Is your startup bearing the brunt of your shortcomings?Nandini Rathi
Everyone wants to hear about success stories; adopt the traits of successful people, learn from them, to make it big in their lives. But no one wants to talk about the flaws. Remember, the path to entrepreneurial enlightenment too starts with self-improvement. Here are some of the flaws that can be toxic for your startup:
Beware of the Yes men! Enjoy all the perks that come with being your boss except for surrounding yourself with colleagues to massage your ego. To ensure your workforce shares the same vision as you, you need honest people to take feedback not cheerleaders.
Don’t wear “I’m CEO, Bitch,” attitude on your sleeve all the time. Of course, you have the vision and the guts to float your idea and shape it as you grow your business, but there might be times when you can do better with some advice. When you started your business, you knew what you wanted to do. But over time, your efforts might not be going in the right direction. Be open to constructive criticism you’re your customers, stakeholders & mentors. If it’s in the best interest of the company,
Hire people you need, not people you like. It’s been said that people would rather work with people they like than people who are competent. Richard Branson says entrepreneurs may want to stay away from working with friends because, if they don’t work out, it will be difficult letting them go. So, it’s very important to be willing to make tough decisions than worrying about hurting someone’s feelings.
You should know how to distant yourself from your beliefs. Having a tunnel vision is detrimental to the success of your business. Your startup is 100% your idea, but there are so many people who helped you turn that into reality, don’t turn a blind eye towards them. Don’t be rigid & defensive.
Let's confess something here. We all exaggerate sometimes. Entrepreneurs do too, but not at the cost of losing your integrity. Entrepreneurs are not known for their conservative projections. It’s okay to inflate your numbers a bit, but don’t paint a fake picture to your stakeholders. As Dave McClure, founding partner of venture fund and accelerator 500 Startups, says “We hope that entrepreneurs bend the rules but don’t break them.”
Culture can’t be dictated; it has to evolve. That being said, there needs to be set rules in the workplace only then it will percolate down to your team. Like every business has key metrics, entrepreneurs should also define key characteristics to establish company cultures such as honesty, integrity, and enthusiasm. Remember, companies with a great vision, but poor core values won’t go too far.
There’s a thin line between being flexible & flouting deadlines all the time. Failure to meet deadlines on a regular basis can create a negative impression on your team, and they will continue to override the deadlines. And it won’t just cost you money but will create a culture of setting unattainable goals. So, it’s critical to strategize an execution plan, do smart resource allocation, consider implementing systems like Agile & Scrum, to keep an eye on your projects. Invest in a robust reporting framework early on to expose red flags before it turns into a problem.
Do you rely on gut instincts to make business decisions all the time? If yes, then you’re sitting on a catastrophe waiting to happen. If there’s a formula for startup success, it’s the data-driven approach. Startups usually have limited marketing budgets, and though entrepreneurs are always willing to experiment, there’s not much bandwidth for trial & error. It’s crucial to have proper metrics in place to successfully measure your progress towards them.
Having a myopic vision is fatal for a startup. Entrepreneurs start out with a long-term vision, but they often end up focusing on short-term objectives. Especially entrepreneurs who are juggling too many hats lacks focused behavior and are the ones who deviate more towards accomplishing short-term goals without caring for the implications.
Of course, there will be times when you might have to force yourself to look at the short-term picture to earn more customers, fix the leaks, or attract more funds, but, remember that, long-term thinking is the key to success in business.
90% startups fail within two years of starting up. So, make amends before it’s too late. Accept your mistakes and learn from them instead of wallowing in regret.