This blog post is the result of inspiration from various interesting presentations on entrepreneurship, startup culture, leadership, innovativeness and leading innovation, ecosystems and mindset at the virtually held Haaga-Helia Business Innovation 2020 conference.
Building a successful startup is not an easy task. It requires creativity through innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings.
To become a successful entrepreneur, it is required to bust the myth “entrepreneurs are born”. Entrepreneurship requires an attitude to do something bigger, more meaningful. People can easily develop this attitude by overcoming some hard feelings and developing certain characteristics.
The biggest obstacle to developing entrepreneurship is self-doubt or lack of confidence. Self-doubt may kill dreams and hopes, and thus, people lack confidence to carry out their ambitions. We can overcome this weakness by developing the following five characteristics: decisiveness, confidence, accountability, resilience and humility.
On top of the five characteristics, an entrepreneur also needs creativity, which often comes from innovation.
Innovation helps people to conceptualize an idea and develop it into tangible assets useful for a market. Innovation will speed up a company way ahead of its competitors. Innovation is continuous research and reevaluation, evaluating ideas objectively, writing marketing plans, pitching to the right customers, establishing an innovation culture within a company, scheduling time for innovation and its marketing, and using technology appropriately. The following 11 things make a startup truly innovative.
- The company should try to achieve the impossible.
- It should create new business models by example.
- It is willing to cannibalize itself by showing willingness to disrupt itself.
- It should develop a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors.
- It should continuously evaluate itself and turn weaknesses into strengths.
- It should listen to customer pain points.
- It should always move ahead of the business curve.
- It should be adaptable to rapidly change markets and spot changes early.
- Its structure and budget should defy all odds.
- It should constantly try new ideas and perfect the old ones.
- It should develop such a culture that when people leave, they will miss it.
It becomes clear that if a startup has innovative people with entrepreneurial mindsets, it has a perfect combo that assures success in the long term. Such a company continuously evolves and becomes better with time. The company culture also becomes dynamic in the true sense. For example, companies like Google, Microsoft, F-secure, Infosys and Alibaba have all become big companies by adopting startup mindsets early on and developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.