Grinding it Out in a Startup

Tennis Campus
Image by CROG Tennis Trieste via Flickr

Today I had the opportunity to spend an hour with a startup that is working on a B2C internet-based startup. Being in the early stages of the process, they had tons of energy and excitement. One of the points I wanted to emphasize was that they need to pace themselves as it’s going to take at least two, if not three, years to achieve a modest level of success (I have no idea how long it’ll take but I was trying to set expectations).

In tennis, a popular term is “grinder” meaning a player that is steady and plays to outlast their opponent, as opposed to going for winners to get the point over quickly. Grinders are known for intense endurance training and their ability to stay in the game by continually getting the ball back. Startup co-founders need to be grinders.

Some notes for grinders in a startup:

  • Play for the long haul and don’t expend your energy too early
  • Set bottom-up goals with short-term milestones that meet your long-term goals
  • Get everyone else involved in the mindset that it is going to take twice as long and cost twice as much to achieve success

Success in a startup is elusive but expectations should be set early-on that grinding it out improves the odds. Be a grinder.

What else? What do you think of grinding it out in a startup?

2 thoughts on “Grinding it Out in a Startup

  1. When I got into auto racing a veteran told me it would take 3 years to get “competitive.” It is the same in founding a company especially a tech one. The first year to just absorb it and learn what you don’t know. The second on how to drive and the third on setting up the car.

    In both endeavors time and good advisors increase your learning and potential success.

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