Highly successful startups valued at billions of dollars didn’t just get lucky with timing or required huge cash investments left and right. In most cases, exceptional startups took off thanks to their exceptional founders – the people who had the creativity and intellect to come up with potentially life-changing ideas and the guts to actually implement them. Becoming an exceptional startup founder, fortunately, isn’t something you are born with. By working on these seven habits, you can join the ranks of highly successful startup founders, such as the creators of Airbnb and Uber.
Be Comfortable With Not Knowing
Perhaps one of the most common reasons why the startup world is full of risk and stress is because of the unknown. Yet part of what makes startup founders great is their ability to work with unknown variables all the time, whether it’s unexpected operating costs or behavioral changes in consumer spending. The fact is, you will never know everything there is to know. You’ll always be working with information that is incomplete. But you’ll have to learn how to make the right decision based on what little data you have in front of you. With that being said, make an effort to research and prepare for these unknown variables, rather than lazily accept their presence.
Be Passionate About What You Are Selling
If you need proof of this particular tip, just ask Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin and one of the richest men on earth. For him and other billion-dollar entrepreneurs, passion is where everything pivot around. You don’t build a business thinking it will become a commercial empire of epic proportions. No, you build a business for the sake of doing something you want to work on and something you’d be proud to show off. Although passion isn’t something you can quantify, it does show how you conduct your business and yourself on a daily basis. How you sell your brand and how much you work towards building it indicates the level of engagement and passion you have for your business. It’s something that can attract or repel customers.
Proactively Find Gaps to Fill
Exceptional startup founders aren’t necessarily the smartest or the most hard-working; some are simply good at finding gaps and filling them. Despite the thousands of businesses being launched each year, there is still a lot of market demand that is not being met by suppliers. If you want to become an exceptional founder, you need to have, at the very least, a viable market to target otherwise you could be launching a failing startup. Even if you are currently working on a product/service, keep researching markets to find more profitable opportunities that could either supplement your main product/service idea or replace it altogether.
Be an Effective Communicator
Great startup founders are able to command legions and gain the support of millions of customers worldwide. They juggle dozens of phone calls, video chats, and in-person meetings with key investors on a daily basis. They make people understand what it is they are selling and why people should choose them over competitors. And they are able to do this, thanks to their ability to communicate effectively. Exceptional business leaders, such as Adrian Rubin, are able to communicate information that needs to be passed on to co-founders and employees in an efficient and timely manner. Practice your communication skills including your listening and speaking. Can you remember every piece of data that people pass on to you? Are you able to convey your thoughts and instructions to subordinates while using the minimal amount of words required?
Having a High Failure Threshold
Great startup leaders are refined through countless failures in both business and life. Their ability to brush it off and get up is what makes them exceptional entrepreneurs. If you are too sensitive and get depressed every time you suffer a minor failure, such as a bad business debut or an unflattering customer review, you won’t survive as an entrepreneur and startup founder. Have the stamina to weather the losses and failures incurred.
Prioritize Growth Over Anything Else
Many startups fail to take off mainly due to the lack of discipline when it comes to business growth. Even unicorn startups that seem to have boomed overnight, were actually grown at a pace that is ideal for the business’ goals, resources and plans.
Follow the KISS Principle
KISS is an abbreviation for “Keep it simple, stupid”. You don’t have to have the most sophisticated product or service to attract people. In fact, customers avoid these offerings that they cannot understand and get on board with. Brilliant entrepreneurs, like Adrian Rubin, know how to go from point A to point B with the least amount of energy and resources spent.
Becoming an exceptional startup founder is all about deliberately practicing the right habits that fuel results and growth. Use the seven tips above as a starting point to your path to entrepreneurial success.