“Go big or go home.”
I’m (somewhat) ashamed to admit that I’ve uttered those words before. I’ve written them too. But for the wrong reasons. When I launched Standout Jobs I anchored my exuberance in the wrong milestones (such as raising money) and didn’t have the insight or validation needed to really lay claim to “going big.” It felt like it though, and I remember saying, “We’re going big…” (the “go home” part wasn’t really on our minds initially!)
Funny thing is … I’m going to say the same thing now: Go big or go home.
Even as a proponent of early exits, the statement rings true. And it rings true because a startup can benefit from thinking big, and having big, honest vision.
Just a few moments ago, Lenny Rachitsky, founder of Localmind (one of Year One Labs’ investments) published his first blog post about his new startup. The focus of the blog post is Lenny’s vision for Localmind. He’s telling a story: about where’s he’s been, where he is today, and where he’s going. The vision is big, but it’s also honest and rooted in reality. Lenny isn’t claiming he’s going to change the world tomorrow with Localmind, but he’s setting the stage, and using his big honest vision as a tool to motivate and drive him.
Anchor your startup with big honest vision. Don’t delude yourself, don’t ignore reality. But don’t think small either. As you scale your startup and look for employees, investors and eventually (hopefully!) an acquirer, you’re going to be selling more than technology, talent or even revenue. You’ll be selling vision. Everyone that decides to get involved with your startup in one way or another will need to drink a bit of your Kool-Aid.
Having a big but honest vision means you’ve got a way of defining – at a 20,000 foot view – where you’re headed. It doesn’t change the need for going through all the small (and often painful) steps from customer development to MVP to pivoting, etc. – but it anchors you in something bigger than each incremental move.
image provided courtesy of Shutterstock.