5 min read
What makes a great founder?
According to GEM national report, there are more than 100 million startups launched every year! That makes 3 startups launched per second. And as you probably know – most of them fail. There are many reasons behind it – changing market, huge competition, lack of resources. Just to name some of them. It’s very easy to fail and extremely challenging to succeed. What is more, it takes a lot of effort and dedication to distinguish your idea and win customers. But what is actually key in order to launch a successful startup is a great founder. Amazing founder is fundamental to the final success and “making things happen”. He or she, is the one that influences the company’s culture and its image the most, which are important at every period of the startup’s existence. We can wonder what is the perfect set of traits that a great founder should possess, but probably there is no particular one. However, there are for sure a few of them that are likely to increase your startup’s chances.
Every founder starts with an idea and ambition to develop it and scale it up. However, most often it is not possible without financial boost to kick off the project. Investors have hundreds of startups to choose from so it’s extremely important to distinguish your product when pitching them. What is interesting, many people state that founder is even more important than the product itself. Securing an investment requires the right approach and pitch from a founder – being able to present core values of the product to the stakeholders is essential. Future relations with them should be maintained and nurtured in order to not lose their trust. What is more, great founder needs to be persuasive not only towards investors, but also towards consumers. They are the ones that will validate your idea and potentially make it successful. Without making them believe in your product, the chances of making quick progress are low. And being fast is crucial when it comes to the startup environment.
Every founder needs to have an ambition. Ambition to create something unique that will influence other people. Without a clear long-term goal, it is impossible to maintain a high level of motivation. Every company should have a mission which influences the way it functions. From mission emerges a vision which is a capacity to project your solution in the future. It is a very important (if not the most important) driver for a startup. It helps to endear people and give them motivation or purpose to work for your idea. What is more, the vision, especially at the early stage, will also explain the risk you are taking to launch your startup and will help investors to better grasp your idea. This way, you gain more chances of winning them and securing valuable funding.
Innovative and creative
Launching a startup requires creativity – it’s not rocket science. But being innovative with developing your idea and keeping it smart despite huge competition and changing market - that’s something different. A great founder has to think outside the box and see what others don’t. He needs to find solutions that others don’t think of. Broader perspective and ability to locate business opportunities are key. It also means being visionary but realistic at the same time, bearing in mind the technological and financial limitations. A founder with a great vision and reasonable arguments that support his idea is capable of achieving truly magnificent results and making an astonishing progress.
Flexibility has become an increasingly valuable skill in modern workplaces where unpredictability and change are often constant. Founder needs to be adjustable. No idea or product is flawless throughout time. It needs to be corrected, modified and remodeled in order to remain competitive. What is even more important, those adjustments have to be implemented calmly and efficiently. There are many challenges that will test your idea and your adaptability to change. A great founder has to come up with multiple solutions in critical situations and encourage the rest of the team to do the same. This very often requires an optimistic and approach towards the problem. Only then you are truly capable of coming away unscathed from the dangerous situation.
With expertise and broad perspective
A great founder needs to know the market that his startup is operating on. Knowledge about the business environment and its processes is crucial in order to create the most effective strategy for your company. This knowledge also helps to better understand your competitors and come up with solutions to outrun them. Being aware of the resources and measures they use to innovate and win shoppers is vital for your competitiveness. What is more, knowing the market that you are working on is very important in order to build your credibility among investors and customers. Understanding your clients and their needs will enable you to create a product that will sell to your target market.
As a great founder, you also need to be a great leader. Leadership helps to maximize your company’s efficiency and to reach your organizational goal. A great founder provides guidance and motivates employees to aim higher and higher. A good leader is the one that aims to help employees to grow and develop. What is more, a great founder is the one that initiates action within the company by planning out who will perform what tasks, when the tasks will be completed, and by what means the tasks will be accomplished. Without a plan to complete business goals and good communication with a team, your company will fail no matter what. Building morale and coordinating your employees' needs in another significant factor that influences company’s ability to grow and develop.
In the end, no rule is written. Some skills are important, and others are just acquired with time. Let us know what you think. What makes a great founder in your opinion? Do you agree with the skills shown above?