Startup enthusiasts often cite market size, user base, and team strength as indicators of future success.
While these factors hold value, they may lack predictive power. After working with hundreds of startup founders and leaders, I've noticed more subtle yet useful indicators of success.
Founder-Problem Fit. Entrepreneurs obsessed with solving problems will constantly push for better solutions over adhering to specific practices.
Most people are hesitant to admit failure. Founders dedicated to change will embrace mistakes on the path to finding success.
Examples include founders who get stuck in their lives or careers and channel their frustration into a better or healthier approach.
Personality Traits. Look for leaders who are self-aware, adaptable, and learn from failures. Courage is knowing you are afraid and still moving forward.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every
experience in which you look fear in the face."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
I respect founders who acknowledge their competitors' strengths. These leaders know their value proposition while assimilating others' best ideas.
Also, I admire founders who can toggle from confidently handling crises to adopting useful opinions and trying new ideas.
Feedback Driven. Objective data values insights over vanity and guides founders towards valuable insights.
Leaders should always define the expected results and then measure progress. We can only improve once we understand what's effective.
Examples include customer surveys and focus groups to gather constructive feedback and apply the learning.
Scalable Solutions. Founders who carefully instill values, processes, and cultures must balance immediate problems against long-term growth.
You must constantly address demands today while finding solutions to prevent future problems and allow you to scale efficiently.
Examples include vendors and professionals handling essential and specialized matters, such as accounting, legal, and recruiting.
Constant Experimentation. Ultimately, even the best ideas might not be successful for you based on the team, market, industry, or customer base.
Establish a straightforward, simple, and repeatable process for testing new ideas on a small audience. If your idea shows promise, you can then increase your commitment. This strategy minimizes risks and costs.
Examples include limited marketing campaigns, focus groups, or A/B tests. Small insights and adjustments can lead to significant outcomes.
While ideas, experts, and market fit significantly impact growth, certain underlying characteristics enable founders to persist until they succeed. Look deeper.
Photo by Andreas Klassen who can be found here
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