“92% of the honeys at UCLA are sexually active…. 92% of girls at UCLA walkin’ around saying ‘Class…or…sex? what shall i do?’ 92% Yo! You know what that means?…….that means i gots the 92% chance of embarrassing myself! You roll up to a shorty say yo baby wassup? she says you don’t know 20 different ways to make me call you big poppa! Cause I dont, yo!”
-Kenny from the movie “Can’t Hardly Wait”

According to Quora,

“Within 3 years, 92% of startups failed. Of those who failed 74%, failed due to premature scaling.”

For entrepreneurs getting ready to make a venture into high-growth startups, the odds are not in your favor. However, a shift in perspective and focus could be a way to improve your chances of success.

One of my colleagues told me a story about race car drivers that could help in the shift of focus.

“Race car drivers take curves at high speeds. If they focus on the road, they’ll make those curves. If they focus on the wall, they’ll hit it… If your mind is always focusing on what you’re trying to avoid or centered on what can go wrong — you’re likely to miss your target. Focus on the road — not the wall.”

Taking this suggestion into consideration shifts focus towards the creation of a plan and focusing on the next step that needs to be accomplished. It is the incremental steps that could get you into the 8% that succeed in the world of startups.

My mentor told me that there is a possibility that you will fail. The first step is to realize that failure is a condition of the game. He said that part of process toward accomplishing this first step is to say to yourself:

“I could fail… It is not about me… How do I win???”

My mentor then went on to ask me:

“What is your in the game milestone? What does it take to break-even? The simple answer is to aim to make more than you spend. Get in the black and break-even.”

The first in the game milestone towards succeeding is to figure out how to break-even! This milestone can be broken down further into finding a viable business model. Breaking this milestone down even further again brings us to the concept of domino milestones. My mentor explained that the milestones towards finding a viable business model can be set up like dominoes with the first domino being:

“Get the first customer!”

Once you get the the first customer, you can set the next milestones as 10 customers, 100, 1000 and so on.

My mentor brought the discussion back to failure being a condition of the game by closing the lesson with one last thought:

“Being willing to fail can make you less likely to fail.”
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