You Thought I was Obstacle; But I am Prospect. Heckin' Bamboozled!
This week, we’ve been the lucky hosts of a glorious little slice of chocolate cake called Duke. Always in search for a ball to chase or a treat to chew, Duke has always managed to give us a lot more than we gave him. With spontaneous tummy rubs crammed into coffee breaks, stress has been at an all-time low, and the little games of catch packed a lot more than exercise; they made us look away.
Duke got us thinking about ourselves a lot, usually around the time we thought we used up to play a simple game of catch, and we couldn’t resist writing about it.
Here’s what Duke taught us:
1. It’s never too late to change what you’re building.
Ask yourself this; why is Duke giving us the ball if all he really wants is the ball? And if Duke doesn’t like the ball, why does he go to great lengths to get it?
Running a startup is a lot like having a dog. You don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into until it hits you in the face with a half-chewed notebook. And most of the time, you’re pretty happy about it.
In chasing objectives, we get up close and personal with our obstacles, and we get a better view of what works and what doesn’t. Most of the time, it’s okay to chase a different ball. No startup is without change. In fact, startups change too fast for most people to keep up. Much like Duke – and his ball – a startup always runs off after a butterfly or a hamster when you’re not looking; and much like Duke – and his ball – it’s not always a bad thing.
2. It’s okay to pause and think about where you stand in the market.
These last couple of months got us thinking a lot about the ball, and what it really means for us as decision makers at an emerging company. For instance, how do you decide which ball to chase, and when do you know when you’re chasing the right ball?
Most people are faced with the same problem; they run out of ideas. They think about something for so long that it becomes a wall around them, caging them in with flawless reasoning and risk statistics. But what would you do if you had a great idea about that thing you thought was a great idea in the first place…would you chase that ball?
Working on our first e-commerce venture in the region; the hours fall off the clock as we strive to align with emerging standards, add new functionalities and achieve our dream of building the perfect e-marketplace. And all those hours are hard to replace in favor of a new idea, even if it’s bigger, better and more chewy.
Duke doesn’t agree. He thinks every ball is worth a game of catch. He is not afraid of where it might take him, even when it slides under the desk of that scary guy who doesn’t like him very much.
And we’ve played so many games of catch, we now think so too!
3. It’s okay to miss some deadlines.
In his little flights of fancy, Duke often got carried away with his ball that he lost sense of time. For hours, that ball was the most important thing in the world. For hours, he chased it around. And for hours, he was surprised when it bounced back up at him.
Much like Duke, we got a little caught up in all the action. Dates came and went as we poured over our product, building it up and breaking it into shape; changing deadlines and rethinking decisions. Many startups experience this; time stops at a detail, a patch, a new feature or a better design. And many startups blame themselves for letting it get the best of them.
But what if Duke was right, and the ball WAS worth the best of them?
We believe in the power of the little things. Startups are made of possibilities; as long as you still have them, you’re doing just fine. No time spent improving your product is time wasted, and no date missed making changes is worth the rush. Rome was not built in a day, and ultimately, your customers will respond to your efforts because people around the world share one thing; they would rather wait for something great than get something good.
4. It’s okay to take the leap.
For days, Duke loitered at the edge of the ball pool, too scared to jump in. A puppy still, he feared the fall and wasn’t sure if he could get out again. But what dog can stand idly by at the sight of a ball pool?
It took him three days to finally jump in, and now our employees are jumping in after him.
Being behind the steering wheel of an entire company of people; things can get a little stationary times. How do you know you’re making the right decision for everyone involved? It’s a huge responsibility, and it often gets us marching in place like our lives depended on it.
When it gets stationary, it becomes infinitely important to get things moving again. You cannot walk a startup, you can only run it, and most of the time, it responds to the rush of life with infinite possibility and even better results.
5. It’s okay to be scared sometimes.
Thanks to Duke, we not only see the ball, we also see the courage it took to dig it out of the ball pool.
Running a startup is a constant onslaught of big, hard decisions. And sometimes, the hardest decision to make is to change the ball. That fear factor has stopped several startups from reaching their full potential, and caused even more startups to lose sight of what they were building in the first place.
But the ball is worth it, and we are committed to chasing it.
Big changes are underway for elprices, and we are excited to launch on a higher note this October; with a new concept that will help people do what they do best – shop online!
What changes have you had to adapt to in your startup? Tell us all about it in the comments!