What is your start-up doing

Career & Salary

I have already observed and accompanied many start-ups in the past. Some achieved tremendous success, others failed instantly; and many have simply managed to survive the early days solidly and thus achieve success.

The decision to found and develop a company is often a quick one. For many it is important to be able to develop their ideas in their own company in order to realize their own vision. They want to be able to decide for themselves where the journey is going and what challenges they want to face. Right from the start, the focus is on innovative ideas that are fascinating, fun and can inspire other users.

However, essential aspects are often forgotten or simply ignored because the terms "success" and "money" are in the foreground. But be careful: work first, then pleasure. Or, as the sales expert Martin Limbeck puts it so beautifully: "Shovel first, then rake in."

So what exactly is decisive for the success or failure of a start-up? Often it's details.

1. The foundation

I went to the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose last year and combined my visit there with a little sightseeing. On a trip to San Francisco, I stood in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. As I looked at them like that, associations with start-ups immediately occurred to me.

The builders of the bridge once thought very carefully which building materials they wanted to use, what the statics would look like, which building company they wanted to hire - and, last but not least, what the bridge should look like in the first place. So it's not just about the "outside", it is extremely important that there is a certain stability, robustness and usefulness in every start-up. So the questions are first:

  • How do I best protect myself?

  • What skills do I need in my start-up?

Then comes the aesthetics, like the logo or the name of the company. So never forget to lay the foundation before designing the facade.

2. The market

I got to know many different founders who all had one thing in common: They were convinced, motivated and enthusiastic about their idea. But the "real" work only begins when the product is ready for the market. The competition is huge. It takes more than just a good product to assert yourself.

Beginners in particular should not underestimate a start-up. There are many start-ups that have had a great idea and have created an extremely good product. But then they failed to conquer the market. The market is the biggest hurdle that has to be overcome.

You have to face the market and the competition, you need good marketing strategies, the right people in the right roles - and the right aggressiveness to show the competition that you exist and that you are fighting. And, very important: good contacts that will help in the tough market.

3. The team

It is not always important who exactly did what and whether one works more than the other. The only important thing is that you are perceived as a team. Every person must be treated equally so that every founder is perceived as being on an equal footing from the outside.

So you don't communicate who exactly did what, but that you did it as a team. Imagine you are in a meeting with a potential customer. Opposite you is a person who decides on the acceptance and the budget. Other people sit next to her. Who would you address? Who do you want to negotiate with? Who do you listen carefully to?

Do not let that happen. Nobody in your start-up should feel like an unimportant assistant. Equal people work in your start-up; your start-up is a team.

4. The family

I keep hearing the saying: "The start-up has to be your life." Sometimes I can say yes, but not always. Because we don't live to work, we work to live. Of course, you should put a lot of energy and time into the start-up so that it can be successful. But you shouldn't forget your own life. So if start-up isn't life, what is it? It's kind of a family. It is extremely important that there is a close relationship between the founders or even the employees.

Let's say you are working with someone who values ​​you very much, who you enjoy working with, and who you can also talk to about personal matters. You will work together on a product that you want to successfully bring to market. Do you work with this person because of the product or because of the person? I am saying that you work on the product primarily because of the person and not the other way around. If the product were exchanged for a different product, you would continue to work on it because you want to work with that very person.

Openness and a healthy working atmosphere in the company are essential: everyone should feel comfortable in the company, on business trips, with colleagues, at events. This is an extremely important point: think of your start-up as a family.

5. Your own strengths

Another important point is: You should always ask yourself what your own strengths and weaknesses are. Self-awareness is the first way to improve one's performance. When you recognize your own strengths, you also know exactly what role or what tasks you are best at; where you feel good and also have fun doing something.

It is important to consider the following: If you reveal your own weaknesses, the other knows where you are vulnerable. If you recognize the other's weaknesses and at the same time know your own strengths, you don't have to worry about the outcome.

6. Doing

Do not doubt yourself - just do it! Nevertheless, one must not forget to come up with a plan and a strategy in advance, stay focused and never lose sight of the goal. The important thing is to stick to your goal and continue to work hard on it even after setbacks. Always remember to take positive things out of mistakes: they make you stronger and more successful. A quote from Goethe fits perfectly: "SUCCESS has three letters: DO".

7. The patience

If you don't believe in yourself and your idea, who should? Perseverance and patience are extremely important when starting a start-up. These two points are the main reasons why many start-ups fail: In the final spurt, stamina and patience suddenly waned. Hold on, hold on to your goal - and your belief in it. It will be fine, just be patient!

8. The time

"The early bird catches the worm - but only the second mouse gets the cheese!" Have you ever seen important contracts or decisions being made early in the morning? I've never signed important contracts in the morning - except in a different time zone.

If you have to make a decision all by yourself, that's different - then jogging early in the morning might help. But no matter what decision is to be made, what matters, is not when a decision is made - but that right one Decision is made.

So, forget about the early bird and make time for your worm and when it's late at night.

9. The attention

In many companies the topic of communication is getting lost. If you look at other people in conversations or seminars, you will notice that many of them often pick up their cell phones. But in this way the attention is not paid to the other people present.

Further examples: You enter a colleague's office to discuss something and he continues to look at his monitor during the conversation. Or something else is done on the side in Skype meetings. That's impolite. It is always important to show respect to the people present and to listen. So you close your laptop and put your cell phone away. And then you listen carefully and devote your full attention to the other. Or there is really something more important at the moment, then you have to say that and postpone the conversation to a later point in time. This is the only way to be valued and respected.

A rule of thumb also states that in conversations with customers, the customer should mostly speak, and the provider should listen to the customer and ask questions. Listening is extremely important. Also, try to have a simple chat with attendees before a meeting starts - instead of staring at your cell phone. This is how you build relationships or expand them further: in attentive conversation.

10. The emotions

Many people react emotionally to negative news. How so? Because they feel attacked and possibly hurt in their honor. Showing emotions is a good thing - but not in every situation. I have often seen people act directly out of their emotions following negative news and make serious mistakes in the process. But especially in such situations it is important that you do not react out of your feelings, but with your mind.

You need a clear head to be able to think carefully about how to act now. So take your time, put your emotions aside, take a deep breath - and turn your mind on. He will help.

Plus point: the health

I would like to give you an extra point - take care of yourself! Do exercise every now and then, eat something good, have fun! Take time out to recharge your batteries and develop new ideas. Your health will thank you.