October 4, 2012
Great ideas can’t be executed without great people. However, for an early-stage startup, it can be even more critical to build a winning culture to galvanize your team and transform your ideas into viable products. Christine Quintana, one of the nine founders of Follow and Fund, the winner of last year’s prestigious b|launched startup competition program organized by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, shared lessons learned from her experience creating a new startup.
1. Think of your efforts as building a company, not launching a project. Launching a startup is a significant time investment and takes an emotional toll, so stay motivated by maintaining a vision of what you ultimately hope to accomplish. See the potential in your company and keep in mind how your efforts are laying the foundation for future growth.
2. Vet your ideas from people outside your startup team. Because of the demanding nature of launching a startup, it’s easy to become so involved in your ideas that you lose perspective. Talk to people outside your team to ensure that your ideas are viable and can be easily grasped by the average consumer. If you can’t effectively articulate your own ideas and value proposition, no one else can.
3. Learn to manage contention productively. Quintana explained that when channeled correctly, contention can actually be a valuable team dynamic. For example, contention at the right time can help your team avoid a group-think mentality that kills innovation. Through challenging each other in a constructive process, your team encourages the best ideas to prevail.
4. Understand your company’s unique selling proposition. Understand your competition and carefully assess what your startup’s “secret sauce” is. Create and articulate points of differentiation that can’t be easily copied. Remember, technology is easy to replicate, so develop a secret sauce that’s truly unique – such as marketing plans, partnerships, or a compelling story that sets your startup apart.
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