How to ensure your startup survives the valley of death and stands the test of time
Starting a business is an exciting and challenging journey. However, building a successful business that stands the test of time takes more than just a great idea and hard work. Longevity starts with a strong foundation that takes years to build. Here are five ways to master the long game and build a foundation for lasting success in business.
1. Have an exit plan.
Before launching a new company or initiative, it's crucial to have an exit plan. Even if the plan involves getting back up and trying again years down the road if things get rocky for a season. An exit plan provides a safety net, reduces anxiety, and helps you make strategic decisions that support your long-term goals.
2. Incorporate and define founder terms.
Articles of incorporation and founder terms, such as "vesting schedules," are essential to defining your company's legal structure. Research and consult with a lawyer to ensure that you fully understand the legal implications and requirements of your articles of incorporation. Having a legal team you trust is a powerful thing.
3. Follow founder intuition.
Founder intuition is a powerful tool that can save early-stage decision-making processes from decision fatigue that can lead to a company's failure. Follow your gut and trust your instincts when making tough decisions. Business presents too many options, and narrowing options can be complex if it isn't focused around some degree of familiarity to reduce learning curves while growing commerce.
4. Focus on mental health.
Do less, even if it means not seeing friends and family as often, in order to focus on mental health first. Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others with their air masks. Remember to prioritize bursts, not burnout. Mental health is crucial to your long-term success.
5. Ask questions, ask for help.
Make asking questions and asking for help the top skill set to master above all other skill sets. Business can't happen in a vacuum; it takes a village to build a company. Ask for help, network with peers and mentors, and build relationships that can support your long-term goals.
Live for the journey, not the destination
If something is to last for years, it's important to live for the journey, not the destination. There are no fireworks at the end of a major business goal, but there is magic that lives in the day-to-day that we get to enjoy when we stop to smell the roses. Mastering delayed gratification can be life-changing, and thinking ten years instead of ten weeks is essential to building a foundation for lasting success in business. Remember, business doesn't happen overnight, but with the right foundation, even you can be a ten-year "overnight" success.