Chatting with an early founder about his plans to grow his company, I noticed he kept mentioning where the stock market could go if the recent downturn continues and the possibility of a recession in the short to medium term. This founder’s decisions are being affected by hypothetical future scenarios that are out of his control.
I quit my job and went full-time on my start-up just as the financial crisis was kicking into full gear. It was a scary time, but I didn’t let that stop me from pursuing the opportunity I saw in front of me. Because of the crisis, I was able to negotiate very favorable terms I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten and gain access to relationships I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. During all the macro turmoil, I focused on growth. The business grew throughout the crisis, and I felt somewhat insulated from the macro dynamics because I focused on the opportunity I saw rather than the broader doom-and-gloom environment. When the crisis ended, we were in prime position to benefit from the ensuing economic uptick.
While not an ideal time for many, the crisis ended up helping my start-up and positioning us for greater success. If you’re an early-stage founder, be aware of the macro environment and how it could develop but focus more on the things you can control and on creating value by solving a problem. If you do, your company is likely to grow despite the macro headwinds.