4 truths startup founders often forget

Amber Brunning
4 truths startup founders often forget

Startup founders can easily be carried away by overnight success stories and entrepreneurs who don’t fail

The seemingly instant success of some of the biggest startups around the world can often leave others who are trying to pave their own success feeling at least a little unsure. The business world is competitive where the successful are the loudest and only the wins are shown off.

When a new entrepreneur enters the market, they can often find that the unrelenting nature of business leaves them disappointed as they struggle through the harsh reality. For startup founders, it’s important to remember that the successes they see and read about likely have several failures behind them. What other truths do startup founders forget?

Being a founder doesn’t always lead to freedom 

When someone sets out to start a business they often have the goal in mind to leave the rat-race and have a business that can support them financially. The reality is, you are giving up your steady 9 to 5 for a venture that will take your constant attention. There are no breaks for startup founders.

The key here is to embrace it. If you want to launch a successful startup, the reality is you will be devoting almost all your time and sacrificing a lot of other things to simply stay afloat.

Having a successful business can mean, however, that you may be able to find freedom earlier than you would have. There’s no such thing as a startup that provides a passive income. Once the business is established, you may be able to work towards such a goal. 

Success takes a long time

No business has ever found success overnight. And (probably) no business ever will. There are exceptions where businesses have scaled to massive proportions in a short period of time but even this is rare. Think about how many businesses are fighting for attention. Now consider the few who make it into the limelight, and then how many of those sustain their success. Not a lot. The businesses who make it to success have likely been working towards their moment for years, and once they reach it, they don’t stop!

Also read: Exit landscape in Southeast Asia: What founders need to know before receiving external funding

Have an exit plan but not a backup plan

It might seem smart to have a backup plan or a “plan B” however to find success with your startup, you need to be fully committed. There’s no point aiming to make a deal within the next month with the “safe” option in the back of your mind. A backup plan can limit the potential for you to strive for success.

Alternatively, having an exit plan from the outset can be greatly beneficial in helping you make critical business decisions. Having a plan for how you want to exit your business, who you will pass it on too, where you will sell it, and what broker you may use is important. You never know when a potential buyer could approach you, or unfortunate circumstances mean you have to leave the business.

Also read: Building a successful exit strategy in SEA; why pre-revenue models are bad for listings

No one has all the answers

The businesses you read about on Forbes and similar sites all seem to be making leaps and bounds in an environment where failure simply doesn’t exist. It’s easy to feel like they know everything and you know nothing. This isn’t true, no one knows everything. Successful businesses have teams of smart, like-minded individuals behind them helping to drive the business.

Understanding this is key so you don’t fall into the trap of thinking negatively. Focus on what you’re good at and build your reputation around these things. Get excited about learning and accept advice and criticism from anyone who has the time to give it to you.

Startup founders can easily be carried away by overnight success stories and entrepreneurs who don’t fail. This can result in founders feeling like they know nothing and are doomed from the beginning. Remembering that a startup will take lots of hard work, time and good planning can be helpful when times are tough. Keep your head up, push on and strive for that success you have always dreamed of.

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