Saving ‘Startup’ Ryan!

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Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of Steven Spielberg and his war movies and TV series, and Saving Private Ryan has been my most favored movie ever. It’s not just the story, direction, actors and the acting but also the making of the film that has enthralled me. I’m always amused and awed by the complications and the skill involved in planning and executing a business and I think in many ways it can be likened to making a hit movie.

So much research and groundwork is involved in starting a business that I, being an entrepreneur, relate movie making to any normal business because, I believe, even to set up a pavement vegetable stand/stall, a grocer needs as much research and planning as a production unit of a multi-million dollar movie does – the difference being in the amount of money and time but not in the strategy.

And I call this post “Saving ‘startup’ Ryan” because, if Ryan is taken as a straying startup, he is to be saved and brought back to his business home. So if we draw analogies to the film storyline, there have already been three startups who started with the same product or service dead, and the business world, like the mother of the Ryans who received the death news of three of her sons the same time, can’t afford to lose the fourth one.

So, like the top brass in Washington DC who decided to send a rescue team to bring back Private Ryan who was supposed to be missing in action, I, as is the case with my peers, want to find and bring straying startups back on track. As America needed brave soldiers like Private Ryan, and finding them and bringing them back were to boost the public morale, the business world needs businesspersons like Startup Ryan to keep our economy marching forward.

We are now better equipped to deal with any situation before it gets out of hand than those WWII generals who lacked all the cutting edge technology we have now. Therefore, by advising in advance, we can have our Startup Ryan within our sight and, if he’s lost for one reason or the other, we can get him back without much damage done to his enterprise, provided he’s willing.

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of taking opinion of the public, the customers and clients, into consideration. In this post I dole out some tips as to how to get a stray startup business back on track.

I like the lines “People think business is “Shark Tank”. Real business is more like “Tuna Tank.” in James Altucher’s The Best Advice Ever To A Teenage Daughter Who Needs To Make Money article.

It’s true that most of us are paranoid; we are biased. No business is a shark tank provided you follow certain steps seriously and sincerely. If your dealings are wrong or not in line with your product or service, you make your business a shark tank, but if you know how to adjust to the business environment you are in, you can make it a tuna tank and reap the best catch!

Something else James Altucher also said is very thought-provoking: “The greatest miracle on this planet is that a small cloud can block the sun.” How true! Lack of simple knowledge or a different perspective can frighten you from taking a plunge, which if given some serious thought or if looked from a different perspective makes all the difference, like the sun shines right in your face once the small cloud is blown away by a gust of wind.

Problem Solving

Furthermore, as a small insect appears like a giant monster when we look at it through a magnifying glass so does a minor problem or a simple glitch looks like a major obstacle which can ruin the entire enterprise when we look at it without really understanding it.

Albert Einstein is said to have quoted: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” That’s it! To solve a problem we need a higher level of thinking, and if we don’t have it because we are at the initial stage, we borrow it from those who have enough knowledge in such dealings. It’s as simple as that.

Some of the team assigned to find Private Ryan were killed, still the mission continued. The Captain of the troop was critically wounded and died before the mission was accomplished, yet the mission was not aborted. Concentrate on the problem; not on the result because when you start solving a problem, you may face several hitches and you may have to approach it from different angles, and eventually one of the angles shows you the right way and you’re sure to solve the problem and get positive results, but if you have some fixed result in mind and try to find a solution to get to that, you may not find it at all and, over the time, you may be driven to despair and give up your trials altogether.

Glenn Llopis, contributor for Forbes, wrote in one of his articles – The 4 Most Effective Ways Leaders Solve Problems that “Problems keep mounting so fast that we find ourselves taking short-cuts to temporarily alleviate the tension points” and he mentioned Karl Popper, one of the most influential 20th century philosophers of science, as saying: “All life is problem solving.”

How right they were! Therefore, we should not try to find temporary solutions, nor should we abandon some enterprise because we have problems; we got to find ways to solve them… by hook or crook. And there are several people who can lend a helping hand. What all you need is to find the right one.

Karsten Strauss, Forbes Staff, made this point clear in his article – 7 Ways To Save Your Sinking Company, by saying that some companies are on the wrong track because of flawed strategy, incompetent management or even a couple of simple glitches, and that such companies need some expert to get in and make big decisions to change course.

Yes, we often need somebody, like our aunts, uncles or friends, to get involved and to point out our misgivings to straighten up a strained relationship. They help us to realise our mistakes and encourage us to make a decision which we have been hesitating to make, or, in some extreme cases, they even make bold decisions on our behalf, sparing us the embarrassment of admitting our shortcomings before others.

When it comes to investment, Levi King, contributor, CEO and Co-founder of Creditera, seconded my idea of having a ‘business credit’ not tied to a personal credit for business expenses in his 11 Easy Ways to Save Your Business Big Bucks on Entrepreneur by saying: “One of the biggest mistakes that new businesses make is only using personal credit for business expenses….” Though it sounds risky, have some sort of ‘business credit’ so that you can have access to more financing at better rates.

Unexpected issues prop up while we are at a task, but only the ones with the right mind-set accomplish the task.

What are you – a weakling that gives up midway or a racer that makes to the finish-line?

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