For a startup, the journey is the destination
Entrepreneurship is a long journey. In fact, it is a lifetime in itself.
It is a passion filled journey at that. From the initial start to the end (if there ever is one), the entrepreneurship journey involves the strongest of passions-- passion for the idea, the startup, for the team and most importantly for its existence and in the worst case its survival.
However, this very passion sometimes becomes an obstruction to what an entrepreneur does, because passionate about the survival and existence of the startup he/she starts chasing economic metrics and goals which would help prove that the enterprise is growing. When he/she should have been focusing on the journey to solve a problem, he/she ends up crunching numbers and the quarterly bottom line instead.
It is definitely commendable and necessary rather to keep sight of the economic metrics which would define the subsistence of the enterprise. It would be mere proverbial gyaan to say it is not.
However, it is equally reproachable to just keep that in mind and in the plans, because then the focus ultimately shifts to just achieving ends. The problem, your concept solution, in short the very passion which led you to start dies out.
At FindYogi as we evolved and learnt over a year of our existence, we have realized that while economic metrics are important growth terms, they themselves aren’t what will help the enterprise subside over the times and evolve into the vision we have. As we progress on the pathway of being an enterprise, the catalysts of the journey turn out to be more important and logically so.
Let us just consider the alternate cases of the following:
1. The team & the future team: It is really great when you have a great team which can take on any task impeccably and deliver upon the odds. However, a team as such needs to be developed as a part of the dream and the journey towards it. Every day you need to learn to share accolades and brickbats alike with the people who are at the core of what you do. If not and you start treating the team as a dispensable instrument which attains targets alone, your days would be numbered. On a bad day you are then bound to be left alone as you never had a team, you had efficient instruments alone. And let us face it, however good you might be, you are never too good to do everything!
2. The people (your audience): Startups start to solve a problem or bridge a gap with an audience. And in this cycle they try to attain their existential revenue, profits etc by going through a cycle which says your problem, our solution and we earn something. Change this sequence to we earn, our solution and your problem, and you could say adios to your audience. And now imagine this: we earn, our solution! Imagine a solution without an audience, and then try earning from your solution. Definitely impossible one would realize.
3. You yourself: Any entrepreneur would testify that when he/she started it was with the clear intention of doing something for the better. Yes, along the pathway term sheets, quarterly earning reports do create a muddle but imagine yourself without the clear intention of the beginning. You would eventually realize you are no longer creating a dream but an operation instead. Because somewhere along the way you lost your self and so your dream (the base of your startup). And let us face it there are no buildings without a base.
4. The start: The start of anything new is always fresh and that is why it gets more traction than stale efforts along the way. And if instead of the start your focus is more upon the ends, then unfortunately the enterprise will be nearing its end. With the ends in mind you will be working on optimizing processes to get to the ends, but not on the value chain of the start. Iterations are always necessary, but an optimization driven process without the freshness and the value chain of the start donot carry any meaning as your startup, the journey and the destination even are all based upon the value of the start.
Once we consider these it is evident that while the destination is important, the journey of a startup is actually its destination. Because it is along this journey that a legendary team is formed, people are overawed by the value the startup brings and an iconic founder and a leader emerges. In short the stuff of startup folklore arise as such.
It is worth remembering that any of the iconic companies that stand today, only do so because they had a strategy mix of the above four components. Other processes followed, but the core has been this mix.
This is because at the end of the day, with a startup and maybe even in life, the journey is the destination, and the destination just another milestone.
About the Author:Rupam has been working with FindYogi since its early days, and works on multiple areas, including human resources, marketing and anything else that he can lay his hands upon. He is passionate about startups, setting things up from scratch and rants about everything he felt he has learnt along the journey so far. He can be followed here.