Nail Your Startup’s New Year’s Resolutions

Take 2019 by the horns by subjecting your goals to a premortem.

It’s the time of year when the founders in my orbit are discussing their company’s goals for 2019. Every one of them is excited to take the new year by the horns. Their goals are specific, impactful, and carefully modeled in spreadsheets.

Their teams and investors will surely be thrilled with their achievement… but 90% of companies don’t hit their goals due to inadequate implementation and resource planning. It’s a pain I know all too well as a repeat VC-backed founder myself.

That’s why we’ve embraced the premortem as a key component of our process. It’s a form of imaginary time travel championed by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Imagining an event has already occurred dramatically increases the ability to correct for probable failure modes.

Premortems help startups prioritize what matters… addressing the things that will prevent them from achieving their critical growth objectives. I recommend every founder kick-off their new year by taking an hour or two with their teams to subject their goals to a premortem analysis.

I’ve written about the best practices we’ve established in a prior post.

This article originally appeared on Foundational’s site.

Foundational expedites fundraising timelines by helping startups curate VC feedback to proactively eliminate probable objections. We believe startups should be as intentional studying prospective investors as they are with learning from their customers. Our product management framework, Traction Science, leverages VC feedback to target growth in the specific areas investors will seek proof of venture scalability.

Harlan Milkove is a product manager, software engineer, and veteran startup founder. He has led initiatives across several ventures to launch flagship products by forming and leading high caliber teams. His most notable venture, Reonomy, is a commercial real estate analytics platform that has secured over $69M in funding.


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