Sticking to your plan

imagesIt is hard building a business.  It is hard sticking to your plan.  It is hard to go with a new plan.  I fear it is going to get harder being a founder because the endless supply of capital at perhaps inflated valuations is starting to ebb.  You can just feel is in the air.  It isn’t a bad thing it just changes the game.

I tell everyone these days to figure out how to get profitable.  When you are profitable it puts you in control of your destiny.  You can raise more money or you can just continue moving at the same pace until the ice thaws.  It is about owning your own path.  I am seeing more founders focus on that sooner than later and that is a good thing.

One of the founders I work with just closed on a round after working long and hard at it.   I love what she said to me.  “Being an entrepreneur is like oscillating between terror and euphoria and just getting more comfortable with it”.   This was from Crista Freeman, the founder of Phin and Phebes.

Another founder who just closed a Series C and is finding himself pulling way out of the gate where the other ones surrounding him (some that were much bigger) are beginning to fall hard. He described this phenomenon to me: “We were heads down, and when we looked up, everyone else was gone.” 

I love these quotes from both founders.  It is truly what drives them, the rush, the adrenaline, the agony and the excitement.  That is not going away.  What is going to go away is darts being thrown at anything to see what sticks.  Investors are going to be more thoughtful about all aspects of funding and founders should be more thoughtful about how they can achieve their goals.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan


    1. Gotham Gal


  2. Sebastien Latapie

    Being profitable as a business is similar to being debt free as an individual – simply liberating.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Great comparison

  3. Jeremy Campbell

    Love this post, and those quotes, so true! My goal is to get my startup profitable and then go to investors with a solid product and cash flow, it may be a bit harder as I’m bootstrapping now so it’s quite challenging but I think long term it’s the right decision. I did it the other way around last time with a previous startup and it didn’t work out so well. And that was with family and friends money unfortunately.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Lessons learned

      1. Jeremy Campbell

        That’s absolutely correct!

  4. Dan Wick

    Great post. All rings true.

  5. awaldstein

    Agree wholeheartedly when you are of course at that mature point.Lots of seed startups are pre product, pre plan and pre revenue.They are getting a slew of market fit parameters thrown at them and honestly, it stress inducing, nebulous and just plain tough.Having a strong lead seed investor who can communicate and help sort it out sure helps.

    1. Pranay Srinivasan

      If you’re a seed founder who has to hit product-market fit, find a revenue model, and figure out revenue scale all in 12-18 months on a Seed investor’s money, while building a great team, that can scale to Ser A… You need Joanne.

  6. Susan Rubinsky

    GREAT quotes!

  7. Donna Brewington White

    This is actually an encouraging post. What you describe sounds like a return to sanity, not the dismal prospects that can come to mind in thinking about what is ahead.Being “more thoughtful…” That can only be a good thing, right?

    1. Gotham Gal

      A return to sanity. For sure.

  8. pointsnfigures

    Corollary to this. Seems to be the founders that are on every panel, the founders that get the most press and attention are the ones that fall the hardest. The ones that are quiet and just build their business, the ones that aren’t out for the seashells and balloons are the ones that succeed.

  9. JLM

    .Sticking to the plan is as basic as remembering to breathe.Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, Culture, Business Engine canvas, Business Process grahpic, Dollar Weighted org chart — is easy and, yet, few companies do it.To update the plan takes a few hours every quarter.This is like flying an airplane and monitoring altitude, direction, speed, fuel consumption while following a flight plan. It is how one flies a plane.The best VCs are on this stuff like white on rice.There is no excuse for anyone getting off plan as they continually monitor it. Modify it with real world like adjusting for winds aloft by a pilot.When one comes into close proximity to the airport and switches to the tower for ATC (air traffic control), the tower brings you into the pattern until you are on the runway heading and have visual recognition of the airport.This is what a good VC does also. Gets you aligned to follow YOUR plan.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…