The CORE of Launching a Startup
Building a startup is hard.
There’s the wilderness period and valley of sorrow that many teams face once they launch from an initial phase of inspiration and hope for the future.
To create a startup is to pursue a leap of faith into the zone of the unknown.
There are challenges ahead and opportunities to be tapped into but the rewards are great for the few, the brave, and the resilient.
Below are a few things to keep in mind to help you find your “strike zone.”
The CORE of Launching a Startup
Conviction and Connection
Every good entrepreneur needs their fair share of conviction around who they are, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. You might call this finding your North Star but the principles are the same. Know where you’re headed. Let purpose marry potential.
In this pursuit of a clear destination, connection is the glue that paves the way forward. Without connection to customers, partners, investors, advisors, mentors, and resources, you will operate from a singular place of stagnation.
Meet people. Network. Attend conferences, workshops, and relevant meetups.
Sign up for Open Office Hours. Build connection. Engage!
Observation and Optimism
Some things come by observation and becoming genuinely interested in others. To own the chess board you need to immerse yourselves in the pieces of the puzzle. Understand the game you’re playing. Observe each piece and its role in connection to desired outcomes and key learnings. Observation builds insights.
A good place to start is to observe the competition, the market, the money, and targeted customer. Observation leads to empathy and empathy unlocks the door to actionable insights.
Seek truth from observation. That’s the only way to push past your assumptions.
Seek facts over fiction.
The second “O” here is to establish a positive orientation to the future. Nobody wants to work with a pessimist. Everyone on your team will follow your lead. Be inspired. Think yourself happy.
Bonus: You can add “organization” to this mix. You must stay organized by leveraging a system of order to survive the chaos of launching a startup. (i.e. Lean Startup Methodology, Scrum)
Reconnaissance & Resilience
Reconnaissance is a military term likened to exploration, observation, and investigation “to ascertain strategic features.” Better yet, this means to dig for insights and information that you can “make sure of.”
In startup land, we call this validation and finding indisputable truths about your customer, the market opportunity, and your path forward. Thus, the motivation here for founders is to dig strategically into the process of collecting evidence around your customer, product, and go-to-market strategy.
Your task should you accept will not be easy.
There will be ups and downs. Challenges and hurdles to break through. Lessons to be learned.
But if you stick to it and hold yourself accountable to building your venture. Resilience will pay off.
I love the quote from Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited:
“Businesses don’t work. People do.”
Evidence and Execution
Mike Tyson said it best: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Nothing will test your endurance like getting out of the building and talking to customers. Building your business one step at a time, brick by brick, insight by insight, one customer at a time. This is how you exit the wilderness period and start to chart your course toward problem/solution fit and product/market fit.
Evidence is key. Think facts over fiction.
What do you know about your customer?
- Who is the buyer?
- What do you do for them?
- Why will they buy? What makes you special?
What do you know about the market?
- Is it a growing space?
- Who is investing in the industry?
- Who are the key players? (e.g. Competition)
- Where is your beachhead?
Discipline is the glue that brings you from inspiration and ideas to impact, opportunity, and dream fulfillment. The best founders and teams are those who grind. Who own their journey and execute with resourcefulness and insatiable curiosity.
Sincerely hope this helps you think about the CORE of Launching Your Startup.
Now, go and make it happen!