Multiple Eggs in Multiple Baskets?

Or do startups & entrepreneurs need one single focus? (

(Don’t spend all your time/effort on just one pursuit!)
(Spread your time/effort among MULTIPLE startups!)

Smart investors don’t invest in only one company; they invest in many companies — to diversify their portfolio, to mitigate risk, and to increase the odds of having MULTIPLE winners…

So why is it so uncommon (and/or frowned upon?) for that same line of thinking to apply to startups — both the actual startup company and the individual entrepreneur? Or, as I will get around to proposing and elaborating on in a future post, why aren’t there more incubator/accelerator models that actually encourage the simultaneous pursuit of multiple ventures that share resources (particularly key personnel!) and benefit from the economies of scale from MULTIPLE EGGS IN MULTIPLE BASKETS?

Some of us can obviously multi-task more effectively than others. And some of us enjoy variety more than others do. But, whether we realize it or not, we ALL have plenty of experience dividing our time and focusing our efforts in multiple directions — because it wasn’t too long ago that we were all required to do it regularly…

The analogy might not be perfect, but if you can handle Math, Science, English, History, Spanish, etc., you might just be able to handle a Part-Time “Starter Startup” added to your schedule… particularly if your role is something you’re great at (better/faster than the average full-timer) and/or things you already do for your primary job/startup so the long/costly learning curves are non-existent. Learning to do something the first time is always WAY more time-consuming than doing it a 2nd/3rd/4th time…

Yes, I understand the most common objections to the suggestions above will likely center around the company or entrepreneur being spread too thin and never fully realizing — or not quickly enough realizing — the full potential of any of the individual ventures. But I think those concerns can be mitigated/offset by good management (of personnel/time), economies of scale / shared resources (multiple ventures sharing one office lease, one receptionist, one set of utility bills, office supplies, and even key C-Level personnel), and the increased likelihood of one or multiple successes emerging from putting multiple eggs in multiple baskets… [More on all this soon.]

CAVEAT: One admittedly huge exception to this line of thinking is in instances where you’ve made commitments to investors (or co-founders) which are specific to one/some of the ventures, but not all. Then, unless you’ve been completely upfront with them about your multiple-venture intentions, there is a potential problem… because shareholders will generally expect (as they should) that they are getting your full focus/efforts/resources unless otherwise explained and agreed upon… and you would no longer be doing your moral/ethical/fiduciary duty to maximize the value of that particular business venture… So this whole “Multiple Eggs / Multiple Baskets” approach is more of a strategy for: A) Idea Stage / Pre-Funding / Pre-Revenue (startups and entrepreneurs) -OR- B) Instances where all shareholders have a stake in all eggs / all baskets (all products / all startups)

P.S. And the “Multiple Eggs” in “Multiple Baskets” thing isn’t just for individual entrepreneurs — I think it should apply to fully-functional startups in virtually ANY stage…

Whether it’s proactively anticipating a future pivot and starting it now or an entirely different concept, when else can you start a startup and benefit from so many shared resources and economies of scale — avoiding all the traditional time-consuming parts of starting a startup — finding office space, interviewing/hiring, all the learning curves, etc. — you already did all that! Amortize that Shit! (over Multiple Eggs / Multiple Baskets!)


Why don’t more startups proactively anticipate their pivots!?” If we know the first iteration is rarely successful, why wait until your back is against a wall to test Plan B? Why not use economies of scale and shared resources to simultaneously build/launch your next pivot (or 3!?) BEFORE you’re actually forced to? I mean, you’ll A-B test different subject lines in an email campaign but you won’t A-B test your core product?!? [And B2C startups? Depending on what your product is, I think you could (should?) be simultaneously launching 2, 3, 4, or 12 products — or even brands!]

  • Additional Landing Pages are Easy.
  • Additional Domain Names are ~$10.
  • A few extra clicks and your Facebook Advertising guru has just created an entirely new custom audience for ad-targeting — a group that has no idea that everyone in a different [location? age bracket? whatever!] is seeing ads for a similar product but with a different name, a different price-point, and/or a different value proposition or marketing spin.
  • Learning Curves suck.
  • The amount of time/money you spend to do ANYTHING the first time is SOOOO MUCH MORE than the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time.
  • Or, heck, take one of our “ IDEA+++ Starter Startups” and incubate it WITHIN YOUR STARTUP! Talk to us!

P.S. If you are a company that has spent a lot of time and money to perfect your logistics / fulfillment / shipping operations… or your social media / digital marketing / customer acquisition process… or your [insert whatever you are GREAT at!]… then WHY would you NOT spread that expertise, those sunk/fixed costs across another startup / another product / another business unit (the terminology doesn’t matter!)?!?! And/or become a Partner / Co-Founder / Whatever with another startup that would place TREMENDOUS value on not needing to re-invent the wheel (that you have already spent time/money inventing)?!?

Like what you read? Give Jeff Goldblatt a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.