*This post originally appeared on my personal blog on Medium*
Last week I woke up to an honest text from a founder who is loaded with principle, conviction and confidence. I asked him if he’d let me share because I believe it’s an important reminder for all entrepreneurs that might need a little nudge on where to focus. The amount of energy and time given to early stage fundraising is not healthy, over celebrated, and distracting from what really matters — customers. And those customers can be your funding, if done right. The text is a glaring display of all that is wrong in startup company building — our best and brightest spend valuable time with investors talking spreadsheets, not with customers delivering value.
"F*ck it — I’m tired of this VC bullshit. Don’t want to do this dance anymore, we don’t really need them. Spent 3 days on the product — we have a really cool feature coming out tomorrow. This is what I do best. Don’t really want to waste another 2 months on this shit. If anything we’ll get a line of credit from a bank.
We also came up with a really good concept today how we can totally disrupt the 800lb gorilla’s business and with the right pricing model dominate the market. We just need to focus on the product now. We are where we are today because I built a great point solution at the beginning and I deeply understood our customers. With all this VC bullshit I lost track of where we are and we started to lose. The best way to prove them wrong is to build an amazing product that everybody loves, not to raise more money."
Solving real-world problems for customers, earning revenue and meeting market demand is what makes or breaks a business. Sustainable, long-term, successful companies are the ones that wake up every morning with this outlook and stay the course.
I grew up in a small business and if there wasn’t customers, revenue and profit, there wasn’t dinner. I feel like it’s time we all get back to these basic business truths. Being an advocate for entrepreneurs in helping them with growth, personally and professionally, is something I plan on focusing on for decades to come. I just really hope the culture evolves.