Minimize the Impact of Human Error: Smart startups account for the potential for human error, including factors like emotion, impulse, and miscalculation. One effective approach to mitigate human error is strategic automation. For instance, Shopify automated various aspects of its e-commerce platform, such as inventory management, order processing, and marketing, to facilitate business scalability.
Keep Your Ego in Check: Inexperienced leaders often fall victim to poor decision-making due to overconfidence and the “I won’t fail” syndrome. While confidence is important, excessive self-assuredness can cloud judgment. Avoid letting pride and ego jeopardize your company. Be willing to admit mistakes and move forward, as social media can quickly amplify the consequences of errors, even influencing venture capitalists.
Seek Advice: Starting a startup is rife with uncertainty, making it crucial to learn from others and heed their advice. Displaying maturity and humility, rather than weakness, and seeking advice is respected by investors, customers, and employees. Different leadership styles may influence the likelihood of seeking advice, and some turn to generative AI for rapid insights.
Uphold Ethics: Resist the temptation to take shortcuts or compromise on ethical principles in pursuit of growth or funding. Ethical leadership tends to result in better business performance. Truthful advertising and challenging stereotypes, as exemplified by Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, can earn trust, while unethical practices can harm reputation.
Collaborate with Established Partners: Consider collaborating with larger organizations to outsource functions that you are not proficient in or do not enjoy. Collaborations with bigger entities, such as strategic partnerships or franchising, can fuel growth. Conduct thorough research to ensure cultural compatibility.
Conduct In-Depth Research: Combine data research with behavioral research to make informed decisions. Examples like Airbnb’s global expansion, Netflix’s customer retention strategies, and Amazon’s diversification showcase the importance of understanding consumer behavior. Acknowledge that not all endeavors will succeed, and avoid survivorship bias by recognizing both successes and failures.
Recognize When to Move On: As startups evolve and scale, they require different skill sets. Avoid promoting favorites and have the humility to acknowledge your limitations. Recognize when it’s in the best interest of clients and the business to make changes or move on.