One of the major draws of becoming a startup founder is control. You have an idea that you believe is poised to take the market by storm. By taking the risks, you get to call the shots and decide exactly how that vision will become a reality.
Entrusting your concept to other people can be uncomfortable. Relationships can get complicated, as family law solicitors know very well; it can be a difficult balancing act, especially with high stakes involved. But you have to learn how to effectively work with other people in order to drive your startup to success.
Startup goals are different
What makes a startup different from a big company or another small business? It has to do with the nature of its objectives. Regular entrepreneurs are looking to connect an idea with the right audience. They want to ensure profitability.
Startup founders are after something else. They are pursuing the ideal business model. For a startup to actually succeed, it’s not enough to simply turn a profit. You’ll want to build an operation that is repeatable and scalable.
Of course, short-term success is still desirable; those early returns can keep the business afloat. But the high failure rate among startups can often be attributed to mistakes in scaling. You can’t get ahead of yourself and grow without laying the right foundation for long-term success.
You need to constantly evaluate and tinker with your business model. Even when things seem to be working, see if there’s a better way; ask yourself, if we scale up, does this operational framework still yield results?
Answering these questions isn’t easy. It will require constant and honest feedback. You’ll also need quality input and a variety of perspectives. And the best way to get those things is through assembling a good team.
Founders need to learn
Startup founders who learn are more likely to adapt, making the necessary changes to their business. In turn, startups that pivot once or twice are less likely to make mistakes related to premature scaling. They experience higher user growth rates and raise more money.
You can learn on your own. But your years as a student will probably demonstrate the value of group studying in the academic realm. And when business and careers are concerned, people are more prone to their own biases. Rare is the entrepreneur who can always spot their own flaws or deficiencies, and take steps to self-correct or address the gaps.
Doing things your way and going it alone may seem appealing. But the statistics show that it’s not the way to go; solo startup founders have lower odds of success.
Surround yourself with other people who can voice a dissenting, but constructive, opinion. They could be team members, mentors, or co-founders. Interacting with them takes you out of your comfort zone; it stretches you into learning and growth. And by extension, it will lead to improvements for your business.
Small size as an advantage
If you’ve ever worked at a big company, you’ll have had the chance to observe people fitting into clearly defined roles. Each worker functions like a cog in a well-oiled machine. Big decisions are made further up the hierarchy, freeing up other individuals to perform more efficiently.
Startups don’t have this sort of organizational luxury. When you work with a small team, people need to be ready to pitch in and go beyond their expected roles whenever necessary. Unfortunately, it often does mean that everybody has to work a bit harder and longer than they would in a larger organization.
However, small size can also be turned into a potential advantage. Consider the example of professional sports teams. In a game of football, teams can field 11 players; in basketball, that number goes down to 5. The ability of an individual to influence the game is greater when the team size is smaller. The impact of talent is magnified.
This effect certainly applies to you as a founder; you can leverage your skills and experience in many areas to enhance the execution of your vision. But you can really maximize the results if you bring the right people on board your small team.
Recruiting top talent is always difficult for a startup, but you don’t need superstars. You need people who are versatile, and great at communicating and collaborating. Those same criteria should fit you as well. Embrace that mindset of wanting to learn, being open to feedback, and holding each other accountable. It will create the conditions necessary to eventually arrive at the right business model for your startup to scale and succeed.