Books, podcasts, mentors, blogs. They are great sources from where you can gain insights about how to lead your early-stage startup.
But there is an even more powerful source of knowledge you’ve been missing so far: BABIES. Yes, babies.
Although they are clueless about what’s happening around them, they carry a “key” inside their heads.
The same key that unlocks their development opens the door that leads to your startup’s success.
Don’t believe me? Just read…
Traction Changes Everything
When you’re born, you didn’t get how the world worked. But, instinctively, you began investing your energy to accomplish one herculean goal: moving.
You’re excited to explore so you started working hard to get from one place to another.
You started by stiffing your body, raising your torso, and, soon, rolling over yourself.
However, an important element was still missing: traction.
Without a way to find traction, it would be impossible for you to conquer the world.
Well, after some failed attempts… suddenly… you did it! You found a way of pressing your hands and knees against the floor to generate traction.
Traction is what you’re looking for when you were a baby. And that’s exactly what your startup needs to begin moving seriously.
Traction changes babies’ lives. The same is true for your early-stage startup.
Crawling Comes Before Walking
Another key learning from your “babyhood”, was that before standing up and sustaining yourself on your feet, you should become good at crawling.
Why? Because babies’ bodies are not used to motion yet. Their muscles are not strong enough.
After mastering the art of crawling, they’ve also mastered how to produce traction. Only then, they’re able to start using their feet to produce it.
The same applies to your early-stage startup.
If you try to scale it (walk), before generating traction (mastering crawling), you may hurt yourself. All the money, energy, and time you invest may be lost in the process. If you haven’t developed the muscles (healthy unit economics), you’ll stumble and fall to the ground.
You don’t expect a baby to walk before they crawl. So, you shouldn’t expect your startup to scale before it validates its hypothesis.
In a New World, Curiosity Beats Certainty
There is something you’re born with, but you’ve lost with time: Humility.
In your first day of life, all you had were doubts.
What is that shining thing? How does it work? What is its taste? What is that noise?
Babies’ learning speed is indeed enviable. They’re simply better than us to deal with newness.
Creating a new product is also creating a new world. Your new thing is still not validated, so you shouldn’t act as if you know what happens next.
In the early stage of your venture, never assume how the world will act towards your product.
As a baby, keep asking yourself: so, what happens now?
Bad Tastes Are Part Of The Process
What’s funnier than a baby’s face after biting a piece of lemon?
The sour taste that fills a baby’s mouth ignites a reaction in every single muscle of their face. It’s definitely new learning for them, built from a little bit of suffering.
But, babies don’t stop putting things into their mouths because of those bad experiences. They know it’s part of the process of acquiring knowledge, so they keep tasting things.
The same goes for you and your early-stage startup.
From time to time, you’ll bite lemons.
Potential customers won’t get your product. Or maybe worse, they won’t care at all. Investors won’t trust you. They’ll think your idea sucks. Your friends and family won’t support you. You’ll doubt yourself.
That’s all part of the process of growing. Keep testing (tasting) things. Until you find the sweetness of success in your mouth.
Your Head Must Always Go Up
Finally, babies know that looking down is not very promising.
While you’re a small creature, if you keep your head down, you’ll miss most of life’s beauties.
So, they find a way of always keeping their heads up.
As a startup founder, you must do the same. Complaining about your failures (keeping your head down) will prevent you from discovering where the success really is.
Looking at your feet is the best way of missing the value around you.
So, whenever bad times come, keep your head high.
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