When Things are Hard, More Money Isn’t Always the Solution

When talking to entrepreneurs, a recurring theme is the belief that if there was more money available, this challenge/headache/difficulty would just go away. It’s as if money solves problems, which isn’t the case. Money can buy the startup more time, which is incredibly valuable, but often there are more fundamental issues that need to be solved.

Here are a few examples:

  • If I only had money for more software engineers…
    • Without product/market fit, more engineering beyond a modest point often results in product bloat the acts like technical debt (the more the product does, the harder it is to move fast) and makes it harder to pivot (if that becomes required)
  • If I only had money for a bigger marketing budget…
    • Most startups are still trying to figure out a repeatable customer acquisition process and don’t have a marketing process that works. Yes, more money allows for more experimenting but it’s still important to be prudent. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers has a number of great ideas in it.
  • If I only had money for sales people…
    • Selling is best done by the founders with the help of a sales assistant or SDRs. Throwing money at sales people before the founders prove the value is a quick way to burn through cash.

Money is hard to come by for most founders and so lacking it is often used as a crutch when things aren’t going well. The best entrepreneurs are resourceful and figure out how to make things work so that they can stay in the arena long enough to win.

What else? What are some more examples of more money not always being the solution?

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