When you start a company, there is no limit to how big a future you can envision; but usually, you lack the resources to turn that vision into a business.
To close that gap, you have to be great at sales. And the sales pitch you must deliver over and over again is different for each kind of person whose support your venture needs. For example, to attract talent, you need a different sales pitch than the one you would deliver to potential investors.
Regardless of the recipient of your sales pitch, what you have to offer is intangible. I call it emotional currency. And it comes in three different bundles — all of which fall under the broad conceptual umbrella of goals.
Before getting into why each of these are different and important for your startup’s success, let’s examine the concept of emotional currency. Since startups can’t pay high salaries, how do they attract and retain top talent? The answer is to make talented people feel that they are working on a very challenging problem in an environment that respects their ability to solve it.
Big companies, driven by the need for efficiency, are unable to provide meaning to individual employees the way startups can. This means the individual workers must fit within a corporate process in which new ideas are often considered unwelcome. Because you are starting a new company, you can decide to create a work environment that top talent will find more meaningful.
In order to mint such emotional currency, you must choose the right mission for your startup. Such a mission should tie together your values and passion to help potential employees, customers, and investors understand why your startup exists.
For example, Delphix, a Silicon Valley startup that built a system to help app developers get their products to market faster was able to come up with a mission that helped its CEO, Jed Yueh, recruit engineers who have leading design experience.
Yueh believes that the key to recruiting this top talent is to create an environment that allows them to work on the hardest engineering problems. More specifically, he believes a startup can recruit top talent if it satisfies three criteria:
- Going after a significant market opportunity that will enable the company to reach $1 billion in sales
- The product delivers a huge benefit to customers — what I call a quantum value leap — that can be measured in 100 percent to 1,000 percent benefit improvements to customers
- Delivering on that promise requires solving a complex and difficult engineering challenge
The lesson: Choose a mission for your startup that you and the talent you want to hire will find deeply meaningful.
Adapted from How to Set the Right Goals for Your Business
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