Important question, but the answer is quite obvious for every wannabe startup founder CEO. Maybe more important is “how long are you willing to sacrifice that?”, for the newcomers at least.
This is from a founder’s experience for three years.
Creating completely new business is like running a 400m race in olympic finals. You just have at least five finals in a row. 1) Idea&pitching&getting funded 2) sales ready product&ramping up company&getting funded 3) creating new market&sales&growing the company&getting funded 4) true international sales&scale-up&getting funded 5) bigger&bigger… and you have to always finish first.
I’ve done my first three races and won. But nobody told me that there are at least five races in a row. Being a three time champion is not an option. You need to get to whole ten figures.
Founders. If you sacrifice everything that actually carries you in your life at first races, you’ll be sure to loose in the fourth or fifth. The first three races are hard, the third victory is the first real one (real cashflow!), but it actually starts with the fourth. Creating a new global business, the fourth, is the first real race that many have tried and failed. (But actually quite few get to the fourth, with hard work and luck I am one of them). Maybe then that 12 years is the median lenght of all five.
Winning is everything, but you also need to win in everything. If you do not have solid foundation under the founder, you will not last another 400 meters when just after previous victory and exhausted you’ll find yourself in the starting grid again without taking a deep breath.
When I found myself in a hospital after working too much, I decided to put more time in the foundation of the founder. And luckily I had the best investors in the world that I was able to make the company stronger.
Solid healthy virtues create solid families where solid founders live in a way that they are able to create solid companies.
Winning is the best. But if you’re ready to sacrifice everything to win, you are building a founder bound to loose in the log run. It is always a long run but it is done in many sprints that make you feel exhausted after everyone.
Have fun at work, exercise, relax with the family and sleep well. Smiling relaxed people get the best customers and keep the best customers happy too.
Because happy customers and constant flood of new customers are the only ones that matter for you to win. At least in my b2b healthtech scene. And remember to treat your team&employees always better than yourself.
This is currently my formula to win. Let’s see what happens with the fourth race. The starting pistol just fired and I gotta get back to work… early in monday morning. :)
Have a nice weekend all founders and co-founders!