Many founders become so enamored with their businesses that they lose sight of the very customers they want to serve. They seem to forget that customers have the ultimate say as to whether the businesses lives or dies. Instead of confronting these unknowns head-on, they postpone or avoid the tough conversations. It’s understandable – grappling with reality is scary, and means that you might have to admit that you’re wrong.
Don’t fall for your own sales pitch. You have to be honest with yourself – will people really pay for what you want to sell? Is the market big enough to make it a real business? Are you the person to pull it off? Ask the tough questions and don’t take anything for granted. One of the best ways to do this is to list your key assumptions and share them with your advisors and partners. They will challenge you to ensure that you’ve covered all of the potential pitfalls.
Webvan burned through $1.2 billion dollars before calling it quits. Don’t be afraid to find business-killers, as it’s better to find out early and adapt or move on than to waste your time and life savings on a pipe dream.