In our editorial guidelines, we explain that SmallBusiness.com does not cover startups or news about venture funding. We explain it this way, “Personally, we love news about startup companies and the money they raise. But that’s not what SmallBusiness.com is about. We focus on small businesses that are small businesses, not startups. Sustainability, not funding, is the goal of the vast majority of small business founders. That’s the topic we cover.” That said, there is one venture capitalist whose blog I follow each day, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. And while I’ve never quoted him on SmallBusiness.com, I am constantly influenced by his insight–and wisdom. While many VCs seem to have a herd mentality, Fred, and Brad Burnham, the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, have been out-front and prescient in their investment decisions.
“Starting is easy. Finishing is hard.”
Union Square Ventures
From the AVC.com Blog post, “Starting is easy. Finishing is hard.“
Starting a company has gotten much easier over the past decade. The capital requirements to get started have come way down in both software and hardware businesses. The supply of seed and venture capital has increased dramatically as well. And there are all sorts of programs aimed at helping entrepreneurs get started.
All of this has caused a rapid expansion of entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation. This is all great. The one thing that has not gotten appreciably easier in the last decade is finishing. Finishing can be anything that ends a startup project. It can be an M&A exit, becoming a sustainable business, becoming a public company, or it could also be failing and shutting down.
None of those have gotten easier in the last decade….And so entrepreneurs and the investors who support them are back to grinding it out, trying to get to the finish line.
And, for many, that finish line feels like it is moving farther and farther away every step you take. Startups are not for the faint of heart, both on the founder and investor side. It takes great tenacity to see things through. And I think that may be truer today than ever.