I love going to tech startup events. There’s something unabashedly optimistic about startup entrepreneurs which is very different from most other kinds of people, whether they’re in business or not.
“Startup” has come to mean a very specific approach to business: an audacious idea which levages technology and capital to create something which is new, innovative and compelling. Add equal elements of fun, energy, optimism, and obsession and you start to get the vibe that happens in the Startup world.
I believe Startups have very important messages for all entrepreneurs, especially solos and micro businesses. Here are some things which come to mind:
- Pursue your dream without regard to current circumstances. Although Startup entrepreneurs, like most people, obsess about finding the money to create their business, they see it as another take to be accomplished, not an obstacle. In the Startup world, what counts is the person and the idea. The rest will come if these two items are clear and compelling.
- Business is communication. Startups are always pitching, speaking, writing. From the first moment, they are focused on how to communicate their idea to potential investor, clients and partners. Presentation competitions, whether for a one-minute elevator pitch or a seven-minute PowerPoint, are a central point of many Startup gatherings. I wish all entrepreneurs put this much effort into clearly communicating who they are and what they offer!
- Disrupt the status quo. One of the first slides of any startup entrepreneur’s pitch deck is a deceleration of how they are going to disrupt their market: going behind, around, under and over their competitors to emerge as the new standard. Startups want to make the current way of doing things in their market obsolete.
- Small is the new big. Startups start small, lean and efficient from the beginning. They want to grow in revenues without having to grow in team size. This is where the technology advantage really comes into play: quickly adjusting their focus to meet the constantly shifting sweet spot between what people are looking for and what the startup offers.
- Startups think young. Although the startup world tends towards the under-30 crowd, it is more of a state of mind, the optimism of youth. I guess the advantage here is energy. You have to be in good health to keep up with a Startup entrepreneur!
There are many more messages that Startups can teach all entrepreneurs. And some lessons to avoid. In my local market of Quebec City I am pivoting my business to focus more on tech startups, with the not-so-hidden agenda to bring the best ideas, tools and methods from the startup world so you can apply them in your business, whatever you offer.
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