By Hari Julka
In the early stages of a startup, for entrepreneurs more moments of dejection and rejection appear than successes.
It’s in these times that entrepreneurs need to take charge and revitalise for the battle next day, if they wish to save the startup.
Whether it’s failure to convert a client, investor, retain a crucial employee, manage high burn rate or even mend differences with partners, the battle scarred entrepreneurs need to devise techniques to surmount the early stage failures, for a period of 2-3 years when the startup achieves its escape velocity.
Below are a few techniques that you as entrepreneur can employ to enliven from the low spirits every day.
1. Do have cofounder/mentor: It helps to have a cofounder to talk out the issues or simply celebrate a failure over a beer. If not – then make an employee your pseudo cofounder whom you can use as your sounding board. Venting out all the frustration or dejection on a customer/partner (if you have one) may not always yield positive results. After months of low period, especially if it’s a product you’re building, they may reach their tipping point. And it may not be a good thing for a startup. If you know what I mean 😉
2. Don’t neglect health: Go out and run, jog play sports every day. Make it a routine.
Exercise will keep your body fit and mind sharp to handle the lows which are bound to occur in the early years.
3. Have a passion besides your startup: Do have a hobby or sport – which you love besides building your startup. It always keep you engaged and improves your persona.
You may not progress in your startup – but a hobby – such as music, sports, or even rock climbing can make you feel accomplished and alleviate stress.
4. Keep your family and friends close: They will be your emotional anchor and keep you in good stead. Your business partners and customers may not be there for you for life long especially during prolonged failure, but your family, friends and especially parents will.
5. Rejection is not failure: Often entrepreneurs take rejection too personally. The client may have a different need which you could not recognize properly. Rejection by investors is not – one – if you see in that light. With every rejection, you’ve built a relationship, to sell something else to the client in future.
6. Networking networking: Ever wondered why startups have so many meetups and entrepreneurs just love to hangout there. That’s because at these events they realise everyone else like them, is also in a leaking boat.
Develops empathy and makes them – that they’re not alone in this hard journey. Others too are climbing different mountains of equal difficulty. Besides one can get a prospective client there!
7. Keep friendships alive: Good friends will never ditch you when youre down – an entrepreneurship truly tests friendships.
8. Take a break after a month full of failures: With conversion of neither clients, employees or an investor, you may have something lacking in the product or offering. This is the time you need to take a break. Go out somewhere, to mountains, beaches for a few days and introspect. Life is not all about business. There’s more to it. It will help you develop fresh perspectives.
9. Keep a pet: If possible keep a pet – they have an uncanny ability to sense when you’re down – and may come close and sit beside you – petting them may help you regain your vital spirits -.
10. Watch a movie: In rejections and dejections and code failures, some infusion of inspiration or laughter may be a good change. Do watch one, whenever you can, and take a break from a boring cycle of thoughts overwhelming your mind.
11. Wake up early: Hardly few people on the planet can feel dejected seeing a rising sun. Don’t neglect sleep but try wake up early to catch up the sun.
12. Workout of mind and mody: A good physical workout may drain of all the pent up stress and release endorphins the same hormones. Draining the pent up acids may help you regain spirits to fight the battle again.
It’s said that to keep healthy one must still the mind but move the body. Still the mind with meditation and music. Strengthen it to overcome all challenges. A yoga and meditation class may be a good idea to release all the pent up negativity.
13. Write: Keeping a journal may not only help you but others who might be going through a similar phase in life . How you coped may help others.
14. Count your accomplishments: In past , you might have beeen a CEO of a big company or a Vice president leading a big team, or might have done something in your career or life, which made you proud. A picture of them near your desk may remind you of your true self and things you have been capable of.
15. Engage with a mentor: Mentorship is wisely advised by many who have completed the cycle many times. Having a good mentor is true blessing and keep one even if you have to dilute a 1%-3% equity.
16. A Walk in the woods: A tete a tete with mother nature, will always invigorate and detoxify you. If you live in a concrete jungle, a long drive or a walk in a park, may not be too bad.
17. Have a reliable accountant/lawyer: Often good chartered accountants help clients overcome their bad phases by encouraging them and setting targets for revenues and sales for them, every quarter. They also sound off when the cash burn is high.
18. Philanthropy or community service: If you engage more in community service and serve the have nots, you may feel better. There are many who have nothing but hope to cling on for their daily bread. Helping community or philanthropy will build goodwill as well as score you some ‘karma’ points.
19. Use Social Media Judiciously: As a cofounder, being active on social media will not only help you build a brand for your startup, but also position you as a thought leader on many issues plaguing the world today. Will help build connections.
But there is a flip side too, with negativity and pessimism looming large on many social media platforms, it might be possible for you to get engulfed in that. It could make you lose precious time and mindspace you need to build a business.
Use such platforms only to sell your products and don’t indulge in unnecessary politicking unless a political goals is one of your offerings.
20. Learn the art of focus: As an entrepreneur you might be tempted to make an opportunity from every problem you see in the world.
This might make you lose focus on the core customer problem you are solving and let your competitors take advantage of this weakness of yours. Make your core strength your core business and let other opportunities pass by. You cannot build a large business at everything even though the problem looks enticing enough to solve.
Of course, if you are a big conglomerate with several billions in reserves, you can back several innovation projects together. For that, you need to succeed at one project first.
Hari Julka is a digital marketer and blogger based in New Zealand. He loves to blog on topics such as technology, entrepreneurship, social media, and managing teams in the digital world. In the past time, he loves to practice his nature photography skills.