How much entrepreneurial stamina do you have?
Posted by Charles | Filed under Entrepreneurship
How would I even know? For a first time entrepreneur there is a good chance you have no idea exactly how much entrepreneurial stamina you have. In fact until you’ve failed at building a company you will never really know. So what is entrepreneurial stamina?
I loosely define entrepreneurial stamina as the maximum length of time from one mile stone to the next that an entrepreneur is willing to put in without seeing a significant result or return. For example have you ever spoke to a first first time entrepreneur who is building a business from the ground up, using grass roots promotion, without much capital and is planning on spending the next 3 years before they get to profitability? Now don’t get me wrong, this business may work. In fact it may very well be a very profitable business at some point.
The personal decision that every entrepreneur needs to make is – “Is this business the right fit for me?”. Examples of the two extremes are the people are willing to spend 10 years to build a large winery before they can sell their first bottle of wine VS the type of person who will move on if there is no traction in the first week.
Chances are that if your reading this you fall somewhere in between these two types of people. The question is where exactly do you fall? How do you know where you are on this scale? This will require some seriously self reflection on your part.
The second part is that you need to figure out how long your new venture will take to get off the ground. You may want to be on the safe side… so what ever number you come up with double it. (this may be the dumbest formula ever but it’s usually somewhat accurate) Now ask yourself if your willing to put those X amount of hours into this venture before you can expect a return. If the answer is No then that’s fine. There are many great ideas out there but not every idea is right for every entrepreneur. If the answer is Yes then you are now one step closer to success.
Your co-founders are another important factor to consider. If there is a leader in the group that can push much longer than the rest of the team then this person will be required to motivate the team. Not everyone can do this but for the people who can it’s an amazing strength.
Why do I say all this? Well most times a new business run by a first time entrepreneur simply “runs out of steam”. Not that it fails but the founders eventually just stop working on it. Most of the time they just get bored and move on to the next project. Paul Graham does an excellent job describing this process in How Not to Die. Having a realistic view of how much time your willing to put in VS how much time is required will vastly improve your chances of success.
No one can or should go on forever, it’s just important to know how far your personally willing to go.