10 Lessons Learned On When To Change Your Game by Jason Goldberg
by Jason Goldberg, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Fab.com (via venturebeat)
All of the steps that lay behind our decision to transform Fab were rooted in the lessons learned over seven years in the startup world. Here, based on our experience, are the top 10 reasons to alter course.
- If you can’t get traction after one year, switch gears and work on something different. Particularly if you’re building a consumer e-business, you can tell pretty quickly if it’s going to fly or flunk.
- Don’t get bogged down in something just because you’ve been doing it. There are plenty of other fish in the entrepreneurial sea. Go catch the one that looks like it’s swimming faster than the turtle you’ve been riding.
- Be willing to go in a completely different direction. Remember, YouTube started as a video dating site. No one is going to shoot you for abandoning an idea that didn’t work.
- Consider your options well before you’re down to your last dollar. That will give you the time and resources to make a mid-course correction if necessary. It’s better to change when you’ve still got over $1million in the bank like we do.
- Do the math at least once a month. You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken.
- Don’t get seduced by your own ‘brilliant’ idea. It may have sounded good on paper, but you need to be objective in evaluating the results.
- Change courses because you want to, not because you have to. If you’ve done your homework in a timely manner and you see the writing on the wall (see #5), you’ll have time to figure out where to go next.
- Get your board on board. They invested in you. They’ll want you to do whatever you’re convinced can give them the greatest return.
- Think like an investor. What can you do that has the greatest chance of delivering 10 times the investment you (or they) make in your business?
- Ask yourself the following six questions to determine whether to regroup:
- If we could do anything for the next year, what would it be?
- What are we most passionate about?
- What are our customers telling us?
- What can we (realistically) be the best at?
- If we were to use our limited resources for anything, what would we spend them on?
- What will create the most value for our shareholders?
Some people say great entrepreneurs just make it happen. I can tell you from experience with my own companies and in serving as an advisor to other startups: that is rarely true. Good businesses need inspiration as well as perspiration. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. The next time, you might get it right.
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