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Why Many Startup Dreams Fizzle

Two things puzzle me about startup planning.

First, in my 15-year experience as a business owner and startup advisor, it seems that 9 out of 10 potential entrepreneurs abandon their startup dreams early. They throw in the towel.

Second, I’ve wondered why most startup training programs breeze over – or exclude – a key aspect of the planning process: the part about personal assessment.

Many of these startup programs do a fine job of helping to identify a business opportunity, or choose a business model, or write a business plan.

But once aspiring entrepreneurs nail these things down — even if they have access to resources — why do they still abandon their plans?

Certainly, there are many reasons.

One of the key reasons, however, is due to a misalignment – a lack of integration and understanding between a person’s personal traits (i.e. strengths, values, interests, life goals, skills, etc.) and the considered business.

Often, at the moment of startup commitment, the would-be entrepreneur feels something amiss. Somehow, the dots don’t seem connected. Confidence slips. Soon, he hesitates and retreats into the job mode.

But what if he could connect the dots to boost his entrepreneurial confidence?

To help connect the dots, Venture Superfly offers a holistic 3-step startup system. We call it WholeVenture Planning. It’s designed to align your life with your idea; and your business plan.

Seeing these dots connected, for the first time, offers new insight and awareness – like flicking on a light switch. Users can gain a profoundly motivating connection between their life and their startup. As a result, it increases confidence, energy and commitment. It offers a startup edge.

When evaluating a viable business idea, it’s important to answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Does it breathe life into you?
  • Will it motivate you after the buzz wears off and issues arise?
  • Does it complement your skill sets so that you can lead others confidently and competently?
  • Is it aligned with your values and desired lifestyle?
  • Do you have the right motives?
  • Will it be a business that you cannot live without?
  • Is there harmony between you and a startup idea?

What do leading entrepreneurs think about an integrated approach to startup planning?

Roger McNamee, partner in Silicon Valley’s Elevation Partners, encourages aligning your business idea with your personal strengths and interests. In this short video, he warns listeners to avoid choosing “the first thing you come across.” Because “after 2 or 3 years you’ll get bored. And then the business will suffer . . . ” He concludes, “the one you do [should be] the one you just can’t let go of.”

According to best-selling author, David Kidder (author of The Startup Playbook), integrating one’s innate strengths with a viable business idea is the key factor for successful startup companies.

According to the accompished entrepreneur Richard Harrington, “you want to have passion before purpose, and purpose before product.”

In your opinion, how important is matching who you are with your startup idea?  Let me know by adding your comments below!

About the author, John

John Benzick is an entrepreneurship coach and the founder of Venture Superfly. He is a Tech Partner at the venture-capital fund of Matchstick Ventures, a Mentor with Techstars Retail accelerator, an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and (former CEO-in-Residence) at the University of Minnesota, and founder and owner in two consumer product businesses. Click the button below to learn more.

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