1. The treadmill test

The treadmill is a fascinating device. You walk on it, jog, run, run as fast as you can. Burn energy. Start panting.

But you don’t move an inch forward. You are where you were right when you started.

As an entrepreneur, chose what you pursue wisely. An idea where hard work and passion moves you forward. To a point where you require lesser energy to move the same distance.

As against, realizing further down the road that you are spending energy that doesn’t make you move ahead.

Fail the treadmill test

2. The Today Test

I spoke about it earlier. Solve problems that are going to be bigger problems tomorrow, not lesser.

Too much time is wasted optimizing for the present, when the same present clearly shows a declining trend.

Building a business around SMS. Really? You think SMS will last tomorrow?

Building an Uber for shipping products? Nice. When was the last time you shipped something to someone? Is it likelier to be a bigger use case tomorrow or is it just today?

Fail the today test

3. The Ostrich Test

I meet entrepreneurs that are clearly working on the wrong idea. And they know it. But they aren’t doing anything about it. You know why.

“Because I have already spent so much time on this”

That is being an Ostrich. With your head in the sand, you are assuming the reality is not staring at you. Time is the biggest sunk cost of life. You should know when to stop, as much as you know when to begin.

Fail the Ostrich Test

4. The Funding Test

It is fashionable to be funded. The press, the facebook likes, the fancy office, the coolness of Economic Times covering you. It is all sexy

It is not. It shouldn’t be.

You didn’t start the business to get funded. You started it to build one. And along the way you just thought its would be super cool to build it on someone else’s money and to not care about profitability. Not care about running an actual business.

Funding doesn’t bring business. It is the other way round. Surprise surprise

Fail the funding test

5. The Company Test

Most entrepreneurs end up building a company. Here is what a company has – it has rules, it has hierarchy, it has restrictions, it has attrition, it has free food as a hook, it has mediocre talent. And it has a founder that still sleeps peacefully at night.

Build an institution instead – a place where people love to come to work. They feel challenged. Beyond a point, they dont realize nor care how much money they earn. They are in it because there is a larger cause they are working for. And the day that cause doesnt exist, they leave. Which is a good sign. Because when people stay despite mediocre conditions, you have successful built a company. Not an instition

Fail the company test