Many define “the struggle” differently during different phases of growing a startup. The truth is it can be different for each person – and it frequently is. In fact, the trite and tidy infographics that float around the internet describing the “phases” of growth for a startup never really fully capture the non-linear experience of a Startup CEO.
The Founder & CEO I spoke with has a lot going for her. She has a product and service that customers pay for. Check. She has customers willing to pay a subscription for an ongoing relationship. Check. She has a relatively low amount of debt. Check. And, she has retained a large portion of the company’s equity. Check.
So, what’s the problem? She has been at it for about four years and has not been able to grow it fast enough to build a team and scale more quickly.
What’s the barrier? Her customers want her to make a tweak to the software that costs a large amount of money that she does not current have.
After working through the scenario with her and coming up with some courses of action, it came down to her. Her will. Her will to continue. Her desire to keep at it. Her underlying motivations to get to the next level.
We’ve all been there. Right?
It’s pretty common for well meaning mentors, advisors, VCs, and former founders to tell her to “remind yourself why you started.”
I am not against this advice. It’s just that I think we need to leave a bit more room for the changes that occur to us along the way. Our original motivators for launching our startup may morph, deepen, and possibly even recede.
Therefore, revisiting your “Why Well” is super important. I would like to remind you that it’s ok to recognize that your “original why” may need to be redefined. And, that’s just fine…maybe even critical.
It was clear to me that the Startup CEO I spoke with this past weekend became animated, excited, and more committed when we reframed her “new why” in a way that was timely and more relevant to her life and business. She was refueled.
Do you need to redefine the elements of your “Why Well?”