A few weeks ago, Keith Bates wrote an insightful and blunt post about how many startups are nothing more than pop bands looking for “hit singles” as opposed to inventing something new and important.
It was a post I had on my to-do list but Keith did such a good job that it does not make sense to cover the same ground. Instead, I want to take a different approach by putting the spotlight on a topic alien to many startups: patience.
In an instant gratification, give-it-to-me-now, overnight success world, patience isn’t a concept that is embraced or celebrated. Startups that don’t enjoy immediate success when they launch or soon afterward are easily dismissed as yesterday’s news. They get one shot at hitting the mark so if you miss, you’re done…or so it goes.
The reality is not every startup hits it right away. Some take time to mature, evolve, improve and find the right audience, while others have to wait until they’re at the right place at the right time.
In other words, they need to be patient rather than expecting the world to come to their door right away. Patience means have faith in your vision, the problem being solved or addressed, and the strategic and tactical roadmap.
It means having the confidence to not get discouraged when traction doesn’t happen right away – be it users, customers, partners, revenue, investors or media/blog coverage. It also involves having a realistic approach to the marketplace, the competition and what it will take to establish a solid foothold that can be built upon.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for startups to be patient because there’s so much competition and there is a belief that success must happen right away, otherwise you might as well pack it up and go home.
What patience gives a startup is the ability to see things through, stay the course, have faith in their technology, employees and vision, and remain confident their time will come.
Truth be told, it’s tough to be patient. It’s difficult to keep going when things aren’t going well or as well as expected. But patient can be a virtue for startups that know they’ve got a product that will eventually click with customers or users.
For some more thoughts on startups and patience, Max Lynch talks about his experience with Codiqa.