Excuses are useless in the startup world

Some entrepreneurs are in the bad habit of making excuses.  I should know, because I’ve certainly done it before.  But the simple fact is that excuses are useless in the startup world.

We learn about the power of excuses when we’re kids.  A good excuse can keep our parents from punishing us, or get us an extension from our teachers.

Later, if you make your way into the corporate world, a good excuse can remain your friend.  I’ve never worked for a mega-company, but I have had managers and bonuses.  The key to getting a good bonus is the ability to manage upward, and excuses were a powerful tool in my arsenal.

Parents, teachers, and bosses all accept excuses because it’s their job to help you.  Or more precisely, one of the main ways that they’re judged is by their ability to get more out of you.

Once you become an entrepreneur, however, none of this matters.  You’re going to be judged on results.  There’s no such thing as getting partial credit or an “A for effort.”

If an entrepreneur fails to deliver, the only reason I care why it happened is to make sure he or she has learned from the failure.  Don’t waste your time coming up with excuses for your investors–all we want to hear is what you’re going to do going forward.

This post was inspired in part by Dave Gooden’s excellent post on 10 years of bootstrapping:

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