Conventional wisdom needs to be relooked at in the case of startups. Traditional management techniques and corporate strategies really don’t apply to cash strapped and blitzscaling startups. We are continuously peddled with cliched startup gyaan and inspiring startup quotes that they have reached a point of meaninglessness. On the contrary, it is a good habit to follow inspiring and successful entreprenurs from the startup world and feed on their nuggets of wisdom. But a budding founder needs to keep in mind that what worked for his idol might not work for him due to changing dynamics, markets, availability of capital, grabbing opportunities and so on.
The most common quote that has spread like a virus on the internet is “90 percent of the startups fail”. They fail because they did a bad job. Normalizing it and giving it a tone of sympathy is misleading and creates a loosely based belief that it is okay to plan poorly, burn your investors’ money, fire your employees and take no responsibility for it. One other major reason why startups fail is due to choosing poor investors. Dumb money which adds no value to your business model isn’t always right to pick up. Usually these desperate choices begin to reduce as startups approach market and gain traction. Which is usually the time by which they might be raising an angel round. The quality of investors has to be top notch.
Fail Fast model is another fad that is duping new age entrepreneurs. This model is just that. A Fad.
Failure is never the desired outcome of any business entity. Any organization is established assuming it to be profitable and continue doing business for perpetuity. So, glamorizing FAILURE does seem out of place. It is surely a byproduct of poor planning and sub-par performance. There are very few businesses who did everything right and still closed shop. We always have those exceptions.
For that matter of fact, startups are so different in that they have their own valuation models. Some of the best known startups have higher business valuations than 100yr old conglomerates. The marketing strategies adopted by a resource-poor startup are different. Startup marketing should follow a test-feedback-iterate loop when it comes to choosing the right marketing channels. This isn’t the case with large multinationals who have deep pockets.
Hiring is another concern with startups as good talent either is expensive or people wouldn’t want to join a risky venture. So the world is a completely different place for a founder, although we cannot write off all the literature that is out there. You learn from existing knowledge and implement to a custom situation. There is no one answer to a problem.
What we really have to teach entrepreneurs is the tenacity to stick through their venture, cross every hurdle and take a hard look at themselves after everything and do a post-mortem. The best way to look at things is do everything you can to succeed. If you fail, analyze and learn from it.