During one of my recent workshops I moderated a small panel discussion in which we had a very senior and experienced entrepreneur in the panel. His parting advise to the group of young entrepreneurs was “Expect everything to go wrong”
Post the panel, I was wondering over what that statement could mean to us and why a senior entrepreneur would share that as his parting words. In a very round about way what he said just meant “Experiment!”
When a group of people come together with some common expectations and assumptions, and venture into the unknown together, they are called entrepreneurs. There is risk inherent in the expectations and by nature assumptions are anyways risks. Hence Startups are basically experiments.
When you start an experiment you don’t have specific expectations in mind. You normally tend to have broad directions and hope to be surprised. As you keep experimenting anything that arises other than what you know becomes a finding. A moment of surprise. Pursuing these findings unearths the hidden. Finding them gives you wow!
If we look at a startup from this angle, the journey of entrepreneurship could become fun and enjoyable. The moment we try and bring in detailing to our expectations, the surprise does not lead to AHA moments. Anything that deviates from the expectation is seen as a risk. Achieving the expected results is seen as the only yardstick of success.
When you perform an experiment you are curious as to what could be the actual result. When you perform an experiment you are agile to the results of your experiments, adapting, changing and modifying your next attempt. When you perform an experiment you are resilient to the instant of failure, only to experiment again. When you perform an experiment, you are energized by the instant of success only to plod further on.
It is this attitude of experimentation that start-ups must have. And only this attitude will allow the start-ups to bloom into the next stage.