Successful start-up entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs: Failure and distrust for victory?


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They have courage and confidence in their idea and they have the ability to master crises not only with ingenuity, but literally turn them into opportunities.

Successful start-up entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs: Failure and distrust for victory? Startup Growth: How to Grow Your Startup with Salesforce


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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Entrepreneurs: The fear of failure

According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, there are about 400.000 start-ups every year in Germany. And many start-ups have only one goal: to grow as fast as possible. But a study by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau shows that about half of all start-ups fail already in the planning phase.

The most common reason: fear of your own failure. What happens there? And how does the growth of successful ones work Company?

Failures are the most important asset

Eric Ries has been in a series Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® described the growth of successful lean start-ups. And show that a startup not only needs a great idea, but also the ability to scale idea and management, so to adapt to growing success.

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Failures are also an important asset for founders. "Anyone who does nothing wrong misses the chance to get better," says the Berlin consultant for start-ups and Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®, Ulrike Rheinberger. Much more dangerous than trying something new, be it out of sheer habit always staying in the same rut. Rheinberger's advice to cushion the failure: collect as many alternative solutions as possible, opt for the best and just try it out.

Do not fret, but act

A piece of advice that Martin Klug practically took to heart when he founded his company TravelEssence: The business idea came from a pub acquaintance and was approached with a lot of blue eyes: "Of course we believed in the quick success, even if the customers and banks initially waved it off", Martin said to me with a grin.

At the same time, however, he learns that as a founder you don't have to put as many obstacles in your way: “There are a lot of things you can influence, such as financing. So instead of worrying about the banks, we focused on the business idea and its implementation. ” With this perseverance and plenty of ingenuity, the two finally convinced the customers.

With Slow Grow to success

Another nice example of how crisis founders can even go one step further has been found in Ireland: downsizing and slow-growing - exactly the way Kieran and Ronan Ganter from Dublin have taken their chauffeur service.

The brothers Kieran and Ronan Ganter founded a chauffeur service in the 90s. At first, her young company grew quite quickly: "Back then we tried to accept every order," reports Kieran. But that meant higher costs, greater dependence on agencies and tour operators and also more organization.

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Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen as customers

When 2008 hit the economic crisis and prices all over Ireland sank, the two radically restructured: they sold the cars and opened a bike rental shop with 20 wheels. This downsizing, initially born out of necessity, brought with it the decisive improvement of the company concept: 2011 sold the two their bicycles and returned to their limousine service - but unlike before:

“We consciously focus on high quality: only two vehicles, but Mercedes instead of VW. Our goal was to provide a high quality service for an appropriate price - and a company that can be managed with fewer employees and less organizational effort, ”Kieran tells me. The decision to opt for quality instead of quantity paid off: Today, Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen are among their customers.

What make successful founders better?

So what makes successful founders better? Above all, as studies and examples show, they have courage and confidence in their idea. And they manage to convince their customers. However, there is a second important point: the ability to handle crises not only with ingenuity, but literally turning them into opportunities. That's exactly what distinguishes successful entrepreneurs.

How important the personality of a business founder is Dr. Christan Lechner, Professor for Business Management and Innovation at the Free University of Bolzano, and discovered three typical traits: successful founders have a good deal of optimism, an increased self-confidence - and a healthy mistrust.

Distrust as a guarantor of success

Lechner has evaluated statistics on StartUps in Iceland with his Icelandic colleague Svein Vidar Gundmundsson. They found that the likelihood of survival of young companies increases when the founders are suspicious, while an excess of optimism and self-esteem have a negative impact.

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Lechner's explanation for this: anyone who distrusts others controls employees and finances more than overly optimistic people. That is precisely what is a decisive survival advantage in the first few years of a company. Lechner sees distrust as another form of exaggerated self-confidence: those who are convinced that everything is better do not trust others.


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