The ‘start-up’ mentality in business is a type of charismatic entrepreneurship where a talented individual, group or company capture the very essence of an idea or product. Most of us instinctively ‘know’ when we spot such people, products and ideas, and therefore it’s easier to give examples than intricate, analytical descriptions: innovative companies like Apple springs to mind, as do successful business figureheads, such as the late Anita Roddick, Richard Branson and many, many others.
If these examples caused you to think of so-called ‘showbiz’ commerce, that’s not a bad parallel. In terms of live music entertainers, it’s easy to tick off those with a genuine ‘soulful’ commitment to their music, and those however slick, and youthful whose inner thoughts are actually on their bank account. In a similar manner, entrepreneurs with an inner passion and drive make you feel like you’re hearing fresh ideas they have just formulated and can’t wait to explain. Furthermore, in business as in entertainment, career-longevity depends largely on the ability to sustain this approach.
In the UK, the TV entrepreneur/entertainment show par excellence is Dragon’s Den, and it seems fair to say that, to successfully secure “Dragon investment capital”, any would-be entrepreneur with a viable business idea must demonstrate many of the qualities discussed above.
Much further afield, the vibrant Egyptian start-up scene a real-life enactment which mirrors some aspects of Dragon’s Den is in some ways hard to believe. As elsewhere in the Middle East, the Arab Spring has delivered hope and opportunity alongside turmoil and uncertainty. Nevertheless, the buoyant attitude of many entrepreneurs is astonishing.
Such optimists, in the form of ‘accelerators’ new tech start-up investment enterprises have become a feature of the Nile area, and Flat6Labs, launched by former US tech/media investor Ahmed Alfi in collaboration with an Egyptian investment banker, is a typical example. Flat6Labs has supported 12 start-ups in the last year, including Vimov, producers of the world’s best-selling paid-for weather app with almost five million users, and Ogra with their mobile app giving Egyptians a secure and reliable way to arrange a Cairo cab plus a pre-vetted driver.
The so-called ‘start-up’ mentality is clearly very important for entrepreneurs and new businesses, but, perhaps surprisingly, it’s just as vital for established companies and individuals too. Having this mentality allows you to be inspired, make different choices and do things that will allow you to stand out from the crowd, which can lead to your personal definition of success, from industry recognition to having a very healthy bank account. It can positively affect your working and personal life, too, as the happier you are at work, the happier you will be at home.
Never forget to think like a start up, dream big, work hard and make it happen!
Images Via Steven Depolo, shared under a Creative Commons Licence and Walter Lim, shared under a Creative Commons Licence