Success Traits of Entrepreneurs: Persistence
The average startup takes more than 7 years to a liquidity event and has at least 3 pivots. A few years ago I saw an article in the OC Metro Magazine giving awards to the best new companies in Orange County. When I read about the individual companies, not one of them was in business less than 10 years. And these were the “New” companies. So you need to be in it for the long haul.
Yes, there is lots of press when companies exit quickly and founders make millions. And it does happen. One biotech company I worked with was acquired in four years, which is really quick as drug development takes a long time. But this is not the norm. Maybe you will be one of those who can beat the odds and make the news. Most likely though, this kind of short term thinking will greatly increase your chance of failure.
Short term thinking leads to stress and panic when things don’t go as expected. Many are so confident in their quick success, they don’t create a long enough runway and run out of money. I regularly see startups raising too little money. Some begin to lose focus and get distracted by something shiny and new. Many entrepreneurs just give up because it doesn’t seem to be working fast enough and it’s just too hard.
Zappos is a great example. It is now both a success and a media darling. Yet it took 10 years from company start to liquidity event. Zappos started in 1999 and didn’t receive the investment from Sequoia Capital until 2004. In the meantime, Tony Hsieh sold his personal assets to keep the company going. Now, that’s persistence.
Go ahead. Try for the short term win but plan for the long haul. Double, even triple your mental time frame to success. If it happens sooner, congratulations. If not, you’ll be prepared to keep going until it does. Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint.