Ah, the startup. It’s a special breed of company that gets a lot of attention (especially in the tech world).
The startup is a magical place. It’s a place where expenses are someone else’s problem. It’s a place where that pesky thing called revenue is never an issue. It’s a place where you can spend other people’ money until you figure out a way to make your own. It’s a place where the laws of business physics don’t apply.
The problem with this magical place is it’s a fairy tale. The truth is every business, new or old, is governed by the same set of market forces and economic rules. Revenue in, expenses out. Turn a profit or wind up gone.
Startups try to ignore this reality. They are run by people trying to postpone the inevitable, i.e., that moment when their business has to grow up, turn a profit, and be a real, sustainable business.
Anyone who takes a “we’ll figure out how to profit in the future” attitude to business is being ridiculous. That’s like building a rocket ship but starting off by saying, “Let’s pretend gravity doesn’t exist”. A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.
So don’t use the idea of a startup as a crutch. Instead, start an actual business. Actual businesses have to deal with actual things like bills and payroll. Actual businesses worry about profit from day one. Actual businesses don’t mask deep problems by saying, “It’s OK, we’re a startup.” Act like an actual business and you’ll have a much better shot a succeeding.