When we talk of startups what comes to mind is generally billion dollar unicorns and their billionaire founders. For a budding entrepreneur, nothing is more exciting than imagining being covered by the media. Yet thinking only of success is a sure recipe for failure as a startup. 90% of startups fail. Even successful startups do not have it easy. They change their course multiple times and face multiple failures before being successful.
I am Vice President at Paytm (India’s most highly valued startup in 2020) and I have seen that the perception of a startup from outside is quite different from the challenges we face inside. You cannot run a startup if you only want success. You need something else for being a startup founder. You need a vision. You need internal motivation. That motivation is the urge to change the world for the better.
The world has millions of problems. These problems cannot be solved by the government alone. The reason is that government is a very hierarchical institution that cannot focus on so many problems in an efficient way. The answer needs to come from a decentralized approach. Startups are well suited for this task. Problem solving is a big reason startups exist for.
Startups provide a mechanism to assemble interdisciplinary teams at speed and scale which no other type of institution can match. Startups are organizations that flourish in chaos and uncertainty. Startup founders are optimists who believe that the world can be changed one day even though they don’t know how long their startup can survive. This is a rare trait that makes startups an excellent vehicle to solve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in an efficient manner.
Another trait in successful startup founders is that they know that they cannot change the world on day 1. They build momentum step by step and once the ball starts rolling they get the power to change the world. They start small and experiment a lot. They scale only when it’s needed.
An important trait in startup founders is empathy for the customer and user. I have seen this trait first hand among successful startup founders. A good startup founder first tries to find the pain points of the customer and then tries to solve those pain points.
Thus only open a startup if you believe that you want to solve a problem and you have the patience to start small and the ability to grow yourself to scale big one day. Success may follow after the hard work but even if you fail you may have helped a few people on the way and would have learned a lot. Thus startups are also very good vehicles for learning and individual growth besides the probability of being a billionaire one day.
3 Steps To Startup Success