Alignment, Mindset, and the Golden Circle: What a Startup Needs for Take-off
What are the ways emerging startups can ensure early-stage success? This was the topic of our recent discussion with UFOstart. Our COO, Lisa Venter, joined the "UFO to the Moon" talk series and shared some insights from her work and our team's experience.
The talk went into blockchain startup marketing, but many of Lisa's comments apply to any new team just starting off.
The importance of alignment
There was a common theme that emerged throughout the discussion – the topic of team alignment. Lisa pointed out that it's not just a success factor but also a way to make your team more productive. The startup game is stressful, and it becomes harder still if you don't have a shared sense of direction. In this case, teams "run energetically in different directions" but don't achieve much. And they then get frustrated with the lack of results.
"Time and time again, I've seen that teams burn out or get frustrated because they're either spread across too many goals, or they don't have a clear North Star Metric," Lisa explained. It's a pervasive problem, especially at the start when you might need to pivot.
Alignment plays a crucial role in growth experimentation, as well. It all starts with goal-setting: "The whole team needs to be clear on the goals and align the ideas and experiments around that. It makes it clear that you're all on the same mission – be it retention or activation or whatever." Only when you have a clear goal can you set up experiments. And when that moment comes, clarity and alignment continue to play a crucial role. Your experiments need to stem from a clear hypothesis whose results will be laddering up to your main goal.
Mindset over skills
A second topic we touched upon during the conversation was that of growth skills. It's a hot topic, for sure. Startups often focus on acquiring tactical skills, especially if they lack previous entrepreneurship experience.
But Lisa has a different point of view here.
She pointed out that testing innovative growth tactics is necessary, but nothing is as essential as mindset. "You can't change a mindset," she said while pointing out the numerous resources you can acquire skills through.
"Anything can be learned, but if a cofounder or founder is adamant about things being a certain way or they have a set way of working that doesn't promote collaboration [...], then that's just not gonna work."
At Hypergrowth, we assess mindset before we can offer our services to a client. Every new collaboration goes through Lisa, who gets to know new clients better before anyone else on the team. Her initial call is usually geared towards assessing if we have a "mindset fit": what are the team's goals, what is their tolerance for pain and failure, whether growth excites them... We value mindset over skills.
This is also because we can provide any skills lacking when it comes to the growth tactics side. As Lisa pointed out, the only key players we need to work with are the CTO or a CEO/CFO. We can provide experts that "come in, uncover your problem or opportunity and show you how to fix it as they go." We won't offer execution services only but can educate your team when it's time to take growth as an internal practice.
What startups want
Our hosts from UFOstart posed some challenging questions during the talk. The most interesting one was what setbacks we've experienced as a team. Lisa explained we've been updating the way we partner with startups. "The demand [...] is constantly changing, so startups need less full-time growth consultancy and more ad hoc mentoring." This means we need to be an on-call partner rather than just an execution force with well-planned roadmaps.
"They want someone on the phone they can ask real questions before they go into a fundraising meeting or hire anyone."
This realization made us develop different ways of working with clients. We're not just a consultancy; we're a full-scale execution force that adapts to the startup's needs and current priorities.
In blockchain? Go back to the roots.
Our hosts asked what differences we see between blockchain and other industries. Lisa pointed out that "when dealing with blockchain, all traditional marketing rules go out the window."
You can't fully rely on performance marketing or PR anymore. Developing a strong community is one of the best ways forward. And to do that, your startup needs to have a solid reason to exist. "If you're in the blockchain world and you're finding it hard to find your place, go back to the Golden Circle," Lisa advised. Find out what's your core belief or passion and work with that to build your community.
If you haven't thought about that in a while, now's the right moment. Set some time aside today and discuss it with your team. And let us know how we can help you realize your potential!