To Learn and Unlearn From the Pandemic: The Journey Of Every Startup Leader
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The term startup came into usage a few decades ago and has become a buzzword. Global players such as Uber, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix have become poster brands for the startup generation. They have made several dreamy-eyed entrepreneurs envision great corporate success stories. However, sometimes entrepreneurs fail to realize that before grasping success, there is the grind of finding the right solution for a genuine problem faced by a sizeable target audience. It is this oversight that causes most startups to shut shop within a year or less of their launch. Truth be told, the journey of a successful startup leader is bound to be full of heartbreaks and failures before success comes calling. Here are some guidelines to help you with your startup journey.
Learn to unlearn
The topmost advice for a startup founder is to be ready to unlearn lessons gathered after spending years in a business school or as a star performer in a company. The experience might help you overcome challenges and failures, but it can’t keep your business immune to it unexpectedly. From bugs in your software and your app crash-landing to investors negating your million-dollar idea, there will be many challenges during your journey—the most recent one being the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is your faith, passion, commitment to your vision, and openness to unlearn what you knew so far and acquire new learnings, that matters.
Like everything else, the pandemic also has two sides to it. One the one hand, it has allowed us to spend precious hours with the people who are of utmost importance to us. On the other, it has made us understand the importance of utilizing our time in more ways than one and doing what we may not have been able to do in a ‘normal’ scenario. To me, this year has been about unlearning old ways and learning newer modes of working, interacting, and doing business.
Know your market
A strong business can be run only when you are well-versed with your target audience. You must undertake research and feedback, observe other businesses and read case studies to find out the needs of your target group. You must know their journey as a customer and their pain points. After you have identified these areas, work on creating a solution that addresses those pain points.
Be ready to fail
Steve Jobs ran Apple for over nine years and made it into a well-known brand before he was ousted from his own company. He failed but didn’t stop. He regained Apple eventually and kept leading the company until his end days. We can go on and on discussing founders of big-ticket companies who failed but persisted and succeeded in the long run.
Get your hands dirty
No startup success story has been scripted by CEOs who simply sat in the corner office and gave instructions. As a founder, you need to lead by example. Be pitching to investors, staying up all night with innovators, manning your company’s booth in a trade show, or making sales trips, there is nothing that should put you off. There have been founders of major retail brands who delivered customers’ orders personally in the initial stages.