The Refounder’s Dilemma: refound or cut bait?

Refound or Cut Bait?

If you’re a reasonably aware human, you’ve experienced a similar inflection point. Maybe your business was on the edge of insolvency and needed a complete product overhaul. Perhaps your childhood community had fallen on hard times and needed an injection of hope. Maybe your marriage was on the rocks, and you wondered whether you could return to the love you once shared. Times like these beg the question: Should you put in the time and effort to take what’s broken and make it better, or do you cut bait and move on?

The decision to refound or cut-bait is rarely black and white

Is it Worth Your Time or Energy?

Everything comes at an opportunity cost. Pursuing one thing means not pursuing another. In my case, attempting a refounding meant putting an indefinite hiatus on a potential job hunt (a back-up plan), a frightening proposition given my newly-wed status. Still, I’d spent more than a year of time and energy with this little company, shouldn’t I at least consider doubling down?

Do you have a team you can trust?

Refounding is a team sport. If we were going to refound our little company, I needed Chris, and I hope he’d say he needed me too. As I’d come to learn, I would also need our Chairman. And as I’ve studied other Refounders (my nomenclature for those doing the hard work of making broken things better), I’ve learned the same is true in most refoundings.

Is the Purpose and Potential bigger than the Problem?

In the early days of our refounding, it might have been easier to cut bait and look for a new career path. After all, our company’s problems seemed insurmountable. We were buried in debt and had no cash flow. Still, it was the early days of the tech boom, and we believed if we could figure out ways to apply technology to modernize healthcare, we could change the lives of so many and create a successful enterprise.

  • Is it worth your time and energy?
  • Do you have a team you can trust?
  • Is the purpose and potential bigger than the problem?

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Patrick Colletti

Patrick Colletti

Patrick Colletti is a leadership and organizational culture expert, founder of Net Health, champion for “refounders”, and author of the book Refounder.