The start-up phase is often one of the most difficult phases for entrepreneur as they often try to gain market knowledge while trying to meet sales goals. You know you should gather market data, but you often have limited cash, you are the chief cook and bottle washer, and you need to make sales to fund your future growth.
Start-up leaders need a strong emotional intelligence as many days you feel like you are; wiring a house with the power on and you keep getting emotionally zapped.
A number of years ago my wife was redesigning our upstairs bathroom and asked I change the electrical outlets from a cream color to a solid white. So we turned the lights on in the bathroom and I went to the fuse box and flipped switches until the bathroom light went out. I started to remove the outlet and saw a small spark. I thought to myself…”That’s odd as I know the electric power was off…” (My perceived truth) so I continued removing the old outlet. Zap! Next thing I knew I received a shock that sent me up against the wall and I fell into the bathtub. I latter found a new truth…the lights were on a separate circuit than the outlets so I was trying to change the outlet with the power on.
One of the most exhilarating as well as frustrating things you can do is launch a start-up company. Like I discussed in a previous post you feel like a plate spinner with more to-do’s than hours in a day. I go on to discuss how we can’t let the most important plates drop. I have discussed in earlier blogs how 2/3 of start-ups fail within 18 months. The main reasons we are all aware of for start-up failure include;
run out of cash
lack of a market driven plan
if you have a plan, your sales expectation is too high, too soon
if you have a plan, you have an unrealistic understanding of the buying process and cycle
trying to sell the need for a product you launched because you could and not because you should
market is not large enough
customers do not want to pay to solve the problem you solve
Assuming your product and or service solves an unmet need, and you have a large enough market who are willing to pay you to solve their problem, the real danger for entrepreneurs is getting zapped by stress during the start-up season of your business..
To keep you from getting emotionally zapped from stress during the often hectic start-up phase, there are five key Biblical lessons I learned from a sermon recently.
1. Don’t wear yourself out – build the discipline to determine what is important, urgent, and focus on what is :urgent and important
2. Don’t shut out others – the reality is you can’t do it alone. Now more than ever you need your network, family, and friends
3. Don’t just focus on Negatives – that’s what market losers do. Keep your eyes on the prize and look for bright lights of opportunity as you launch.
4. Focus on your physical and Spiritual health – far too often those mounting to-do’s make us drop or delay other key areas of our lives. If necessary put time on your calendar for your fitness and faith.
5. Anxiety and fear are the product of looking back or too far into the future , focus on what is in front of you now, and leverage what you have. The quickest way to stop creatively solving roadblocks is to become fearful.