When I Grow Up, I want to be a unicorn

Today, it seems like the main goal of most tech Startups, is to be the next big Unicorn. That means you want to achieve a billion dollar valuation. Though it seems like there’s a new Unicorn every week, we know that it takes a lot more than a pretty user interface to join the “3 comma club”.

Here are 5 things you’ll need to join the club:

  1. Balls

It really does take balls to play. Before all you feminist go ape shit about this and accuse me of insinuating that only men succeed, let me say that some of you have bigger balls than men I know. I don’t mean testicles literally, I mean guts. It takes guts. You need to be brave enough to stand as David stood against Goliath. When you start off, you’ll need to be bold and brave enough to share your ideas and vision with people. You need to stand up and stand out in a crowd with your pitch. This is the only way you’re going to rally enough people to believe and buy into your idea.

2) Brains

You may not need to be smart enough to solve a rubik’s cube in 3 mins but you do need to be smart enough to lead and inspire your team to build your dream. You need to be smart enough to know when to call a bluff or know when to fold and walk away. Life isn’t all about taking risks. Sometimes, you just have to be smart enough to know when to surrender so you live to fight another day.

3) Integrity

Your word is all you have as a new player in the industry. Keep your word when you make deals. When you’ve made a promise to your customers, partners, vendors and/or investors, make sure you keep your promises. Your integrity is a bargaining chip you’ll need to get through the rest of your life, not just in business but in every aspect of it.

4) Grit

You need to persevere. You need to be able to pick yourself up and carry on when you’re rejected or struck down. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself having to take no for an answer but it doesn’t mean you can’t find someone else who will say yes. You must persevere and carry on. Never settle. Keep fighting the good fight and you’ll come out victorious eventually.

5) A Network

You’ll need to build a network of friends/associates you can call on if and when you need to get things you can’t do done. For example, the other day, I just happen to need Styrofoam balls to pack some stuff. I had never bought Styrofoam balls before so firstly, I didn’t have any idea of what it would cost and secondly, I didn’t have any idea of what I should look out for when buying Styrofoam balls. I did however, have a contact who frequently ordered Styrofoam balls for his business and he was able to answer all my questions and introduce me to a great contact who got me what I needed. You’ll need contacts like these who’ll be able to quickly make introductions to the right people whenever you need them. Remember, it’s rude to simply call on people when you need something. Keep up a relationship with them outside of work. Go for a meal or drinks together. Make friends.

These are some quick tips on how you can go about your journey to get into the 3 comma club. Keep on trying. Don’t give up. The lesson learnt from a failure is useless if you give up. Good luck and godspeed!