Zooming In, Zooming Out

Many traits epitomize the successful entrepreneur: tenacity, optimism, drive, etc. One that doesn’t get much notice, however, is the talent to zoom in and zoom out at the right time.

Zooming in is the ability to focus without distraction, to become obsessed with getting things done that are meaningful to the business at a very specific point in time. In the early years, zooming in means continually improving the product to deliver maximum value to each customer so every one becomes a raving fan, reviewing all the work of your first employees to ensure they’re upholding the company’s standards, or locking yourself in the office to finally write up job descriptions for each person.

As the company grows, zooming in means spending months finding new office space and going over the smallest details such as how many people will use the elevator or where to put the ping-pong table. It means holding meeting after meeting with co-founders and advisors, and perhaps hiring a consultant, to build compensation plans to ensure fairness and compliance. And it means seeking out referrals for, and interviewing bankers, to find the best fit for the company’s cash flows, credit needs, and growth plans.

Zooming out, on the other hand, is the ability to see the big picture, think strategically, and seek out meaning.