How to survive today’s volatility? Focus on what you can control

The world seems more volatile than ever before. There’s an explosion in the number of issues, combined with an ever-accelerating news cycle to cover each issue 24 hours a day.

Much of today’s uncertainty can impact start-ups… When will the US government shutdown end? Are we heading into a US-China trade war? Will both of those events trigger a recession after a 10-year economic expansion? And if there is a recession, will there be less venture capital available for start-ups in 2019?

It’s all too easy to lose sleep and get sucked into discussing these issues ad nauseam. But, the reality is that nobody knows the answers. So instead of spending cycles on things that are outside of your control, focus on what you can control.

Everyone is looking for advice for during these uncertain times. The most important thing you can do is to build the best product that your customers love and hence, will be more likely to pay for no matter what the economic realities are. You should also watch your burn rate and the amount of capital in the bank.

For later-stage start-ups, it’s always advisable to have a Plan B on how to get to profitability with existing cash in case funding markets dry up. And a bunch of our portfolio companies went out for their next funding event earlier than they had originally planned, in order to put additional money in their coffers in case the economy turns south.

The bottom line. Don’t get bogged down in predicting things that simply cannot be predicted right now. Focus on what you can control: build the best product you can and watch your cash.

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