What do you do when things don’t go as per plan?

One of my favourite things to say about startups. Is things sometimes go from bad to worse. And then things get even worse. Some one recently asked me what do you do when things go from horrible to more horrible. Thats what not i meant. I think there is a difference between worse and horrible.

But. Anyways.

Severely horrible & impossible things happen during the startup journey or in a car accident.  Both sometimes on the same day. And thats the beauty of it. You live and you learn. You make mistakes. The only mistake you don’t make is of not making any mistakes.

Insaan aage jaane ki koshish nahin karega, to lad khadayega kyon?

So here is my answer.

#1 Pray. I am serious. If you are a religious sort of person. Pray. Else, find something to hold on. It WILL get worse, and you better have something to hold on to. Your family, your friends (!), your passion (outside of the startup!).

#2 Be open. This could have been even worse. I once read somewhere that any startup is two phone calls away from shutting down. Are you still in business. Ok. Then its only one phone call. Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Accept the rest.

#3 Reassure you team. We will get through it. No matter how bad the severely horrible & impossible thing is, there is a way out. They need to keep their focus on the “North Star”. You can fight out the severely horrible & impossible thing

#4 No matter how bad the severely horrible & impossible thing is, guess what? You are not the only one going through it. Senior Management quit on you? Funding dried up? Investors pulled out at last minute. Customers bailing on you. Bad press. Competition playing unfair. There is someone (and maybe a lot of others) who is going through the same exact severely horrible & impossible thing. Talk to other founders.

#5 Do NOT quit. Stick around. Once you are in the severely horrible & impossible thing, the best thing is to stay still.Look at ipage Keep your head above board. Think about how you will pull things through. Its easy to start thinking about quitting. The only way you can get out of this severely horrible & impossible thing is to make sure you make the decision to come out of it. And take your team out of it. No quitting. Period.