The Internet. Made for talking cats and skateboarding dogs. Oh, and innovative startups. So as we’re at that silly time of the year when people are trawling around Youtube looking for more cuddly things on video, we thought we’d show you 6 ways your startup is rather similar to your miaowing pal. 1. You own a dog, but to cats you’re staff as the expression goes. Never think that you’re more important than your startup business. Even some of the biggest and best CEOs had walkaway moments (and walkbacks) when they realized that their company needed someone else to look after it. It’s your business, but you’re not the business. 2. They love being fed. Whether it’s the daily bowl of goodies or the extra treats, they enjoy that regular nourishment. Startups can’t survive unfed, so look to see how you can do this whether it’s in terms of finance, good mentoring, advice, training often enough that you don’t just ensure growth, you nurture your business. 3. They’re vulnerable to external predators. Yes, for every part of us that sees those cats as hunters, there are bigger and nastier things out there – whether it’s a larger animal or one of those mechanical contraptions which drive fast through the favourite kitty territories. And, as we know, startups are rather prone to the nasties in the big outside world. They don’t always survive, so make sure that you protect your startup in as many ways as possible. Are those patents protected? Are your key staff policies in place? Have you made your financial model secure so that you’re not going to be vulnerable to a difficult economic period. Keep your startup safe. 4. Independent and strong-willed. Traits of cats and entrepreneurs. They will do things their way and so will a successful entrepreneur. Startups benefit from singleminded leaders, but most also learn to enjoy the company of others. Isolation from the world when you’re a startup and focusing on your own needs can mean that you miss out on listening to things that will be a major and positive factor. 5. Easily chase after the wrong things. How many times have you seen a cat hunt a piece of paper across a floor rather than the real prey. Startups do this too. Too often enormous efforts will go into chasing down the customer who isn’t going to be best for the business, and missing out on some potential revenues in the process. Make sure you know what it is you’re going after and don’t get over excited by the scrunched up paper ball. 6. Attention seeking and time consuming. Yes, a cat is for life. Independent beasts they may be, but they do need you to be around to adminster to many a need and nurturing requirement. So does your startup. Unfortunately you can’t leave a key with a neighbour and hope that it will get fed and cleaned: you have to be prepared for those long hours of constant care and attention to get the most out of your early stage business – and your feline friend! I’m not sure that every startup is lucky enough to have 9 lives but let’s hope that as you approach a new year, your particular business purrs along nicely! Why not try out our innovate framework to help you along the way, and if you’re looking for innovative businesses to partner with then brief the Exchange.
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