It's a little-known secret — many Co-Founders typically quit in the first year.
We don't hear these stories because, by the time a startup becomes successful, they are long since written out of the annals of the company's history. If we're a first-time Founder, we don't realize that there's a massive delta between the commitments we make when we start a company and those that we have to maintain as the grind continues.
The problem becomes real when we realize we just gave our "forever committed partner" 50% of the company for what amounted to 5% of the long-term effort required to make it successful. If we had known Co-Founders don't last, we'd have prepared accordingly.
So why don't Co-Founders stick around?
A customer journey map can be an incredibly helpful tool for your business. These maps outline every step that your customer goes through while engaging with your company, from learning about you for the first time to making repeat purchases. A customer journey map helps ensure that your customers are the center of your marketing — it should include touchpoints, frustrations, purchasing motivations, and the like. Creating one can help you identify pain points and keep your customers engaged throughout their buying process.
In this article, we’re going to outline how you can create a customer journey map for your inbound sales funnel.
Before creating your customer journey map, you need to build and defi...
The only way we grow is to bite off way more than we can chew.
There's this notion, however, that the way startups are built is by first building the entire product, team and infrastructure, and then attacking our market. While that sounds fantastic, it's actually not how startups grow.
We grow when we take giant leaps that are way beyond our current capacity and then figuring it out from there. In order to do that, we need to feel comfortable with taking these steps.
The first problem we all deal with is feeling like a fraud. We assume that if we're not 100% ready today, then we shouldn't even attempt to pitch our product to customers or investors. If that were true, startups would never get past a single Founder.
The reality i...
In the moment when our startup ship is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, everyone has jumped on the life rafts, and we're wondering what the world will think of us, what goes through our minds?
Whether we fail or not, we've all run through the same scenarios. The only difference is when we fail for real, we get to see what actually happens. We get to see what kind of support we really have and what people will really think about us.
But what's both sad and comforting is how few people will care at all.
In our minds, we're sitting around thinking that everyone is against us. Every investor, employee, partner, customer, even random people we don't know are sitting around taking turns bashing us. In every one of our soc...
I have a confession — I am in a very unhealthy relationship... with my work.
Here's the thing — I absolutely love my job. I get to sit around and bullshit with Founders all day. This is my dream job, by design. We're normally conditioned to believe that our jobs are some sort of liability that we should try to escape from whenever possible. We want to retire so we don't have to work anymore. I think of not doing my job as Michael Jordan would have thought about no longer playing basketball — it's not how I'm built.
But over time this obsession has created some brutally bad habits that have become a massive liability later in life. Fortunately, I know there are many other Founders dealing with the same issues (because I talk to them all the ...
From time to time I find myself working with a Founder who's in the unfortunate position of having to shut down a startup. It happens way more often than people realize, yet each and every time it leaves the Founder very alone, wondering what the hell they just put themselves through.
They feel dejected. They feel ashamed. They run countless "what if" scenarios that consider what the startup would have been like if they had chosen a different path. In the end, they just regress further and further into a position of failure and all the shitty emotions that come with it.
I only know this because I've done it — it sucks — and I don't wish that soul-crushing epilogue on anyone. What I have learned, however, is that from that pile of rubble the...
"Did you hear about the Founder who sold their startup and 'only' made a million dollars?!"
Ah, the popular refrain of startup haters everywhere when they gleefully recount the supposedly "shitty" outcomes of hard-working Founders. They get almost giddy with speculation. Nothing excites the people who don't start companies more than trying to belittle the outcomes of those that do.
Well, startup haters, this one is for you. This is a not-so-subtle reminder that not only do your opinions not matter — at all — but how wrong your position is, to begin with.
Before we even dig into how wrong their analysis even is, and it's almost always wrong, let's begin with who is even making this analysis. 99% of the tim...
The most impossible task for a Startup Founder is to "invent a big idea."
It's not because we lack creativity, it's because we wind up focusing our energy on the wrong thing. Big ideas, by themselves, are nearly impossible to corral in our minds because they are inherently either "not big enough" or "too big to tackle."
We tend to go about this all backward. We assume that once an idea is incredible enough, it will guide all of our actions thereafter. But that is like putting a map down on a table and saying "We want to go west!" without making this is the most reasonable path.
Any idea can become a "big idea" if you work at it hard enough. What we should be more focused on is a step beyond that — wha...
How much money do we need to be rich?
It's an important question as Founders because our financial goals and appetite for risk are inextricably tied to the decisions we make in building our startups.
The problem with determining what "rich" is to us is that there's rarely a hard limit on how big that number can be. In some cases, we may even feel ashamed to state it out loud, for fear that we're either too high ("you jerk!") or too low ("slacker!").
The thing is — it doesn't matter. In most cases, we're really not talking about "being rich" as a goal, what we're really talking about is being "safe". We want to know that our bills will get paid, our loved ones will get taken care of, and if shit hits the fan (because eventually, it always do...
Being a Founder is a job that anyone can get and no one is qualified for.
My 9-year-old daughter became a Founder last year within 60 minutes of forming her own company online (she didn't even need my help). I'd argue she's about as qualified as most of the Founders I meet at Startups.com, and that's not a knock. It's to say that none of us are "qualified" to be a Founder, not because we're not smart enough, or capable enough, or experienced enough — it's because fundamentally it's impossible to be qualified for this job.
The difference between a Founder leading a startup and a CEO leading an established business is that the Founder has to be there from the start when no one else is there. That means the...