Build a company that works for you, and create focus and goals that are truly meaningful to you. 


Use the following insights to keep creating focus. It’s not a one-time thing but a continuous finetuning:

  1. Clarify what really moves the needle right now (max 1-3 things)
  2. Turn them into a meaningful statement/goal that drives motivation in the team 
  3. Ruthlessly align and prioritize your own activities and your team’s goals with it. Everything that is not 100% supporting your goals and mission, needs to be gone 


Finetune as you go, because we are built to hunt for the shiny things. Nudge them back toward the right direction – gentle but firm.

Miguel Baumann coaching blog
Hi, I am Miguel

I support leaders in tech to shine with confidence and take charge of their careers.

Continue reading