On June 10th, 1982 the English punk rock band The Clash released their namesake No. 1 hit single asking the age-old question “Should I Stay or Should I Go”.
In many ways it is the same question startup founders all over the world ask themselves from time to time: Should I continue to work on my startup or should I give up?
The other day a founder posed this exact question to me. I doubt anybody, other than the founder herself, should answer that question. Instead I left her with three questions to ponder:
(1) Do you have ideas on how to move forward?
The typical reason why a founder is asking the existential question of her startup, is a lack of product/market fit. Now, that is not unusual. My friend and founder of Matter VC, Corey Ford, keeps talking about the startup journey as the “drunken walk of the entrepreneur”. The question is: Do you have (good) ideas on how to move forward, explore and learn — with the aim to get you to product/market fit. Sometimes the answer is: No.
(2) Do you have the resources?
Once you can answer the first question satisfactorily, the second question is equally as fundamental. You can’t build anything without resources (as sad as this sometimes can be). Do you have (enough) resources left for you to focus on your startup and give it the attention it requires.
(3) Do you still believe/have the energy?
Lastly a startup lives off of the energy of its founder(s). Without you truly believing and giving it all the energy you have, your startup will fail.