Archive for December, 2012

Is your startup too old to fail?

I review several hundred startup business plans a year.  Many ventures have been fighting and struggling for years.

I especially see that here in Dallas where the pressure and the cost of living is much lower than the West Coast.  It’s easier to drift in a zone where your business is making progress but slowly.  You’re trying to survive and so may have other work.  Your venture gets just a slice of your mindshare.  You learn to survive without funding and bootstrap.

Compare that to Silicon Valley where entrepreneurs are more apt to deem their effort a failure.  They move on if they haven’t had huge traction and funding in 1-2 years.

What is your goal?  Is it a true hypergrowth startup,  a linear growth venture, a small business that will provide employment for you, or a lifestyle (hobby) activity?  If your choice is the first, are you truly focused on that?  Are you committing 100% of your time and effort to your startup?  Managing your startup is not about velocity.  It should be about acceleration.

Startups stand for change.  That includes your own business.  As the saying goes, you have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.   While it’s critical to engage your passion and invest yourself, don’t drown to the point that you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and will never leave.  Listen to the universe and the cards you’re dealt. Sometimes you have to exchange a few cards and pivot.  Other times you need to deal yourself a whole new hand.

Most successful entrepreneurs have had to brave a few failures before they find the right combination of concept, timing, team, and, yes, luck. If you never let yourself fail, you will never get that shot at the big win.

While the entrepreneur’s determination and persistence are to be admired, they also can be your enemy, as Jason Calacanis writes in Moderate Success Is the Enemy of Breakout Success.


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