By Lee Sharir, Co-Founder & CEO of Relyon
Gut feelings are subtle and can be difficult to recognize early on in the entrepreneurial journey. In the past three years since starting my entrepreneurial journey, there have been many situations where my gut feeling was telling me something, but I didn't pay much attention to it from the beginning.
The reason is clear - many times, not listening to my feelings seemed like the right thing for the business:
(Not) continuing with certain co-founders because the business might face closure.
(Not) hiring a specific employee because they have a good reputation and great experience in the industry.
(Not) investing time in resellers whose field doesn't align with our company's values.
(Not) entering into a business partnership because they seemed like the best option for securing funds for the company.
All the relationships I mentioned were professional - partners, investors, employees, potential resellers. However, the failure of these relationships took a toll on me personally because, in the early stages, it's challenging to separate the business from yourself.
In cases where I ignored my gut feelings, I expended a lot of energy, paying a high personal cost until I reached the limit of my ability and had to do hard stop to the relationship.
At this stage, it becomes more difficult, longer, and sometimes even too late, because beyond the emotional price, there can also be a practical cost that is detrimental to the company in the long run.
Continuing with less-than-ideal partners or employees, investing time in people whose values you don't believe in, or persisting in business partnerships or investments that raise red flags might lead to legal troubles, wasting time on irrelevant side pursuits, and burnout.
A few points to consider when evaluating such relationships:
1.Examine why you're interested in the relationship - is it a "no choice" situation, or a genuine desire to embark on this journey together?
2.Observe how you or your surroundings behave in the presence of that person/people - is there a positive atmosphere, chemistry, freedom for everyone to express their opinions?
3.Discuss legal terms early on - see if someone from either side is pushy or aggressive and draw conclusions about the future based on that.
4.Always ask for recommendations and talk with other people that have a real experience with this person.
5.Consider whether working with that person every day would bring you joy or if it's a thought that drags you down and hinders your motivation.
Remember, the business is you, and you are the business. Despite the willingness to "sacrifice" for success, if you wake up in the morning with a lack of motivation, there's no chance for the business, especially in its early stages, to progress.