According to Steve Blank, the Stanford Professor who pioneered the work called “The Lean Start-Up” the difference between start up companies and large companies is that start ups are in search of their business models while large companies have a business model that is constantly under review to increase efficiencies. Now, I’m paraphrasing this so you can’t quote me on the words but you can quote me on the intent–the skills that are needed to be successful in start up versus the skills needed to be successful in corporate are very different.
Searching for a business model can feel really uncomfortable. Trying to explain your business when you’re actually not certain about what you’re selling because the business model hasn’t quite sorted itself out yet, can make you feel like a failure right out of the gate–You see your corporate friends working in a business that is already set and you think to yourself, “my business should already look like this,” or worse, you see companies that are like Twitter or Facebook and think that your start up should already have conquered the world. Have faith friends, there’s genius in the flexibility of the start up model and it gives you the opportunity to make corrections and then conquer the world.
Our first mistake as entrepreneurs is thinking that “this is that” that in essence our corporate expertise has made us prepared for what’s happening in start up. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Start up is a different animal in the sense that the skills that you need don’t come from the mindset of “how can I make this better” rather it comes from the mindset of “how can I make this?” I would never bet against any entrepreneur who has at least turned a certain amount of ideas into products and then sold something. This is the test of having some real skils in belief–belief that what you can make is better or different than what’s out there, belief in the system that supports entrepreneurship and belief in yourself and the future you see for yourself from bringing this idea to life.