I was recently talking to one of my old friends when he asked me – “How’s the business? Is it growing? Are you getting any investments or acquisition offers?”. It wasn’t one of the awkward questions I face but as usual I ended up lying about the ‘growth of the business’. I don’t know about you, but I often exaggerate the answer to these questions. It is not like there is no growth but the answer to such questions is not often appreciated or reflects the ‘success’. One might argue that what is the point of lying? or is it better to avoid such social interactions. But how long is one going to ignore it? After all you can’t ignore your parents, friends or even your partner for long. You have to eventually face them.
We all go through this situation and yet we continue building the business. Even though there is no ‘visible’ growth or things are bad, we always try to be optimistic about the future. But the most important reason we continue is because we see growth in terms of wisdom which is not measurable in metrics like user signups, traffic or downloads.
Yes, I do agree that metrics of growth plays a crucial role in a company’s success. But true failure occurs when you stop learning. The lessons you learn while building eventually gives you the experience of building a sustainable business. Sometimes you may not learn anything about the business but at least you will understand what you can do. You never know what you are capable of doing until you try it. But what matters is that you are not giving up on learning. Obviously the story does not end at the learning, implementation also plays a crucial role.
Building a successful business is not an overnight dream (which is often portrayed by the media). All the entrepreneurs who are at the pinnacle of success have suffered a lot to be at the place where they are right now. The path leading to the pinnacle is dotted with frustration, agony, betrayal and pain which makes you stubborn and full of wisdom. What you are learning today will make sense tomorrow. So believe in yourself and persevere because determination and persistence is the key to success.
I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb – Thomas Edison
Next time if you find yourself lying about growth of your company, don’t be ashamed. Because you are not alone.