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The entrepreneur’s decision time

A friend is deep in a startup that isn’t going as expected.

He’s out of money, and he’s exhausted.

He has some choices: Switch to a lean-and-mean, do-it-with-three-people-and-no-cash strategy around the original vision. Or shut it down. Or focus on customer acquisition to get it big enough to sell (and bet it all on a sale).

The answer is … (drumroll) …:

It doesn’t matter. Any plan is fine, and any plan might work. What’s important is to pick one and go all-out to make it work. You can’t analyze your way to the right answer. Just choose and do. Action matters most.

But … if you can’t get 100% massively thrilled and excited, if you can’t completely dedicate yourself to the new plan, if you can’t restore your energy and make it fun again … shut it down. Time to move on.

Entrepreneurial energy makes it possible. Fun is why we do it. Without those, let it go and try again some other day.

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  1. Brad Simon March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Andy, I appreciate your no-frills decision heuristic here.

    Sadly, I know this situation well. I was in this exact position a couple of years ago with a cookie company I had started in Argentina. After a two years in business, but not at a sustained profit-level, both cash and energy were quickly disappearing. I decided to focus hard on just three channels that seemed the most promising. While there were more than three outlets, I only had the energy and resources for three. If it didn’t work in these then I could hold my head high. So I went full-out in these channels. Although I ended up with significant product placement the repeat sales were simply not there and I concluded it wasn’t meant to be.

    For entrepreneurs whose businesses are in that early still-not-self-sustaining stage, it is all too easy to chase every customer segment or channel or offering that blips on the radar. I strongly advise against that. My view is that as an entrepreneur you have your vision of “the thing” and you place your bets on it. Then you focus all your energies and resources on that vision. Only if you start to see regular dis-confirming data should you consider veering from that early path.

    (And Andy, we were neighbors growing up. Thanks for putting our neighborhood on the map!)

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