The biggest mistakes that you make as an entrepreneur have a 6 month-1 year lag time. These usually aren’t lean startup product related mistakes (because pivoting is easy there), or even business model mistakes (because again, easy to pivot). These mistakes usually involve finance, compliance, bad hiring decisions, or more commonly, a combination of all of the above. I think this is why so many startups fail. Because the deadliest mistakes take the longest to catch up to you, and usually it’s stuff you didn’t know you didn’t know (because if you did know, you would have done it differently, right?) And once they do catch up to you, they just punch you in the face and knock you out. And usually do a really good job. Because it feels like everything is going to shit and everything is crumbling right before your eyes and right when you deal with one thing something else pops up. When it rains, it pours, right?
Which is why I think sometimes you have to watch everything burn down to rebuild anew. Again, why growing a startup is so hard. Because you have to watch it burn. Literally watching pieces burn before your eyes, pieces that are dear to your heart but you know that it can’t go on. It can’t be there in this new phase. You have to let it die. Because you know that while you watch it burn, there’s only a few pieces you can save. Let me rephrase that. There’s only a few pieces you know you SHOULD save. It’s that philosophical question that you hated: If you could only save 5 people in the world, who would they be? And the hardest question you have to answer is why. Why would you save them? (Note: Now the answer cannot just be, because I feel like it).
There’s a lot of death. There’s a lot of destruction.
But we all know that sometimes things have to die in order for a new order to be born.
And that is the goddamn harsh truth about trying to grow a startup.