8 December 2014 0 Comments

Startupland: advice for startup brand owners, entrepreneurs from Mikkel Svane etal

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)


Mikell Svane, startupland book, advice for startup entrepreneurs,  how to take your startups from grass to graceAbout two weeks ago, I granted an interview to business column of Vanguard Newspaper in Nigeria about my thought on digital communication in Nigeria, startup entrepreneurship among other issues. The opinion I shared are all  my own conviction of the stuff  I considered as  parts of  ammunitions entrepreneur must be armed with to excel. A week later, I was graciously offered a manuscript of Mikkel Svane and Carlye Alder’ book which is coming out of the press this week. The title of the book is : Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything To Turn An Idea To A Global Business’.

As I went through this 224 page book, I could not but agree with some of their summations,  experience sharing of how they  moved from just an idea in mind into owning a public quoted company Zendesk,  in the New York Stock Exchange. Having started out also, I do understand  the frustration and the joy these startup entrepreneurs shared in the pages of their book. From the preface, we read ‘Svane started out in Copenhagen Denmark and moved from being owner of a 3D magic eye software startup which had grown and now known as Zendesk which is listed in New York Stock Exchange’.

Most times many read the happy ending of a startup journey and feel motivated to run that path without a due diligence and readiness to be committed to the demands of the journey. As we move towards the New Year, we do know many will consider leaving their paid jobs out of frustration and go forward to pursue innate desire to be their own boss.  The secret of success in this area is that the world of startup is easy if you can make something that is complex, hard seems easy. Until you can figure this out, launching out your startup may become a nightmare. Mikkel Svane and carlye Alder did share also that their initial work suffered untold calamity as it really failed but they had learnt to give all it takes to remain on their toes. We will be recommending this book for anyone who is aspiring or is already in the journey of startups. Here are some of our takeaway.

Find ‘innate’ desire, ability: the world of startup requires a lot of guts. It must start with your innate ability or strong desire to bring a change to your world. There must be something you want to change. There must be something you want to Improve upon which you know you have the capacity, capability and skills to meet. You may not have the skills in 100% base but you are also willing to enhance that capacity. If this Is lacking, it is advisable you stay with your paid job until you find the rhythm.

Trust, confidence, self motivation: Every startup entrepreneurs will need a lot of confidence building in self to swim through the oceans of challenges along the way. You also need to have self confidence in yourself and team.

Never copy the ‘big boys’ at the initial stage:  you really do not want to run out of gas as soon as you start out. Be on the look out for stuffs that ‘eat’ your fund outside direct investment in product development. Beware of huge advertising and other rental costs.

Being open: no startups had been successful with closed minds. Mikell Svane shared many experiences on dealing with investors, customers, product development processes along their journey.

Be focussed on customers: your major concern should be to focus in the people who pay your bill. Be willing to go the extra miles. Never forget they have suitors already. Snatching them from their present lovers will require just more an effort.

Be patient with yourself:  the journey of a thousand miles begin with a step. Moving forward requires consistency of right action and determination to stay on till you reach your goal. Mikkel Svane and Alder did not become owners of public quoted company on NYSE in a day. Other simple advice is that do not always go for the short cuts or tips. We live in a dynamic age where tips and easy fix it advice may not work out. Startups must be willing to bring disruptions to customers service, hiring and recruitment process. The duo also explained the part play by supportive stakeholders especially people in your home front.  Mikkel did say his wife’s Mie’s role cannot be under emphasised.

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