How to start a startup (unorthodox version) – Part 9

9. Find partners, not enemies

Another common issue among startups. Because everyone believe their ideas are so unique, inevitably they have this ‘me against the world’ mindset gradually ingrained in their thinking.

No, you need partners. Even Google, Facebook and Apple need partners. If you look at the left side of the business model canvas, hey, there is ‘key partners’! It’s much easier to find your niche too if you try to figure out how you can complement other players or competitors in the same field.

It’s funny there is so little discussion around ‘merger and acquisition’ of early stage startups. Or at a lower level, ‘failed’ entrepreneurs joining a similar startup. These are critical questions to be answered. But before that day arrives, you should find partners, not enemies.

Another good test is, ask yourself, would I be a good acquisition target for one of the existing players if this thing does take off? If so, why? If not, why not? On one extreme, it’s nice to build something that would fit nicely into a bigger scheme of things. But on the other, if this makes so much sense, why are the bigger players not doing it themselves? Again, this is not about crushing your dream, this is about validating what you are trying to achieve. Yes, big companies have much more resources than you can ever imagine but they also have a little something called inertia. Be smart but be bold.

Part 10: Align your expectations

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