Keep on Trying Until You Succeed

Success has a lot to do with probabilities. Depending on the source, you may have come across figures like 90% of startups fail. Whatever the figure, the fact remains that the probability of success of a startup is dismally small. As a would be entrepreneur, such statistics are depressing. Yet, after reading about monumental successes like Mark Zuckerberg, it would seem that while the success rate may be small, the reward for being successful could be immense.

How then could one increase the probability of success in becoming a startup? The answer would be No!.  There was no way one could increase the probability of success. The probability of success was worked out from the data of startups and finding out the proportion of those which survived after a certain number of years. Could anyone change this figure? No way!

Having said that, what one could do is to increase the chances of one’s success? The answer lies in increasing the number of attempts. If one makes an attempt, then there would be a 90% chance of failure, according to the statistics. However if one makes ten attempts, then there would be a good chance that one of the attempts would result in a success, given the same statistics. However given that the 10% success rate was a probability, there would be no certainty that one would succeed with ten attempts. Still the odds would be in your favor if you made ten attempts as compared with only one.

Therefore the trick would be to try as many ideas as possible to raise the chances of success. There are 2 approaches here. One approach would be changing or modifying the original idea for a startup until it works. While this approach had certain merits, there was a chance of flogging a dead horse. In other words one could end up modifying areas around an idea while clinging to certain aspects of the idea which for whatever reason just could not work. On the other hand, the idea could be sound but the problem lied with its implementation.

The other approach would be to abandon an idea when it did not work out as anticipated. Then to try out the next idea and so on. Each idea could be drastically different from the previous one. Therefore this approach had the advantage of trying out different types of ideas. It avoids the problem of flogging a dead horse mentioned earlier. However the disadvantage of this approach could be that one of the ideas had merit and required some modifications. However it was dropped when it did not work out the first time. Given sufficient time and effort, the idea could have worked.

Both approaches had their pros and cons. One would need to make a valued judgement on each case. In  any case, the chances of success could be increased by trying out more ideas.

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