January 27th, 2020 | By: Wil Schroter
Every Founder feels like their startup must be the one company that is a total shit show compared to how those other startups must be running.
We believe that if we can just get past this next set of challenges, things will finally be smooth sailing.
What we don't realize, especially if we've never done this before, is that the problems never really go away. It's just a never-ending "whack-a-mole" game with different problems.
When we're small and scrappy, our problems are all about survival. How are we going to meet payroll? How are we going to land that one early investor?
They feel weighty and life-threatening — and to be fair, they are. But those formative years are stressful in the way high school was stressful.
At the time, we thought if we could just stop getting stuffed into lockers and made fun of at the lunch table, we would be great. But as we got older, those childhood problems just morphed into adulthood problems like finding a spouse and paying a mortgage.
As we grow, our problems will also just change in nature.
Instead of being able to pay our one employee, we're going to be worried about paying 100. Our challenges of having to do "everything ourselves" will transform into not being able to get anything done as an organization.
While problems don't go away entirely, our ability to manage them changes. Obviously, with more infrastructure, we can better manage customer issues, product ship dates, and basic infrastructure — like making sure bills are paid on time.
With more revenue, we have more flexibility in how we manage our finances, which means even if we run too lean, we can still make some cuts to get things right again.
So we have more options than we did when it was just two of us in a room sharing a Starbucks.
As the organization grows, so does the complexity. And with it, the chaos.
Every time another person enters the organization, the chaos grows even greater, until one day we look back and think, "Remember how awesome it was when it was just the two us just getting stuff done and not having to worry about all of these people?"
It may be hard to see now, but the problems we're dealing with may be the best problems we've ever had.
What Happens After I've Made It? We always dream about our startups making it big. But what happens when they really do? What happens when all of the risks actually turn into the payouts we had always hoped for? Are we actually happier?
What to Expect in the First Year (podcast). As Founders, we think we know how our products and businesses will look and function for years to come, but as with time, it's nearly impossible to expect the unexpected.
Growth Isn’t Always Good. In many cases, our focus on growth runs counter to what our goals really should be: becoming a better startup — not just a bigger one.
Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.