I personally think that one of the most important attitudes to have at a startup is an immense hunger to learn and adapt. Everything and everyone has something amazing to teach you, should you possess the humility to learn from them.
These days I define startups the way Eric Ries (of the Lean Startup – please read it if you’re into entrepreneurship!) does: a startup is a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
That definition’s great because over my one year of entrepreneurship so far, I’ve realized that successful businesses rarely look like the business plans (or initial ideas) that spawned them (www.SGPad.com initially wanted to focus on providing rental sales to tourists). There’s just too much uncertainty creating new products for new markets that it’s really hard for entrepreneurs to just boldly go forward and think that they’re right all the time.
So accept it. You’ll be wrong most of the time. But remember – a startup isn’t a test where you die when you fail – it’s rather like an ongoing series of experiments where you slowly find out what doesn’t work and what actually does.
That’s why we at SGPad try every day to learn from feedback all around – customer feedback, experiments, and we’ve been also very lucky to have great clients who have themselves walked the path of entrepreneurship and shared their invaluable insights with us.
Here’s a great email that brightened up my day:
Just want to encourage you guys as you embark on this journey of entrepreneurship and a small advice from someone who is just have the privilege of starting out a few steps earlier than you guys.
The advice is just one word:
1. Focus on the quality of your deliverables (I just had a rude shock recently with another iPad rental company which gave me 3G enabled iPads with no SIM Cards)
2. Focus on developing your core capability (don’t deviate too much and your reputation as a specialist will eventually bring you to greater heights)
Bit by bit, we will stay humble, learn and adapt our startup to fit the needs of the market. We owe it all to all your great people out there who cheer us on every single day. Thank you so much for your faith and support!
Stay hungry, stay foolish!