Jeremaih Gardner

A Startup Is a Lost Cat Trying to Find its Way Home

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

There is no such thing as an expert or expertise in startup. The entrepreneurial spirit about taking a leap of faith regardless of what might happen. Jeremiah Gardner, the author of The Lean Brand, a book about innovation for startups, compares startups to a lost cat that is trying to find its way home for some reasons.

 This analogy seems befitting when starting out, you barely have any idea what your product is, who your customers are and how to make money from your business. So you are basically fumbling to find your way and exactly what it is that your company is going to be about.

At this stage in your journey, it is advisable that you be honest with yourself by admitting that you have only a vague idea of what you want and you have no idea what you are doing. When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was starting out, he said that his vision was to create a cool college directory. That is an indication that even the most successful companies were once clueless. You are not alone.   

Vicious After the light bulb moment, startups get a designer to do the logo, create a website, make business cards and write a near perfect business plan. The business plan outlines the products, finances and strategies that are often overthrown when it comes into contact with reality.

Unlike established companies, startups inherently operate in the unknown. Established companies can work with execution of ideas because they know these ideas to be true. You are in the process of learning. You are searching in the unknown. This means that you have very little figured out. Empower yourself to say you do not know some of the things that you want for your startup. Startup is a search for value. It is not about failure or success. It is about learning, not execution. How much and how fast you learn will propel you to your success or failure. 

As you progress, you will be able to distinguish what you know and what you don’t know.  Every market is unique. Your focus should be about creating value. This means impacting someone else’s life through your innovation.  

The question most startups usually is can we build it? What can I do? The mind of a startup however, should be should we do it? What does the customer want? The answers to these questions are not to be found in conference rooms or books. They are with the customers. Allow your customers to tell you what they want and then build that product.

Build based on the value that you want to create. Your ideas come alive when you figure out the impact that you intend to have. Entrepreneurs are solution providers. Even as you look to make profit, endure that you are solving a pertinent problem that the world is facing. When you create value, you gain value.  

─ October 21, 2019