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5 motivational steps for start-ups

Ben Voltz
Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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1.   Innovation 

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” - Henry Ford

Every successful start-up gets one thing right, it scratches an unscratched itch. Throughout history, humans have jumped from innovation to innovation, constantly improving our lives via the power of our mind. Whether it be the printing press in medieval Europe, or the iPhone today, we have a tenacity to improve and innovate. If you are in the business of creating your own business, you must innovate. Yet innovating is not enough. Innovation is the heart, yet a heart also needs a healthy supply of supporting vessels. An efficacious start-up successfully merges its innovation with flexibility. An oft used Zen proverb, ‘be like bamboo, bend but don’t break, be flexible yet firmly rooted’, summarises this point perfectly. It is important to soak in as wide an audience as possible in your formative days/months or years, for this will lead you down the path of success.

2.   Weakest Link 

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan, NBA Legendary Basketball MVP 

Too many times I see start-ups with teams incredibly strong in certain areas, yet completely oblivious of their lack of expertise in the simplest of spaces elsewhere. The second most important aspect of your start up is acknowledging your weakest link. This could not be more important, for as any good defence knows, you are only as strong as this link. Be humble. Understand this link. Strive to strengthen it. Weakness or fragility is not something to be scared of, if your staff are motivated and believe in your mission, this weakness will turn into a goal all are willing to help solve.   

3.   Humble Pie

“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.” - Jack London, Author 

Take your time, it’s a race, but not one worth losing everything over. The third important aspect of a start-up is knowing your limitations, your status as new comer on the bloc, and the processes this entail. Break free of your bubble, reach out for advice and don’t be fretting over minute percentages of equity, these things are meant to be challenging, but not all encompassing and suffocating. It is important to be humble and to accept advice from wherever it may rear its opportunistic head. Be comfortable in your investors, they will most likely be with you for the long haul. Deep Breath.  

4.   Positivity

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” - Mark Twain, American Humorist and Author

I am going to sound like your grandmother for a second here but bear with me. The glass must always be half full, otherwise you are in the wrong line of work. Positivity and belief in your product make or breaks start-ups and I cannot stress this hard enough. A confident and enthusiastic founding collective will always get further than one half-baked on their own ideas. Know your product, know its strengths, be nimble like the shoots of bamboo, and take this infectious mood and spread it like wildfire amongst your legions of believers.  

5.   The Pitch

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” - Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple

You could have the best product in the world, yet without standing on that hill and screaming from the top of your lungs, it isn’t going anyway in a hurry. The pitch is the final important mark of a successful start-up. Once you have your innovative product, you have included all forms of positive and critical acknowledgment, you have adapted to your weakest link, and pushed this all forward with the belief in the underlying project, you are ready to get it out there. Once you know your product like the back of your hand, and believing in it comes as second nature, the marketing will fall into line. A strong belief mixed with a fresh idea and positivity will radiate in any sales pitch. Yet you must make the pitch nonetheless. Get out there, what are you waiting for?

Ben Voltz is co-founder of NOKK: nokk.com.au

Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2018


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