Business title nowadays are overrated. As we progress and innovate, the creativity with titles go with them as well. But real professionals see right through these and focus on the people under these labels.
Youth could be the future — and they should continue to be. Let’s disregard the age but the maturity building a business. There are successes (indeed!) and pitfalls to some factors that affect a young startup leadership.
This is such a huge relevant topic for me to write as I have been digging deeper into some young startups and their shortcomings, failures, greed and the inability to understand money and virtue.
This is the dirty part of the ‘cool’ tech startup story.
Lack of Vision
This is a behemothic pitfall of anyone who wants to do something without any strategy of what the goals would be like in the next few weeks, months… days. Things change, directions could be skewed along the way but if you keep on ‘fudging it’, that means that you are not fully committed to what you want to do.
One of the best wisdom in this life is to learn that you do not know anything. This allows you to be open to learning: being right and wrong. If all you think that you’re so great and nothing else matters, other people of experience will see right through you. Then, you fail to recognize your journey working on your startup and embrace the deeper value of this exercise. Some may win, being arrogant, that’s true. But you are miserably hated by everyone around you. The blindness will result to blame others if you encounter any problem. And you may have an unwanted reputation which could make you lose face along the way.
Most of startups get money from incubators, investors, angels, etcetera. These companies and people do this as business and to push technology forward. I am fortunate to get to know amazing investors who do care and will do their best to help the startups to excel higher. They would do it beyond money and would risk losing rather than doing nothing. It usually came from their own blood, sweat and tears.
So spend their cash properly! Making bold moves and braving it out there is a great key to get results. Aggressiveness in temperance pays back well. You try, they try. If all you could think about is the money that you ‘will’ earn and not to flourish your business altogether, then shame on you. Remember that you are spending other peoples’ money. It is not yours just yet. Be sensible.
“I would like to make this work so we could be bought out within a year” – good luck, kid.
Finishing what you started
Commitment, perseverance and responsibility are the true virtues of being a leader. What irks me are those young startups who only think of themselves along the way and leave when the going gets tough. It is deceitful, manipulative and shameful. First of all, they asked for money, they are spending the money that they don’t fully own and at the drop of the hat, leave their own company that they’ve built. Then the reasons are shallow. Irresponsible. Worse, they still think highly of themselves without any pinch of humility.
If you really need to leave, perhaps make a graceful exit. Be helpful. Focus on managing your investors and cofounders, not on monetary means or your shares and equity terms. Show some dignity.
You only have one name. Protect it.
As you move along, your startup may become a success or a failure. If you compose yourself properly and professionally, that is never the end but the beginning of greater opportunities. You build your reputation over time, it never stops. The result of your business does not necessarily reflect on how you are perceived by your peers and the industry as a whole. That is important. So make sure that you live and work with your ethics intact because that is not trainable. It is in you. That goes a long way.
So, straighten up, young CEO. The journey is exciting. Just don’t be too annoying.
“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”