Discipline does not always go hand in hand with entrepreneurship. The journey often requires a lot of rambling and instinctive decisions, and the founders aren’t known as a particularly regimented group. But discipline is what it takes to be a tardigrade.
There are three aspects that I would like to explore in this article. The first is to know your no’s, the second is not to confuse activity and results and the third is to discern the important from the interesting.
Know your no
The drums of growth are constantly beating and it is easy to fall victim to them. A tardigrade is resolved. They know exactly what they need to say yes to an opportunity. This applies to retail distribution, e-commerce spending, and even investment. A Tardigrade is ready to say no to a retailer when one of the following is not optimal: price, merchandising or discovery. When the CAC (customer acquisition cost) is too high, or the ROAS (return on advertising investment) is too low, no is Tardigrade’s response to an e-commerce opportunity. The hardest step is to pass on an investment. But a tardigrade does this when the terms are too onerous, there is no alignment, or the fit is just wrong.
It takes discipline to say no, but doing so can be the most important thing you can do to be successful as an entrepreneur.
Do not confuse activity and results
Not to confuse activity with results can be nuanced and difficult. All the entrepreneurs I know are busy. They have a hard time catching their breath and have almost no downtime. But, what if much of this activity is caused by a lack of discipline? This is what I see in most cases. Rather than focusing on results, we fill the time with activities, much of it disconnected from the desired results.
This often manifests as a founder getting caught up in thoroughness, agonizing over a presentation deck, setting up a Klaviyo flow, or getting caught up in an operating problem.
Late entrepreneurs don’t get carried away. They remain singularly focused on results, knowing when to act and when not. It is not activity that gives success; it is efficiency.
Discern the important from the interesting
Closely aligned with the above, the founders of Tardigrade can focus on what is vital to the business, not just interesting. There are a lot of interesting things to explore as an entrepreneur, but there are only a few things that are really important for long-term success. Tardigrades do not suffer from the âshiny stuffâ syndrome. They don’t get distracted by what’s cool; they stay focused on what’s critical. Will this move the needle? Will this change the outcome? These are the kinds of questions you ask them before they embark on something new. They discern the important from the interesting.
Discipline isn’t sexy, and that’s certainly not the reason most entrepreneurs start their businesses. But discipline wins, and tardigrades know it’s true. So take a tardy approach to discipline and you will increase your chances of long term success.
Elliot Begoun is the director of The intertwined group, a practice focused on helping the growth of emerging food and beverage brands.