By now this nugget of startup wisdom should be well known: Companies are bought, not sold. And yet many entrepreneurs sadly don’t seem to act accordingly (and Silicon Valley, in all its glory, doesn’t foster good behavior as well).
Let me explain: When you build a company which builds product users want and pay for, is cash flow positive and generates revenues – your fate is entirely in your own hands. You can sell your company when you feel the time and price are right; and if it doesn’t feel right (yet), you just keep running the company. You raise money to drive further growth. If the investment doesn’t come through or the terms aren’t what you expect – no big deal, you just keep chugging on. Everybody is happy and life is good.
Contrast this with a company which is running out of cash. You need to raise capital to keep the company afloat. You easily find yourself in a situation where you have to take the deal on the table. Whether you like it or not. You approach suitors from a position of weakness – you can’t afford to walk away from the table if something with the deal feels off.
Focus your energy on building something that matters. Something people gladly will pay for. Keep an eye on your cashflow and revenue position.
It might not be sexy in the short term (so much more fun to dream up “get rich quick”-schemes) but trust me: It becomes mighty sexy when it’s time to cash out.
To get there, you need to go through the grind first.
You know these days. The days when everything feels double and triple hard. When nothing seems to work and everything fails. When you question your company, your product and yourself. When everything seems to be stacked against you and you are just tired.
Welcome to the grind.
We all go through this. If you feel you haven’t hit the grind yet – you are either lucky or haven’t tried hard enough. It doesn’t matter – the one thing I can tell from all my experience and the experience of much, many people smarter, better and wiser than I: It will get better. Just push through – for what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way.
I found that most important (for me) in these moments is to step back. To allow life to happen to me and for me to focus on the big picture. To connect with what’s important and what really matters.
Welcome to the grind. Great things come from here.