The very nature of a startup means entering often unchartered waters to find the most appropriate, scalable business model as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this, it requires a mindset and set of behaviours different to those that you’d traditionally find in an established corporate business.
Founders need to be deeply passionate about their idea. Teams need to be driven and empowered to act fast, fail and move on. And everyone in the company needs to be able to think outside the box and stay motivated.
Nowadays, a lot of bigger businesses are looking to startups for inspiration and using their methodologies to revolutionise how they operate. So, we thought we’d take a look at what a startup mindset looks like.
What is a startup mindset?
The startup mindset is based on a 3-step principle: Build. Measure. Learn.
This process is a continual loop that allows your business to innovate by learning fast and incorporating knowledge that you gain from each iteration of your product or service.
You create the minimum viable product (MVP) based on a set of assumptions to satisfy initial customer needs and generate feedback to incorporate in the next round.
Once you’ve launched the MVP, you measure the success of the product/service against your initial assumptions. It’s important to establish a clear way of measuring this performance so that you know what success looks like.
In the final stage of the process you can choose to accept or reject your initial hypothesis, based on what you’ve learned. At which point the loop starts again and you build the next iteration.
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Push the envelope
Successful startups challenge the norm and push boundaries in order to reach new and exciting achievements.
Words you should never hear in a startup: “Just do it like this, that’s how we’ve always done it.”
Words you should definitely hear in a startup: “How can we do this better?” and “What do consumers actually want/need?”
Innovation requires constant curiosity and an eagerness to challenge the status quo. And that’s exactly what startup life is all about. It’s often fast-paced with a clear mission and a willingness to fail fast and move on.
You’ll need to ask a lot of questions. And when you find answers to those questions, ask more. Use this constant learning as fuel to iterate and refine processes to become as lean as possible. Be ready to take risks, change and adapt – and do it quickly.
Make room for mistakes
One of the key pillars of a true startup mindset is the ability to make mistakes and learn from them quickly. Startups often go through numerous iterations before they find their scalable model, and it takes failing fast and learning to get through those iterations as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, as a startup, you’re not looking to recreate an existing market solution. You’re looking to innovate and make something better. That means you need to create something that might potentially fail at first, and that’s part of the process.
Traditional corporate environments usually require you to prove something works before you can test it. Not in a startup. In fact, it’s the exact opposite when you’re innovating.
By creating your MVP and constantly iterating, you’ll learn a lot. And even after you have a viable product that you’re happy with, many startups continue to iterate and streamline the process to become even leaner and more efficient.
One of the key pillars of a true startup mindset is the ability to make mistakes and learn from them quickly.
Trust your team
One of the most common mistakes made by startup Founders is wanting to control everything. And we get it. It’s your dream and your passion for it is immense. But that doesn’t mean others can’t share that passion.
Trust is one of the most fundamental aspects of building a successful startup. If you’re going on this adventure into the unknown, you need to trust those around you.
Embrace the startup mindset by trusting in your team and being prepared to fail and learn together. Hire smart and then let your team do what they do best. After all, your to-do list will be long enough without adding extra work to the pile.
If you’re going on this adventure into the unknown, you need to trust those around you.
“I’ve always been a bit of a risk taker. Willing to roll the dice and try achieve the next thing – does that sound familiar? I dare say if you’re reading this post, you’re probably a risk taker too.
Just remember, making mistakes is OK – it won’t all be plain sailing. Keep building, keep measuring what you’re doing and above all, keep learning”.
– Eddie Whittingham, FounderRead more
Be ready to change
If you’re not comfortable with change yet, you need to get comfortable with it. Yesterday. Establishing a successful startup involves reacting to changes in the market, embracing new technologies and listening to feedback.
In order to innovate you need to have your finger on the pulse of the tech world, and understand the current (and even future) needs of your customers. As the world advances, so must you – or risk being left behind.
Make flexibility one of the key pillars of your culture and be ready to adapt and evolve, so that your business can pivot according to change.
Promote constant, open communication within your team. Discuss ideas, setbacks and challenges. Question everything, and listen to the answers. Then take action. Startups that adopt this kind of behaviour are quicker to identify hurdles and better equipped to overcome them.
Make flexibility one of the key pillars of your culture and be ready to adapt and evolve.
Expect the unexpected
Startup life is full of uncertainty. And that’s part of the thrill. You’re doing something new and different. You’re disrupting the market and challenging the way things are done. That takes determination and an openness to deal with the unexpected.
A successful startup Founder sees uncertainty as an opportunity. Where other business owners see uncertainty as a threat, you see endless possibilities.
Where other business owners see uncertainty as a threat, you see endless possibilities.
Adopting a startup mindset means focusing on the here and now, not worrying about what tomorrow will look like. Don’t get distracted by worrying about the unknown, use your curiosity as motivation to learn and be ready for a lot of lessons.
Whilst your business plan may have highlighted a number of risks, they shouldn’t be your focus. Instead, use them as part of the equation and build them into your hypothesis. Then let the feedback cycle do the work. Build, measure, learn.
Check out our other articles for more tips, tricks and advice to help your startup succeed.
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