“Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have.”
— Oprah Winfrey
‘You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.”
— Chuck Yeager
The startup arena has its own ebb and flow, ‘prophets’ and pitfalls, challenges, risk profile, and “blingy” products and services unlike any other business landscape out there. The startup CEO’s journey towards success can be exhilarating, exhausting, edifying, terrifying, life changing, lonely, and circuitous. There is often a steep learning curve, not enough hours in the day to get things done, an intangible personal cost involved, and a growing realization that the best laid plans get tweaked again and again, as does our faith in ourselves and in the process.
That’s why founders understand the benefits of collaborative mindsets, collaborative tools, and collaborative resiliency. Founders also need to place value on doing a regular quality of life assessment, and having a sense of humor; all of which are so crucial to balancing humanity and technology in the iEra, which I wrote about in my book, The NICE Reboot.
Entrepreneurs are a different breed of professional, often displaying risk taker, optimistic, and creative personalities, and often wearing many hats simultaneously. A founder has to have these traits in spades, to voluntarily sign up to be in the biggest petri dish of all; the startup arena! It’s transparent, global, emotionally nuanced, increasingly complex, tech-driven, and collaborative, just to name a few.
So what’s in your entrepreneurship toolbox? What needs to be added so that you are relevant in the collaborative economy we find ourselves in today?
Here are my 4 suggestions, based on my 4 years “in the trenches”, my business book, and current online chatter:
1. An effective, versatile, multi-platform, consistent, and creative social media strategy which fosters social networking, content curation, personal branding, and thought leadership for a positive impact. One which facilitates social good overall and reciprocal collaboration. I will write more about this next week, after I speak at this webinar for HBA on 1/27/15 and at this NYU panelist event on 1/28/15.
2. A few carefully cultivated brand advocates who will evangelize your service/product and energize and expand your sales channels and reach; online and offline. Who can change the way you crowd fund if warranted, and how you embrace customer needs and discomfort when marketing. Client retention is something founders need to consider, not just big companies like Nordstrom!
3. Emotional intelligence that you actively work on, so that you can hone your Theory of Mind, your soft skills, and your intuition. They are all needed to better problem solve, and more effectively form strategic alliances and partnerships. So that your inner leader and diagnostician can shine in our collaborative economy. So that you build better teams for project management of various sizes. Teams which work together more organically and fluidly, to provide better outcomes and faster deliverables.
4. Several mentors of both genders, from the same and different industries as you, who have the same and different professional and cultural background, and from different time periods in your life as an entrepreneur and as a human being. It’s important to choose your mentor wisely! So that you plot a course of action appropriately instead of getting into “paralysis analysis” mode. So that you avoid power struggles as a mentee; one with with specific tech-savvy, leadership skills, and diversified learning experiences that older, more seasoned mentors may not share.
Time will tell what impact the myriad of voices on social media, services, products, and mentorship, all have on our entrepreneurship best practices in the shared economy in 2015. Time will tell which swiss army knife tools and skill sets are needed and sought after, and which are rendered obsolete and irrelevant by machine learning and advances in mobile technology.
But time has taught me the oxymoronic usefulness of building and reassembling my ‘trep toolbox while simultaneously thinking outside the “box” or as Deepak Chopra says, getting rid of the “box” entirely!
To be continued……