14.08.2021: Blog |

Startups require true grit.

Startups require true grit. It is not a secret that startups are challenging, and the rate of failure is incredibly high; some 90% or so fail. So how do I carry on with odds stacked against me? And what helps turn the odds in your favour a little a bit?

1. Embrace the suck. Yep, you chose this situation; you can “unchoose” the situation if it is that bad, so take it all in and accept that things will be tough for a while.

2. Celebrate all the little wins. One of my board members stopped me mid-sentence a while back and told me to acknowledge what I was saying. I dismissed a significant success (getting a customer testimonial on video) as something trivial, and he made sure we gave it, and other wins the recognition it deserved. You have got to celebrate every little win.

3. Empathise as much as possible. Everything is magnified in a startup, what people say or do, how they say it, and when. Putting yourself in the other person shoes will always help your cause, whether with colleagues, customers, investors and or suppliers.

4. Calm is contagious. When the ship is on fire, and it’s starting to sink, a captain that’s running around arms waving is just going to kick off mass panic. If they’re calm and in control, then the folks around them will be too. Being calm under pressure is not easy, and I’ve learnt from previous experiences with others that wild emotion is your enemy. Emotion is good when telling stories, but operationally it’s always best to be a duck on water. If this is a challenge for you, simply practice “active listening” until you’ve got all the facts about your situation, then pause before acting.

5. Go with your gut. You’ll make countless decisions in a startup, big ones and little ones; some will offer perfect outcomes, others will punch you in the face. Most of these decisions will not be analytical. You most certainly won’t have tons of data to help you decide. Trust your instincts, it’s your business, your vision, and your voice in your head generally won’t fail you.

Surviving the early startup days is really about perseverance and a bit of emotional intelligence, folks. Of course, lean on your advisors and your family, but most of all, trust yourself and your ability to make stuff happen.

#startup #motivation

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