There's a huge difference between founding a company and working for a corporate giant. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to making decisions, says Silicon Valley veteran Steve Blank. The choices that you have to make are fundamentally different at a startup, he says, given that you don't have the wealth of data to base them on that you would at an established company. 

In a video interview with Inc.'s Allison Fass, Blank explains that entrepreneurs must constantly make two different kinds of decisions: ones that you can go back on, and ones that are permanent. He cautions founders that these decisions can make or break your company. "If you're operating the same as a founding CEO as you were as a product manager at a large company, you're going to fail," he says. 

Revocable decisions, such as setting prices or choosing the order of features, should typically be made as soon as the questions arise. Irrevocable decisions such as taking a round of funding or signing a 5-year lease, however, require a lot more thought. And if you have investors, you need to inform and/or consult them ahead of time.

Few people have had the necessary training to make either form of decision effectively. Ultimately, Blank says, the people best prepared to lead business ventures are platoon leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. "If any of those guys are doing startups," he says, "I want to invest in them."

For more of Steve Blank's take on resilience and decision-making, watch the video below.

Published on: Mar 19, 2015