After reading countless posts about why startups fail, it’s time to address some of the damaging advice being pedaled online.
We hate seeing entrepreneurs acting on poor guidance and giving up on their quest when it all goes wrong.
Real experience matters. Our direct involvement in 15 startups positions us well to know what works and what doesn’t.
So, let’s start by dismantling some of the myths surrounding our industry which hurt the people we want to help the most.
These are some of the qualities you don’t need for your venture to succeed.
Myth 1 – clarity
Apparently, without having a clear understanding of a venture’s identity and the problem it solves, imminent disaster awaits.
No, it doesn’t.
Why? How many times does and should a successful startup pivot?
Most good operations refine and redefine their value proposition repeatedly before landing on their final offering.
Most startups have to fail at the original model – and, sometimes, their second and third attempt – before they
Myth 2 – financial mastery
This doctrine states you must know “what to measure and what it means” while monitoring and adjusting marketing efforts.
Sorry? This has nothing do with financial mastery, and completely focuses on the wrong people solving the wrong problems
Wrong! Typically, a startup entrepreneur adjusts financial and marketing strategies in-flight.
The best startups seek high-quality expertise, experience, and feedback from a variety of sources.
In many cases, they build the plane mid-air before flying it to the final destination.
Myth 3 – action plan
This false chestnut espouses the virtues of having specific targets and strategies to stay focused.
Oh boy, let’s all lock ourselves in the bathroom and viciously whip our own thighs for daring to stray from the original plan.
Flexibility, having an open mind, and learning from others who have been there before are key strengths of successful ventures.
Not all advice is equal. Let’s be frank. There are a lot of people giving advice on startups who have never done one themselves.
Failure is good, no exceptions
Worse, they have never failed at one. Failure is a critical element to success – in life as much as in business.
Please don’t only take our word for it. These are the lessons learned by some of the most successful people in history.
“About the only problem with success is that it does not teach you how to deal with failure.”Legendary NFL football coach, Tommy Lasorda.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”Inventor Thomas Alva Edison
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”Life coach Dale Carnegie
“I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.”Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”Mahatma Gandhi
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”Albert Einstein
Sure, you don’t have to believe us. But the names above add some heft to our argument.
We’re straight now on what don’t constitute the cornerstones of success.
So what do?
8 pillars for startup success in Australia
We’ve boiled our doctrine down to the following visual representation. And we reckon it’s true to our overarching philosophy.
These are our eight ironclad pillars for startup success in Australia. You’ll also learn the reasons why not following them will inevitably lead to failure.
- Guidance: You have the wrong, poor or misaligned guidance. Or, you’re not heeding the right advice. All other pillars rely on this one.
- Strategy: Your strategy is misaligned with your vision.
- Business Model: Your business model is flawed.
- Life Model: Your personal life sucks.
- Creative Resourcing: Your Resourcing skills – finding customers, partners, suppliers, supporters, followers, fans, advocates – are not aligned with your capabilities.
- Message: Your message is incongruent with your offering, or poorly crafted and delivered.
- Culture: Your team is weak or non-existent.
- Execution: Your execution is sub-optimal.
The great news is all these pillars are within your control to strengthen.
Therefore, they are also all your opportunity – and ours, as it happens, to help you with.
2 indisputable truths
But that’s not everything. Two indisputable truths are also waiting to trip you up in the startup theatre of dreams.
- Your Why: Your reason why must be stand up to scrutiny.
- Your Vision: Your vision must be strong enough to push you through the tough times.
Here’s the best part. Address the indisputable truths first and you have almost half built the eight pillars.
Again, don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.
Ask your own mentor and advisors. Show them this article. The clever ones might even manage a wry smile.
If you don’t have mentors and advisors, you need to speak to us – urgently!