Why are Youth-led Startups able to scale so much faster than Traditional Businesses?
One beautiful advantage that I believe youth driven businesses sometimes have over older more established corporations is their ability to harness what I like to think of as Startup Energy.
This is evidenced by their ability to scale at unprecedented speeds. I’ve seen people try to recreate these models and fail. Mostly because, beyond strategies and business models, there’s team and company culture and they matter a lot more than we sometimes think they do.
How does startup energy work though?
One clear attribute is that it has little use for hierarchy. Businesses operate on truly horizontal structures that keep ideas flowing from the entire team, rather than the top down, boss to employee method that obtains in traditional organisations.
In this case, first name basis isn’t just some ruse to seem hip or culturally up to date. It means there’s real candor, honest feedback on all sides and very little room for ego. A brainstorming session is a conversation, with the best and worst ideas thrown down for discussion. No judge, jury or devils advocate.
Second is their tolerance of mistakes. A problem arises, the team mobilises, problem is trashed out, solution found, on to the next task. There is no obsession with apportioning blame or spending ages talking about whose fault it is. Everyone on the team puts in their best, but things go wrong as they inevitably would. A smart team fixes, a poor team points fingers and obsesses.
Third is a willingness to iterate. First, the team understands that perfection is an impossible goal. That way lies dissatisfaction and failure to ever leave the drawing board. What they do know is that even if they start up with an imperfect model today, tomorrow is ripe with new ideas to improve things and push the movement.
There's more, but I'll stop here. I imagine other people have ideas about what makes today's young innovators so successful in a difficult market.
I'll end by noting that Startup Energy cannot be faked. It's not a result of daily meetings about 'improving company culture'. It's the result of good leadership, a team that understands and believes in the vision and a clear organisational goal that keeps everyone motivated.