Editor’s note: Jeff LeRose is the founder of Research Triangle Software, which is based in Cary.Starting a new venture is an exciting process.

You have an idea that you believe will change the world, or make lots of money, or provide a great lifestyle.

Without going into the whole process of idea to revenue generating entity, there are clearly many obstacles along the way.

The one pitfall that I have seen cause failure the most is giving up or quitting too early. This is usually (but not always) due to strapped financial resources. Running out of money is usually due to overly optimistic projections as to when the new business will be self-sustaining, or will receive additional funding.

This pitfall in growing your business is preventable.

Many entrepreneurs by nature are overly optimistic. Many investors by nature are overly cautious. Both tend to want to “draw a line in the sand” for how long or how much money it will take to get a new business going.

Usually these estimations are way off base.

Have you ever wanted to try a new restaurant only to have it close before you had the chance? It is not unusual for new customers to have known about a product or service for years before giving it a try.

Obviously the restaurant thought it would be self-supporting in an unrealistic time frame. What does this say about their planning and projections?

This is true in many new ventures. I have seen many plans that show a profit or cash flow positive in a year or less, or at most two years. The reality is that it can take three or four years or more to be self-sufficient. There are of course exceptions, but they usually involve special situations and are not truly new ideas or true start-ups.

So how do you prevent failing by quitting too early?

  • The easiest way is to have a realistic plan and the resources to execute it. This is easier said than done, but it is critical to understand. If you truly believe in a new business, you will ensure that you have enough resources to make a go of it.

  • Spend those resources wisely, and for only what you truly need. They will need to last a lot longer than you think.

  • Double or triple the time you think it will take to get cash flow positive or raise money. Only then will you have a good chance of not having to quit too early.

  • In order to make the idea into reality you must truly believe in it and its potential.
  • “I’ll give it a try,” is not the basis for a good start. “I’ll only do it until it starts to hurt,” is not the basis for a good start. “We will start making money right away,” is not the basis for a good start, either.

    Even if you are lucky and everything goes right, extra resources are never detrimental. They will allow you to do more.

    There is also a real dichotomy, in that quitting too soon ensures the failure of the business, but not knowing when to quit ensures wasted resources. Only a strong belief in your new venture and yourself will give you the fortitude to be sure.

    So some of the keys are:

  • A belief in an idea that is unshakable.

  • A realistic determination of what resources are truly needed.

  • A determination to succeed.
  • Remember: you must be optimistic, but the plan should be realistic.

    Jeff LeRose is CEO and founder of Cary-based Research Triangle Software (www.rtsz.com ), which offers secure and branded electronic commerce solutions. In 1998, Jeff received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Carolinas. He is the former Chairman of publicly traded Internet Commerce Corporation. Jeff received his BA from New Jersey City University.