Your Startup's Core Philosophy Is The Secret Weapon For Long-Term Success
Identifying and inculcating the correct philosophy for your startup is fundamental for long-term success.
Startups without a precise vision often drain their resources before they become profitable. Without clear objectives in mind, it's easy to get caught up with irrelevant tasks or spend ample time volume-hiring people who do not support the company's vision. The solution is to develop core objectives that are directly correlated to your company's vision and have every decision you make extend from those objectives.
One common pitfall startups face is the desire to grow their services or products swiftly. However, this may lead them to diverge from their company's unique selling point, thus draining their resources and dwindling the quality of their offer. A company that is laser-focused on its vision is like a sniper — they're able to project far into the future with a singular focus on the goal. On the contrary, a company that fails to have concrete objectives in place is like firing a shotgun into the air — all you get is an initial burst of noise and excitement, and you spread out in multiple directions with no specific mark.
Establishing tangible and actionable goals is one way to ensure you stay on target and mitigate losing precious resources. Here are some reasons why you should use core objectives to streamline your company for long-term growth.
Be a determined traveler who knows their destination
In 2015, a startup focused on delivering innovative products through a public vote, called Quirky, sold itself for a mere $4.7 million, after raising $169.5 million in funding just a few years prior.
What led to the demise of this startup can resonate across many ambitious entrepreneurs. Its lack of focus and iteration on its first initial products led to diminished quality and unfit product-market match. It didn't have a succinct message of the company's brand, which led to the loss of authority and credibility.
Every service or product you build should have a direct relationship with your vision. For a multinational corporation franchise like McDonald's, for example, whose vision pertains to "make delicious feel-good moments for everyone," can you imagine if the company didn't take the time to perfect their famous Big Mac recipe? Arguably, they wouldn't have a successful core product that people associate their brand with today.
Having a core vision or objective is your highway to success. When you know what you want, your path forward is clear. Additionally, when a startup has a healthy foundation, it can operate with a sense of confidence. If it strays away from the correct path, it will always have a stable fallback.
Identify your uniqueness factor and don't deviate from it
When entrepreneurs are engrossed in the day-to-day activities of the company, they can lose sight of what is responsible for the underlying success. Ask yourself why your company is doing well in comparison to those who provide similar services.
It's important not to get complacent with your success or take it for granted. Introspection, or looking backward, is the secret to moving forward. Finding the specific attributes and qualities that shape the personality and philosophy of the company is key to better understanding your company's vision. This not only helps you find the key points to build on, but it also helps you know what to look for when you are trying to expand your team.
For example, Starbucks' core principle is putting people first. This is consistent no matter which store you go to. Its employees are dedicated to providing that personal touch, whether it's asking you how your day was or asking for your name on every cup. Paying $4 for a cup of coffee at a different shop might elicit a different response, but if it's Starbucks, we feel like the cost is justifiable for the experience. This factor is what makes Starbucks unique, and it's how it continues to be as profitable as it is today.
Build a team with shared core values
Hiring and training is a time-consuming and grueling process. Though finding the right talent in the form of experience and intelligence is crucial for the success of a startup, a more important quality is often overlooked: chemistry. It's important is to identify whether the hire is aligned with your startups' vision and committed to the company's long-term success.
Remember, the average turnover rate for tech companies is under two years. Securing the types of hires that feel aligned with the company's vision is predictive of retention. Training takes time and consumes resources. Lots of energy can be wasted onboarding and training new hires who meet the criteria on paper but don't share the company's mindset, personality, work ethic or behavior.
I've hired people who were highly competent for the task at hand but did not hold the same vision or work ethic as I did. It only led to tension and disagreements, which stifled progress and morale. Instead of wasting precious hours later on in the process trying to recalibrate hires to match the company's values, try to identify the fit from the beginning.
Startups are risky, and the margin for success is razor-thin. Highly intelligent and capable teams are prevalent across many startups, but personality mismatches can ultimately lead to the collapse of the infrastructure. On the other hand, a team that shares a common philosophy can usually bypass the turbulence in a startup's lifecycle.
When you hire people who embody the company's values and are determined to help the company achieve its vision, you're likely developing a stronger foundation and community of leaders who can help escalate the process. Always make the objectives of the company and the culture you wish to foster clear from the beginning. This can orient hires to produce higher and greater quality output, as they always have a clear direction of what they're working towards.
Early on, entrepreneurs need to find their uniqueness factor and use those core principles as the pillars of the company. The most successful companies on the planet, such as Apple, have developed precise objectives around its vision and mission. That is, providing the best technology and user experience. Apple has never deviated from delivering the best customer service to complement its state-of-the-art technology.
Developing a set of core objectives can help align the team on the unique selling point of the company. Building your team around these objectives will help position your company to be more productive in reaching its goals and achieving indisputable success.
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