Simon, that's a good point. It's true that we tend to think we've been doing this for the last X years, we can't give up now. And indeed, that's not a good enough reason to keep doing what we are doing...
In the early days it's all gut feeling I think, as I've said in another comment you need to ask yourself: "Forgetting everything that has happend, would I start this business today based on the opportunities infront of me?" - it's not perfect but it helps remove the weight of "I've been at this for 2 years, I can't quit now"
I guess that is the hardest question to answer and is a big part of why entrepreneurs need to be stubborn and resilient to wait it out longer than other people would. I think you need to keep asking your self this quesiton "Forgetting everything that has happend, would I start this business today based on the opportunities infront of me?" - it's not perfect but it helps remove the weight of "I've been at this for 2 years, I can't quit now"
This is a great piece, Simon. I love it. You wrote:
I'm not suggesting that you turn down good ideas, good opportunities, or flog a dead business model for the sake of it. But until you have proved whether or not your product has a market, it is best to stick to the plan and be OK with not being quite so shiny and new.
I appreciate the advice above. The next question, though, is how you prove if your product has a market, and to know when to pull the plug. That timing seems so delicate, because it seems to be sitting somewhere inbetween flogging a dead horse (by sticking it out) and suffering from a feature/business model creep (by listening to your investors).
I think you hit the nail on the head with the question of how long to give something before a course change in strategy. How much do you think gut feeling plays into it versus a more rigorous analysis?
Quite agree that startup needs to stickb to the plan. In startup sincethere are less decision makers its very likely to get attracted to something that is not in the plan. Since there are unique challenges in running a startup its good to stick to the plan.
Marc Andreessen said yesterday that to have an idea that will be really big it has to be crazy, otherwise others would already be doing it. The trick he said is finding the one crazy idea among a bazillion of them that has the potential to be big and, as you say, sticking to your guns on it when you get surrounded by people trying to pull it into different directions.