If you’ve run a startup and had never had the experience of nearly running out of money… you are a magician planner or incredibly lucky.
Nearly every entrepreneur I know has been in a situation where they were days or weeks from running out of runway.
At Tonic Health, part of R1 RCM, in our second year, we were out of runway for more than 10 days. We had cut founder salaries to zero, stopped paying all bills, and had to figure out how to convince our small engineering team to stay with us and keep building the product without pay.
How did it happen that we nearly ran out of cash? Same old story for most Seed-stage startups. Our traction wasn’t quite there to give our investors the confidence that we would eventually win.
But we believed that meaningful traction was just around the corner. And we made plans to run on fumes even if we could not secure the funding now.
And then a miracle happened. CNET or some other TechCrunch-like outlet of 2012 ran an article about a pilot we were running at Georgetown University Medical Center. There was a quote from a c-level exec that made it clear that our product was mission-critical. Within a day, investors who had been sitting on the fence had wired us money and we quickly put together a Seed round.
The thing that I remember clearly was our conviction that what we were doing was so important, and would work that we were willing to run on fumes. It’s that willingness that signals to your team, investors, your customers, and most importantly to yourself that you will be able to give it your all, no matter what, that gives us the will to win.
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It took me more than 35 years to figure out how to do the best work I could possibly do.mile 13
I learned to dive in head first into things I know nothing about (even if it risked my life).mile 12
We want a role model, not a leader who mocks us or tells us we need to toughen up.mile 11
I knew nothing about business. I was twenty-two years old, with questionable ethical judgment and barely a year of real-world programing experience…mile 10