The Startup Leap of Faith

To launch a tech startup is fundamentally a leap of faith.  The odds are against you – plain and simple.  Most startups will not survive – we all know the stats.  The stakes are high and only a few will survive.  So what is it about the entrepreneurial spirit that empowers starters to risk it all? The common trait that I’ve come to recognize in all successful entrepreneurs is the power to believe.  It only takes a few minutes in the room filled with starters to feel the positive energy – it’s contagious.  They all share an overwhelming positive outlook even when facing the bleakest of odds.  In launching my own startups and meeting other successful entrepreneurs and mentors, I’ve notice that there are a basic set of beliefs that we all share.  These make up what I consider the “Startup Faith” – the fundamental beliefs shared by successful starters:

  • Belief in Self:  First and foremost – starters believe in themselves, in their abilities and their own strengths.  They believe that they, themselves, can make great things happen.  I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur with low self-esteem.  It begins with believing in yourself – entirely.
  • Belief in the Team:  Behind every great startup is a great team.  Success requires founders to assemble a team they can believe in.  Having faith in your team is critical – startups that lose faith in their teams will fail.
  • Belief in the Product:  Founders take their leap of faith based on a belief in their product idea.  Granted, in moving through the customer development process, startups may need to pivot and re-work their initial concept.  However, successful starters never stop believing in their product and how it will help their customers.
  • Belief in Beating the Odds:  Successful starters don’t hope they can beat the odds, they believe wholeheartedly that they will.  There is no second guessing.  As they say, those who say they can and those that say they can’t are both right.  If you don’t believe you can beat the odds – chances are you won’t.
  • Belief in the Vision:  For most of the successful starters I’ve met and read about, their vision is always bigger than just the money.  Yes, the money can be great – but for most entrepreneurs that I admire, the money is never the goal.  Starters believe that they, and their startups, can make a real difference in the world.  Those that set out to leave their mark on the world usually do.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are cases in point.
When I meet would-be starters, these are the basic beliefs I look for.  If I get the sense that they are faltering, questioning their own skills, or aren’t sold 100% on their product concept or vision, I always recommend that they re-think their decision to “leap”.
Launching a tech startup is a leap of faith – without these beliefs, you shouldn’t leap!  What do you think – what other core beliefs do starters share?
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