You Don’t Have Unlimited Runway

Speed matters to a start-up’s chances of success. Let me explain. Most founders have a defined runway, even if they don’t realize it. They have a certain number of months or years to achieve a certain amount of traction (e.g. get 20 customers). If they don’t do it, it’s game over. Think of a plane during takeoff. If it doesn’t reach a certain speed and elevation before the runway ends, it’s in serious trouble. Game over for a founder can mean running out of cash, other resources, or family support.

Getting traction requires work. Founders have to execute. Doing nothing will lead to failure. Founders understand all of this. But what some don’t realize is that speed of execution is equally if not more important. They can take the right actions, but if they’re too slow about it the outcome won’t be what they’re aiming for. Founders have to be aware of time and make sure they’re executing and making progress toward their goals quickly. Otherwise they’ll find themselves staring at the end of their runway.

If you’re a founder, be mindful of how quickly you execute. If you’re not moving along at a good clip, consider tracking it and discussing it among your team.