Most startups don’t work out. Even with an experienced management team, funding, and a good market, the chance of building a large, enduring business is minimal. So, the saying “may the odds ever be in your favor”, especially rings true when it comes to new ventures. If the chances aren’t great, yet you have to keep grinding it out, how long should you keep going?
The answer: as long as you’re making meaningful progress in a great market, keep grinding it out.
Breakthroughs can happen at any time but silver bullets are unlikely. Grinding it out in a great market long enough results in a solid understanding of the opportunities and a clear direction. Remember, almost all successful startups pivot at least once (see Pivoting is More Common Than Expected). What typically happens with success stories is that the entrepreneur thinks there’s an opportunity in a market, jumps in, and finds another opportunity nearby that’s the real winner. Sometimes it takes years of grinding it out to find the best opportunity (see Plan for Three Years of Runway).
Keep grinding it out if real progress is being made and the market it solid.
What else? What are some other thoughts on figuring out how long to keep grinding it out?
3 thoughts on “How long do you keep grinding it out?”
Totally agree here. It usually takes months if not years to understand the market, major players, competitor offerings and services and what specific problem is the most pressing/unique to attack. I think its all too easy to quit because most entrepreneurs wont spend enough time in the market, or probably are first time founders and don’t know the right way to solicit and use feedback and pivot appropriately. Also its important for entrepreneurs to really hone in on their unique value proposition and how they can continue to gain advantage in a specific area as they start growing. Obviously much easier than done 😉
One of the first things that came in my mind while reading this article was my father’s favourite quote “persevera y triunfarás”, meaning persevere and triumph. Success isn’t only about perseveration, there is also luck, experience, time etc… but to give up to a plan that has clearly great potential it is wrong.
I just discovered your blog David, and I must say that I am glad I did.
This is always a tough question to answer, because oftentimes there are numerous sacrifices that have been made to start a business. You mentioned the “10 paying customer” threshold as a good initial benchmark. What’s a rough estimate for a company to get to this point?