February 1, 2024

When Starting a Business, There’s No Such Thing as a “Completely Wrong Decision”

One sunny weekend afternoon, I was showing a visiting Silicon Valley entrepreneur around Taipei.

Not long before, the high-level professional manager he had hired suddenly left the company, forcing him to personally oversee and manage the company’s operations. Now he was getting his first chance to take a well-deserved breather. During the two days we spent together, he told me how he was going to deal with this sudden and unexpected challenge and reflected on the mistakes he had made.

While we spoke, I discovered that I was even more convinced than he was that he would make it through this difficult period.

Perhaps from a consequentialist point of view, hiring a professional manager was a poor decision. But objectively speaking, this entrepreneur seemed quite sensible, making the best possible choices at every stage based on the overall circumstances.

I saw him face the problem with a calm attitude. It was clear that he had carefully devised a plan providing him with the next steps he needed to take. I think this kind of entrepreneurial mindset can help someone overcome any obstacle.

Entrepreneurship is, to a large extent, doing something that no one – or very few people – has done before. After all, every model only succeeds following extensive trial and error. In hindsight, however, entrepreneurs often overlook the constraints limiting their initial decision-making because the end results differed from their expectations. If you think carefully, you will realize that there’s something “right” about each decision if it’s considered in the context of a particular time and place.

Instead of blaming themselves or others, I think it’s more important for entrepreneurs to believe that there’s no such thing as a “completely wrong decision” in the entrepreneurial process. Instead, they should treat each setback as a learning opportunity, refine their approach, and muster greater courage. This will allow them to gradually get on the right track, especially if they practice it in the early stages of their business.

Besides sharing my personal experiences, my biggest secret weapon as an early-stage investor is to provide entrepreneurs with the maximum support and trust. Often, this means I “believe in them more than they believe in themselves.” By acting as their “cheerleader” and a “sounding board,” entrepreneurs can become more resilient and rely less on emotions, helping them better focus on the nature of a problem and how to solve it! I firmly believe in their potential to reach the point where they can make a successful breakthrough!

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