The Startup Mindset

Modified on by Max Wilbert

The Startup Mindset

Being part of a startup is a fast-paced, exhilarating experience. No one really knows whether the business is going to make it big or completely collapse. The stakes are high, the challenges keep coming, and opportunities that could change everything (or nothing) tend to appear out of nowhere.

To succeed in this environment, a certain type of psychological approach is needed, an approach that is sometimes called the startup mindset. But what we’re interested in here is how the startup mindset transfers to other challenging situations, like studying at a university, starting a new job, or managing relationships. Anyone interested in improving performance can learn from these lessons.

Here are some of the key elements of a startup mindset.

Be Creative

One of the most important aspects of the startup mindset is creativity. Startups succeed or fail based on shaking up industries by developing revolutionary new ideas or creating innovative revisions to previous ideas. A key aspect of the ability to do this is curiosity. You have to be constantly asking questions: Why? What could be better? Why not this way? Why stick with the status quo?

Upend The Status Quo

No business can be successful in an established field without shaking things up. Not only is curiosity and creativity necessary for innovation, but you also have to reject the framing of “the way things are.” Don’t let established wisdom prevent you from trying something different. Disruptive success comes from thinking in a different way than others have done, not just from following in their footsteps.

Move Fast

Another key aspect of startup success is speed. While big, established companies only change course slowly, like a massive beast, a startup must be able to move quickly, iterating on product designs, testing new ideas, and adapting to changing circumstances. You’ve got to be able to deliver fast. That means mastering efficiency, and working smart has to be a foundation for everyone.

Constantly Learn

Because startups are usually work in a resource-limited environment, personnel and training often become an issue. If no one on the team has a certain skill-set that is needed, you can’t always hire a new person. Instead, you have to embrace the importance of constantly learning new skills, engaging in new roles and challenges, and being adaptable.

Work as a Team

Another consequence of the fact that startups are usually small is that people have to work together. Teamwork is so critical to success that many startups experiment with innovative ways to make people talk with each other more, like replacing the water cooler with a more attractive self-serve ice cream station. Collaboration is key to success in the startup world.

Take Risks

Startups have to be willing to take risks. No startup ever knows that it is guaranteed success. The majority of startups fail, leaving employees and investors with nothing to show. But reward does not come without risk. As Bruce Lee said, “”If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water.

Work Hard

As anyone who works at a startup can tell you, such jobs often mean long hours and working on the weekends. The ability to harness internal motivation and buckle down on serious work is critical to success. No one expects to do this forever, but while you have the energy and time, take advantage of it to get ahead.

Learn From Failure

Failure is almost inevitable in the startup world. Even if the business doesn’t fold, you’ll run into serious roadblocks. Even the best expect this. Instead of getting bogged down, focus on learning from these failures. Often, one can learn more from a failure than from a success.

Using These Skills Anywhere

Luckily (especially given the fact that many startups fail), the skills and approaches that have to be mastered in this environment can be transferred anywhere. The flexible, efficient, fast-moving methods of the startup world can transform your effectiveness at school, at established companies, in your personal life, in non-profits and volunteer organizations, and more.

Do you use these methods in your life? Do you have any tips for readers that would complement these? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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mansi desai 3 years ago


very interesting blog and such wonderful stuff

Clare Hardin 3 years ago

Wonderfully written. Congrats on that part. I think, students should make their mind for startups and entrepreneurship when they are actually studying in their colleges. So, design courses will actually prepare them for it.

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