“Startups feel so much pressure to be instantly successful. I once told the founder of a business-to-business software as a service company that if he signed up a single paying customer in the first 30 days, he would be doing very well. Sure enough, it took even longer than that to get to the first few paying customers.
Many startups run out of steam before they run out of cash. It takes time to build significant revenues — 18 to 36 months isn’t uncommon. The accelerator culture suggests that startups can be ‘crushing it’ and ready for demo day and investment in 90 days — that’s so rarely the case.
When you’re ready to make the leap as an entrepreneur, plan to spend 24 months on the project, full time. You might need to raise more money than you thought. You might need to take the sales you can get — even if they aren’t perfectly aligned with your vision for the business. You will definitely need to be consistent, determined and patient.”
Jenn Lynch is a venture partner at the Portland Seed Fund
Where They Are Now
Since we profiled this Hood River events startup in September 2013, Global Sessions has ramped up its employee and executive leadership offerings. Corporate clients — including Nike, Tillamook, INSITU, Dave’s Killer Bread — can choose from three-day leadership retreats, Archery Tag tournaments, high-tech urban scavenger hunts and customized lawn games.
To “walk the talk,” Global Sessions also initiated a “Freshy Friday” program for employees in the winter and a “Windy Wednesday” program in the summer, co-founder Matt Sweeting says. “Whether it be skiing Mt. Hood, kite surfing the Columbia River or a much-needed yoga session, team members can start late or leave early to make sure they get their fill.”
Imparting a lesson learned, Sweeting says communication is the small-business owner’s single most important skill. “If you can’t communicate your vision to your team, if you can’t communicate your passion to a client, if you can’t communicate your figures to an investor, then you will be left a sitting duck.”
Global Sessions co-founder Aaron Sales in 2013.
Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life and Business with Asperger’sBy Joe Biel
The owner of Portland-based Microcosm Publishing
describes his struggle with Asperger’s, along with his quest to blend underground punk rock music with book publishing. The memoir is a window on the worlds of autism disorders and Portland’s underground zine scene. It includes a foreword by Sander Hicks, founder of Soft Skull Press
, and an introduction by Joyce Brabner, co‑author of Our Cancer Year