What’s the priority?

“She was laughing at your business cards. She said they look cheap!”

“Okay. And?” I replied back to my friend.

“Well… she said a company like yours should have better ones.” My friend noted.

I looked up from my computer where I was typing an email. I smiled at him and said, “Cool.”

The year was 2009 and my business partners and I had just started our new company Clean. The company was self funded (still is) and the only employees we had were the three founders, myself, Alejandro Junger, and Albert Bitton. There was always a lot to do and, like most start-ups, not many resources at all.

When it comes to building a business the name of the game is priority. The most important question my business partners and I had to ask ourselves everyday was, “What is truly the priority today?”

Maybe having nice business cards was a priority for my friend’s friend, but it wasn’t for me.

Even if I had the best business cards in the world, it wouldn’t have made any difference when it came to the success of our new business. Nice business cards don’t make money, they cost money.

Paying rent for a fancy office. Driving a leased luxury car. Spending months on a 10 year business plan. Hiring a company to create a custom voicemails. Having an assistant to look important. Allocating way too much money on a logo. Spending a year on the most perfect website….

These things don’t matter in the beginning. They may matter later on (or maybe never), but they don’t in the beginning.

What does matter is beginning are the fundamentals. The product, the customer’s experience, the customer support to name a few.

I’m not advocating that my priorities should be your priorities. I’m simply encouraging that the question be asked.

What’s the priority? If something isn’t priority, have the courage to quit it and recommit to what is.

While my friend’s friend was focused on our business cards, my partners and I were focused on making customers happy with our product. And even though we didn’t have nice business cards, or a fancy office, or the best website, we did make our first $1,000,000 in sales that summer.

Here’s to working on what matters.


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