There’s a Hype Cycle is a methodology invented by Gartner about technologies whereby expectations start out in grand fashion only to fall off sharply into the trough of disillusionment. Then, slowly, over time the visibility and impact grow creating tremendously productivity and value. Entrepreneurs follow a similar path on the personal level when building a new company.
Over the last week I’ve talked with two different entrepreneurs that were in the trough of disillusionment. Of course, they didn’t volunteer to me that they were in the trough of disillusionment. Instead, they said that they were down because they’d been pushing hard on their new startup for the past year and haven’t seen the results they expected. Worse, results on the revenue side were almost none existent. With the advent of the New Year, and the typical reflection time, more stress is self-inflicted around achieving success.
Here are a few thoughts on the trough of disillusionment:
- Startups always have highs and low lows, so attempt to keep perspective
- Business models like the Software-as-a-Service / cloud model are beautiful, but the time to build a customer acquisition machine is often excruciatingly long
- Everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as expected, so plan accordingly
- Gut checks are critical throughout, and sometimes the right move is to keep moving forward and sometimes the right move is to give up
The next time things are going poorly, think about the trough of disillusionment and figure out where things stand. Much like Seth Godin’s The Dip, sometimes things get worse before they get better.
What else? What are some other thoughts on the trough of disillusionment for entrepreneurs?