9 out of 10 startups fail. Why is that?
I know if you are reading this you want to know the secret formula to be the 1 out of 10 that makes it. In this part 1 of 3 articles, I go through a few points that may help you make the move from the corporate world, but let me tell you right now it’s not glamorous. (Scroll to the end for the quick key points)
Just over two months ago I left my full time job in IT recruitment to go all in with my Co-founder and brother Daryll on our start up Udrafter.
“There is no set formula, just lessons learned from people who have started and run businesses in the past. We can only try to adapt these lessons to our situation and make calculated decisions.”
Having your own start up is one of the most exciting things you can ever experience. The first weeks are akin to riding your bike without stabilisers for the first time, going for a road trip with your mates after you past your driving test or moving into your own place at University.
However, moving from the corporate world to the startup world does take some getting used to. I’m sorry to tell you coffee lovers but where we’re going, there are no freebies.
There is no longer anyone above you to hold you to account, an often overlooked aspect of startup life. Every minute and every second of work is completely yours to control, the impact of said time spent, directly benefits you and the success of the business. Be warned, it’s a double edged sword.
It comes up time and time again, “stay accountable”. It is one of the foundation stones of any success you hope to achieve, whether studying for your University degree, in business or with your health.
Take a moment to think about how you work. Do you find it easy to stay disciplined and hold yourself accountable? We were lucky enough to be accepted for the Elevator UK startup accelerator in Aberdeen, a 3 month trial by fire programme to see if your business has what it takes to be a success. This programme injected us with the “accountability factor” all startups need to follow through on plans made, without this you may as well not bother. Anyone can talk and make plans but few people take action. This is why men and women with military backgrounds make great business people, they are disciplined do’ers with bags of accountability. Check out Jocko Willink for a great example of some exactly like this.
The same applies to students studying for exams or committing to getting that hard to find work experience or summer internship while others head off to a beach somewhere. Find ways to hack accountability and embed it into your life. We will be covering more on accountability tips in future posts.
Are you a solo founder or a co-founder? I know Udrafter would not be were it is today if it were a solopreneur business. There are countless benefits of being in business as a team.
But none more so than holding each other accountable. If I haven’t done something you can bet Daryll is going to be on my case and vice versa. Personally I have tried the solo route and failed miserably. I have always wanted to have my own business but I had to be honest with myself and know my strengths and weaknesses. I guess listening to all GaryVee’s rants about self awareness are finally taking affect. Doing it on my own was never going to work for me. Now sharing the journey with someone else is way more appealing to me than going it alone.
Startup life moves faster than anything you've ever done before, nothing compares, so leave any preconceived ideas at the door. You need to get comfortable with chaos.
There is so much to do all of the time, it is relentless. I focus on the important tasks by using filter questions, here are a few examples. 1. Is this going to make us money? 2. Will not taking action cause us to lose money? 3. Will not doing this now cause irreversible damage?
Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this. If you are still on the fence, take the jump, you won’t regret it.
- Enjoy every minute but don’t get carried away in the excitement, there's work to be done.
- Running a business is hard. Keep yourself accountable by using external and internal forces to help you along the way e.g. Business accelerators, Co-founders, remove distractions and keep your goals in mind.
- Embrace the chaos by using filter questions to prioritise actions that will make the most difference.
- Make the jump, you’ll regret it more if you don’t.
Next: Part 2 - Up and Running. What will this cover?
- Reality - What business owners and entrepreneurs don’t talk about.
- Listening and observing - How to see what others don’t.
- The trenches - fire fighting, business as usual and staying strategic.