I am in a group with six other business leaders. We meet once a month for 5-6 hours. The reason we meet regularly is that we all believe the opportunity to lean into each other, learn from each other, and have some dedicated space where we can discuss what’s working and what’s broken in our personal lives and our businesses is a net positive. It’s that simple and it’s great. Each month we invite a guest to join us. Usually, a gray hair who has been extraordinarily successful in business. We give this individual two hours of our time, half of which they use to tell us their story, and the other half we use to pepper them with questions. Nothing is off-limits. It is a gift.
by Matt Thomas
There is only one answer an entrepreneur will give you when you ask how their new venture is going, “Great!” They may be 24 hours away from missing payroll for the first time, putting off replying to emails from disgruntled investors, struggling with a long sales cycle, and paralyzed wondering whether or not this was a good idea, but ten times out of ten they will respond with optimism and positivity. Ask anyone who has started a business and they’ll tell you, 50% of the game is just staying positive and pushing on. The ones that give up? Well, they weren’t cut out for it in the first place! Maybe. Maybe not.
We all know the harrowing statistics around business failure. A staggering percentage of new ventures will close their doors by year three, and even more by year five. In the startup world, companies are allowed, and even encouraged, to pursue funding round after funding round without any real pressure to turn a profit. Users, revenue, and brand recognition create buzz, but they don’t always translate into a viable business. Entrepreneurs believe that they have stumbled into something special. Something unique, irreplaceable, well-positioned, and right on time. Until things don’t go as planned.