Passion is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to launching a startup – and often one of the strongest predictors of whether an idea will lead to success. My passion is car racing and all the elements that go into driving, maintaining and fine-tuning the car to achieve success. I discovered that there is a definite correlation between driving an extremely fast car and running a successful startup – or any business for that matter.
My firm, Puzzle Partner Ltd., sponsors an up-and-coming young driver named Clark Toppe. He drives one of those incredibly fast machines and makes it look effortless. When he is behind the wheel, all he thinks about is winning the race. How fast must he drive to cross the finish line first without going too fast and spinning out or crashing? He must remain focused for hours at a time to win while in the back of his mind he has to be prepared to get himself out of trouble at a moment’s notice.
Developing new technologies and seeing them flourish is quite a challenge for companies that are starting out. The same can be expected of brands that are trying to reinvent themselves or enhance their current product offerings. However, none of this is easy. It takes determination, passion and drive (pun intended) to excel, and the ability to change course when required by external or internal circumstances.
Speed, innovation, and cadence are the difference between winning and losing
“If your car feels like it is on rails, you are probably driving too slow”. – Ross Bentley, Performance coach, race car driver, author, and speaker
We live in a world today that is evolving technologically faster than ever before. New entrants delivering innovations have to deal with this new pace of change and as such must keep moving ahead at a ‘fast and furious’ pace. Slowing down development, marketing or sales efforts related to a product or products, will most certainly mean you will get passed by companies that are faster, and you may not even see it coming.
Speed wins but not at all costs. You must always keep your foot pushing on the throttle but not so hard that it becomes a detonator. Move quickly – but don’t forget about the things that matter most like great vision, understanding what the market requires and developing solutions that the consumer will indeed purchase.
Keep moving fast and the results will follow.
“To be a race car driver, it’s essential you have amazing vision and focus. Your senses are heightened, you’re travelling over 200mph, you need to focus on that 110-metre braking point, and you have to have absolute faith and commitment in your driving”. – Allan McNish, Ex-Formula One driver, World Champion, three-time Le Mans winner
Focus is imperative to winning. Maintaining your focus as a startup enables you to produce. Having a team of great people who are also laser focused on the same objective will allow you to drive forward effectively and most importantly, deliver. There are so many companies today that see a ramp in success and then start to look for other avenues of revenue before truly owning the space/technology in which they have yet to fully dominate.
However, there can be many factors that make a startup lose its focus. Sometimes it is a lack of cash flow or taking on a client that man-handles the team to deliver things that are out of the scope of the company’s primary mission. Other times it is the leadership group working on something that the market may not necessarily perceive as valuable. However, one thing is true when an organization loses focus; it loses direction, and this can be catastrophic for a startup or new product trying to win in today’s extremely fast-paced technology world.
“A racing car is an animal with a thousand adjustments”. – Mario Andretti, World champion racing driver
The flexibility to deal with change is imperative when developing technology today. The advancement of t methodologies along with meeting the increasing demands of consumers can have an immediate impact on a startup when they are right in the middle of the “race”.
There are many things that a startup cannot foresee. Challenges can be brought on by dramatic shifts in the target market, an overflow of competition, economic variables and even a lack of resources. All of these dynamics can force a startup to tweak what they are doing to stay in the race and maintain a competitive edge.
It can be tough to change when you’ve committed to a great concept, brought a team on board, and spent countless hours drumming up enthusiasm for your product or brand. However, many of the most successful technology startups are thrivingprimarily because they recognize the signs, and realize that to achieve their objectives; they will have to make small pivots until they reach that finish line.