Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that the first step to success is to get started. Yet so many people still feel trapped in the frenetic rush of life, dreaming of a life where they are in charge. But if so many people dream of it, why do so few really take the leap?
Because it’s a huge shock. I took the plunge and gave up my 9 to 5 for 24/7 entrepreneurship. It was far from easy, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made – and if you think about it, I encourage you to go.
Here are 2 years condensed into 5 minutes through 5 key lessons I learned from going from employee # 50,000 in a tech company to running my own tech startup. Hope this helps you start your own journey.
1. The blank canvas: no resources or structure
It’s day one of your start-up journey, and there’s no onboarding plan, no fancy welcome package like the ones you see on your LinkedIn feed. It’s just you and your bold vision to make an impact on the world. You’ll never be at this point just once, so use this blank canvas as an opportunity to design the world your way.
Startups lack the luxury of resources. However, small budgets and a short time are a blessing in disguise because they cultivate original thinking. Not being able to afford the fancy paint decor at the craft store made me think creatively about my 50 cent paintbrush. In fact, my canvas may not even need this brush. Maybe I can settle for nail polish. Thinking without constraints opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
If creative thinking can make up for a lack of resources, structure is crucial. To help me manage my time, I use the Eisenhower Matrix, consolidate data as much as possible (don’t make siled data a challenge tomorrow!), And I use smart tools to work efficiently and build structure. .
2. The importance of goodwill
Where companies don’t need to be introduced, startups need to carefully build their reputation. It starts with saving great experiences. Of course, there are a myriad of ways to do this, but not all of them have to be “high tech”.
My team and I hand write a thank you note to everyone we work with. There are no big or small fish: every customer has the same value.
We’ve also configured it so that users can request new features through a feedback page. Listen, learn and take action. Turning users into fans and then ambassadors has proven to be a great way to build a strong community and create goodwill..
3. I surround myself with people I can learn from
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a multitude of people in the startup world eager to share their knowledge and network. I only needed to ask – and I wish I had known that sooner.
[Read: The secret startup weapon no one talks about: Befriending competitors]
I now have 12 mentors and advisors, and I regularly participate in knowledge sharing sessions with other startups. I’m not afraid to ask for help or ask for advice. Surrounding yourself with people I can learn from is crucial because we cannot do everything on our own.
4. Instead of going into an existing culture, I had to create my own
I have found that it all starts with a strong corporate identity. The culture of a startup is built over time and involves the personalities of the people on the team. Culture implies core values and a clear mission and vision.
Aligning the words and actions of my startup created Minite’s stepping stones. By communicating the values and mission to all of our stakeholders, I make sure everyone is on the same page.
And the great thing about startups is that every new team member or stakeholder has an impact on the corporate culture. It is an eternal fine-tuning process.
5. Business life is comfortable and relatively risk-free – entrepreneurship is not
Risks should be calculated and involve careful planning, even if no the impact of COVID-19 could have been predicted. Yet this strange and unknown area we suddenly found ourselves in was also a catalyst for innovation. While some companies have drowned, others have pivoted.
At Minite, we returned to the drawing board. We spoke with local business owners and students, two of the most affected groups. Based on their feedback, we identified a new opportunity and took advantage of it. We are now going strong even during the pandemic.
Entrepreneurs need to be flexible and ready to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. It’s easy to get trapped in tunnel vision, but letting go of (often imaginary) constraints cultivates creativity and innovation.
And that’s the great thing about startups: they’re skinny. If a company is a cruise ship where everyone on board takes forever, then a startup is like your 5 year old nephew on his shiny little bike asking you to take a ride.
A passenger for years on a cruise ship, I love the agility of a bike. For me, life is meant to be lived in the fast lane, where I will spend the next few decades racing on my shiny new bike, heading in my own direction.
Published March 3, 2021 – 09:10 UTC