How to be a Successful Founder

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A couple of years ago, I remember a friend once asked me.

“Why can’t I see myself running a business?”

Back then, as someone who doesn’t have a heart in business nor an entrepreneurial DNA, I just replied with a shallow response. 

“Maybe that path is not for you.” However, growing up, I understood that being a good founder doesn’t depend on whether it is made for you or not. 

It’s not a dilemma on whether you choose the right path or not, but a dilemma on what to do to be a successful founder. Establishing a startup is not as easy as we see in movies, it requires a lot of courage, dedication, and investment. 

In this article, let us delve into the depths of how to become a true and successful founder.


Drivers of a Successful Founder

  1. A clear vision in mind

  • In bridging the gap between your dreams and reality, you should be able to develop your vision and connect every single dot necessary to achieve your end goal. Your vision should not originate from magical thinking, as stated in the article “The magical thinking that misleads managers” by Andrew Hill from Financial Times, “any chief executive who has ever announced a corporate vision without a clear idea of the kinds of steps needed to achieve the goal is at least partly guilty of magical thinking.”

Therefore, as a founder developing a vision, you must always examine every angle and ensure that it can be achieved realistically. Imagine laying down a non-viable vision then expecting your employees to deliver it perfectly, sounds overtaxing, doesn’t it? 

A true and successful founder should be able to see things clearly even in a bigger picture. Not only because it allows you to be competitive but also because you need to safeguard your stakeholders. 


  1. Ready to Pro-PEL

  • Plan, Execute, and Learn.

When presenting in a meeting, a successful founder doesn’t rely too much on the reports and write-ups made by other people. They do it themselves.

One of the traits that a founder must learn is to develop a mindset that goes like “what I want, I do it, and I learn from it.” From planning down to the execution stage, a founder must be consistent enough to be involved and get things done. It doesn’t just show your leadership side but also allows the people around you to know how committed you are.

Soon enough, this trait will allow you and your business to propel and conquer the heights of competition in a more diverse environment, outside your bubble.


  1. Develop smart skills

Being a startup founder requires not only your critical thinking but also your skills. These skills are necessary for you and the team to see the bright future ahead despite the roadblocks and challenges that might hamper your success. Check out these skills and assess yourself, now!

  1. Be choosy

  • One of those skills that Verizon Company identified was the ability to make smart and wise hiring choices. Be demanding when choosing the people that will help you go beyond your set expectations. Establishing your startup with people that lack skills and knowledge in the field may pose a threat that might push you behind instead of pulling you up.

Be wise and to be safe enough, conduct first thorough research about your applicants, scan their CVs, have their background checked, and then make a tough judgment. It is one way of filtering your potential employees and discarding unbeneficial ones to be able to properly select the cream of the crop.

  1. Be RISKcilient!

  • Another skill that you need to practice to be a successful founder is to be able to take smart risks. Startups aren’t formed on a leveled and even pavement, it has a lot of potholes that can cause you damage if you’re not careful and aware. If you are smart enough, try to maneuver and direct your team into a different path. However, in doing so, you need to make sure that the path you are taking isn’t leading you to a dead-end road.

No one’s going to extend you a hand right there.

When taking a risk, always make sure that you are choosing the option that will best benefit your business. If you have already brought your idea into a reality, do not be afraid to take risks as it is already a risk that you finally surpassed.

“Risk-taking shows a team that the entrepreneur is a true business visionary and leader who believes in the potential reward on the other side. Risk-taking enables and encourages innovation, which can be an important product/service differentiator.” This is according to Wharton Online “Is Risk-Taking Behavior Key to Entrepreneurial Spirit?


  1. Be prepared

  • Even if you’re a newbie in business or a veteran with years of experience, we must admit that no matter how comprehensive your plans are, not everything falls into place. There is always that one area we aren’t expecting to be on a red mark and that is a by-product of ‘uncertainties.’

Uncertainties exist to let us know how to be resilient. Successful founders are those that do not easily lose their grasp despite several failed attempts, instead, they became more driven and powered by those failures.  As the blog about the “Traits of Successful Founders” stated,  “successful founders stay resilient and optimistic amidst challenges and setbacks they meet.” 

Resilience and preparedness come hand in hand in building up a competitive start of your business venture.


  1. Try, Try, and Try again

  • Having a successful startup cannot be done overnight, it is a never-ending process of persisting and achieving something positive in return. Let us all admit, there is always that phase where we feel stagnant and everything seems to fall behind. Every time that happens, the first thing that we need to abolish is the mere thought that we’re doing fine when we are not. Acknowledge it first, develop the solution and then try again. 

Even if it means doing it all over again from scratch, do it. Do it until the worthwhile ones come your way. Forget all those hearsays, be stubborn and just continue bridging your dreams into reality. Other people won’t do it for you.

As John Oringer, Founder and Executive Chairman of Shutterstock said, “You’ll rarely get it right the first time. Be prepared to work hard, do your best, and start it all over again from scratch.”


  1. Be contagious

  • By contagious, we do not mean coronavirus, but a strong company culture. With all the talented people bound together, it is important that they remain motivated and given boundless opportunities where they can showcase their full potential. The culture that was being practiced inside the four corners of the offices serves as the soul of the company. 

According to Peter Ashworth’s “Why Company Culture is So Important to Business Success” published on LinkedIn, “Your culture is the formula, the primary platform to inspiring and motivating your people, and is the most powerful resource you have to attract, recruit, hire and retain the highest level of talent to your business.” 

With all the businesses and companies operating and with the presence of competition all over the circle, establishing an inclusive environment and fostering a valuable culture within the organization will serve as your differentiator among the other companies and will make it easy to create coordinated efforts between your employees.

Nowadays, with an ongoing pandemic, it is difficult to maintain relationships and constant communication between colleagues and customers, in particular. 

Founderphone lets you abolish that problem and still allows you to build a solid relationship with your customers through SMS and calls, directly from Slack. 

Don’t forget to visit the link and start building your connections!


  1. Acknowledge your weaknesses

  • Acknowledging just your strengths won’t do you any good. Capitalize on your weaknesses and invest in good thinking to turn them into a substantial asset to your startup. Building yourself up to be a true founder entails a lot of effort in understanding every single detail that runs within your organization, including the unflattering ones. 

Of course, you can take it the way others take it, negatively. However, you cannot be in that same boat for a very long time. You should continue to paddle and think about how to transform those weaknesses into strengths. Do not choose to be trapped in something when you know you can go out.

As stated in the “Turn your weaknesses into strengths – acknowledge and manage them (part 2)” published on Strengths Driven Career, “the acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss.” Your weaknesses do not define if you’ll succeed or not, rather, a disguise that will take out your inner strengths to surpass major waves coming your way.

Starting up with just your mere idea and own hustle is as difficult as it may seem. Sometimes, we cannot get the support we need either financially or emotionally. There will always be a moment where we’ll unintentionally stop what we are doing and think, “Is this path really meant for me?”

However, at times when everything is going against your plans, having the dilemma of whether you took the right path or not, is not the right approach to take. Build your confidence and identify what area is problematic and begin with it. Take it one step at a time.

We must remember that stressing over it won’t make us successful – efforts will. 

People won’t bring you the profit – you will.

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