- "Declare Victory! And then you have 180 days to do it."
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
I didn't come up with that. It was a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley that shared that with some of her potential portfolio companies. I, on the other hand, share that a lot with entrepreneurs I work with. And mainly for three reasons:
Firstly, to encourage you to share what you are working on with the world. Declaring victory doesn’t mean that every bolt and button is ready to be shipped. Instead, it signals, “This is what I am doing – and I intend to do it much, much better than any other. This victory is mine!”
Secondly, to get you to understand the value of the 180 days, i.e., the value of time scarcity. For almost any business idea that I come across, a similar one pops up on my radar a few days, weeks, or maybe months later. I don’t know why, but it seems like the same idea is conceived at pretty much the same time, in different locations around the globe. Anyway, time-stamping your execution is essential. When that is done, you must try to live up to your good intentions. You can't call dibs on the idea forever!
Finally, the future – where you have developed and shipped a beautiful product or a fantastic experience – is not “waiting out there.” You make the future happen with your combination of well-articulated Pain, Painkiller, Customer. Sometimes that means that you need to:
Educate your market that you will make something happen. You have to make the market aware of and feel the Pain.
Out-compete companies in an existing market space by, e.g., introducing a new solution, a new way of acquiring and keeping customers, how you deliver the solution, or how your business model works.
Introduce new customers to your market space. Those new ones interest me as they are the ones that, for one or another reason, haven't been participating in that market before. It could be that they up until you came about, they couldn't afford it, or it could be that they haven't had access to that particular space (not the right infrastructure, not the right climate, etc.).
So, I repeat, you make the future happen! Sometimes I use the comparison with a pair of binoculars to explain what I mean; it is not the case that the entrepreneur who has the best binoculars wins, i.e., the advantage is not in having a way of seeing far, far into the distant future. Nope, it is about being brave, insightful, and convincing enough in bringing a brilliant combination of a well-articulated Pain, a defined Painkiller, and a set of potential Customers together into an opportunity that enough people will be excited about, or at least sympathize with.
OK, so what would I like you to remember from above?
Well, dare to declare victory, talk endlessly about your business. Jokingly I tell entrepreneurs that they should speak so much about their business so that they are not invited to have dinner with friends anymore. When that happens, you know you have spread the word ;-).
Furthermore, set deadlines for what should happen and when. Remember that there is more than one deadline, which means that you don’t have to bring the best, most attractive solution to the market in the first one. Give yourself plenty of deadlines and get your solution slowly but surely to your customers’ hearts and minds.
You create the future, for yourself, for your customers, and all other stakeholders. Dare to answer the question about what the future of the market space will look like by saying: “It will look like what I want it to look like.” Right there, you start declaring victory.