Author: Jonas Jakobsson, Founder
This goes for most things in my life, I don´t like waiting. As long as I remember I’ve been called impatient. I don’t see this as a bad quality, impatience gets things moving and 9 times out of 10, things go well. It’s that 10’th time one dreads, the shit storm one has to take, and the agony one has to endure. But it’s worth it.
When starting Polar Cape the timing was not in any way perfect, the world had gone in to a financial crises and our CEO had gone on parental leave. But nevertheless, there and then; us founders took the decision to just go for it! It worked out well in the end.
When running a start-up no work should be too dirty, no work should be too boring; summa summarium: rolling up your sleeves does the trick. In the beginning we did it all on our own; from recruitment, sales, book keeping to putting up the white board on the wall. We´d try and failed, rise, tried and failed and so on.
During my career I’ve met with many startups or potential startups where the basic idea is good but the focus has not been on making the idea fly. Instead it has been on things like technology or farfetched visions, which in my opinion would lie 5 to 10 years forward in time. Not many of these ideas have succeed; not because they were bad ideas, but because focus was in the wrong place, or rather in the right place, but at the wrong time.
So what did we learn that I want to share with you whilst we were trying and failing and trying and succeed?
- Set your vision, but then focus on your core business, what is the essence, what are you selling?
- Dig where you stand, focus on what is realizable now, what lies within reach. Over the years you can afford to focus more on your vision and less on the now.
- Setting a short- term strategy helps you focus. Run the strategy for a month or two and then revisit it and adjust it, it always takes adjustment. Kill your darlings; don’t be afraid to throw bad strategies in the bin, do it sooner rather than later. Make a new strategy and focus, doing it this way, you take small steps, learn from you mistakes and avoid diving too deep in the wrong strategy.
These things are for me the corner stone of successfully starting up a business. When your business grows you should gradually roll down your sleeves again. Carefully shift into a more visionary thinking. Do less on your own; instead hire people doing it better than you.
If I had known all the above from start maybe the ride would have been smoother, or maybe there would have been no ride at all? It doesn´t matter how much information you collect or how much you plan. There is no better teacher than just doing it!