Sometimes the key to building a successful business is not about what you do, but who you are. It is who you are that drives you to do what you do. Today we’ll reveal 12 essential traits that powerful leaders share.
1. Be open minded – Entrepreneurs and smart people can be close-minded at times, because of ego. However, one needs to understand that succeeding at a startup has little to do with being smart, but a lot to do with being able to understand what customers need, and having a insatiable curiosity. Listen to people, and learn.
2. Don’t keep your startup a secret – Talk about your idea as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to share your idea with other people. Nobody will steal your idea. You are risking too much for not getting early feedback from people. Startups die because of not not getting enough feedback to learn and grow. You should always worry about getting More people to know about what you are doing. Not less. The details are what makes it work or not work.
3. Stop developing features when stuck – When stuck, many startups feel that it’s just because they lack features, so they mindlessly keep developing features. When stuck, ask customers and ask them what they think. It’s better to fine-tune your primary feature and have more people use it then trying to come up with “side” features to drive usage.
4. Investments has nothing to do with your success – Like the stock investor. A company many people invest in doesn’t mean it will succeed. The success of a startup has nothing to do with investments. In fact, 76% of the startups that were acquired in 2012 did not get any funding. In fact, when you get money from investors (not incubators), it’s very easy to fall into a pressure loop.
5. Your early hires will make or break you – If you do hire, the early hires are so important. This cannot be stressed more. If anyone on the team feels something wrong in the gut, then do not hire the candidate. Google hires this way. If anyone on the team feels something is wrong, they don’t go forward with the hire.
6. Decide everything on growth – If a feature or problem that requires building has nothing to do with growth, then put it on the backlog. When you put all the focus on growth, what you need to do suddenly becomes very clear.
7. A startup is a long journey – The untold stories of Angry Birds, Pinterest, and Twitter are that they all were operating close to 2 years before they became marginally relevant. It’s very very seldom that a startup comes out with a feature that suddenly delivers overnight success. If you have already validated your problem and solution, then stick with it. Conserve money, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. Do not pivot too early thinking the solution is wrong. It could be that you are not getting to the right customers, you don’t have friendly onboarding features, some tweaking is needed, or one of many reasons.
8. Be realistic – There are many success stories like one by Mint, or legends like Steve Jobs. We can all read their books, but the truth is that their experience has limited upsides to our abilities to perform in a startup. Success is based on luck, timing, the idea, the team, the connections you have, etc. So it takes time to get all of those together.
9. Communicate – Everything should be organized and communicated. If you have a co-founder, make sure everything is transparent with him/her. Make sure the responsibilities are established, and the amount of resoures from all parties are understood. Co-founders are like your spouses. Work the relationship like a marriage. You guys will argue, but always understand that everyone just want things to work out. So never hold grudge and let the other person know why you want to do or say something.
10. Be curious – What people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity. – Aaron Swartz. Entrepreneurs are stapled by their massive CQ (Curiosity Quotient) instead of IQ. When you are curious, you are powerful.
11. Never let it get to you – During your startup venture, many things will go wrong. You will just make too many mistakes, because every startup does this. You might send out a mass email with mistakes, hire the wrong people, have a huge bug in your product. The point here is that, you’re the only one making such a big deal of it. Learn what you did wrong, and move on.
12. Failing is not shameful – Failing is a part of being an entrepreneur. Most successful startups you have heard of have failed many times. The one you hear about is probably their like 4th or 5th project. Failing is great, because you can learn a lot of things about what you did wrong so that next time you will do better.