8 Ways to Cope With Startup Chaos

Entrepreneurship is a journey of constant reinvention. Change is the only thing guaranteed and a spirit of openness required.

As an entrepreneur, change is a part of daily life. You have to be true to your vision, but open to change "how" you will actually realize that vision or solve the problem at hand. You might surprise yourself in creating something better than you ever imagined! Yet this is easier said than done though, as sometimes it is hard to let go of what you worked so hard to create and take a new direction.

As someone on the verge of a third pivot in her startup, I finally get why the saying goes “fail fast.” It is easy to get attached to your idea or vision, but important to know when it is time to figure out another way. This does not mean in any way giving up, but rather create once again.

Change can be hard to manage and accept, both on a personal level and on a team based level. After spending years as a Change Leadership consultant, I find it ironic how difficult it was to apply my own advice in my startup. Some things to consider as you ride the wave of change in your startup:

Be Open To Change:

Whether you are a founder or a team member part of a startup, change is going to be a part of your daily existence. Having an open mindset to adjust accordingly will be key to survival. As a founder, “how” you will achieve your vision may change many times, and as a team member your direction for tasks at hand may fluctuate regularly. Good, hard, brilliant, work may need to be reworked multiple times to meet the needs of your customers or to develop the best solution.

Know Your “Why”:

Don’t change things or direction for the sake of change, but rather to better address your “why”. Your initial solution may not synch with your customers’ needs, may not get you the traction you needed, or may just clearly not address the problem you set out to solve in the first place. If you and your team have a solid foundational understanding of “why” you set off to solve this problem, create this product, or what have you, it makes it a lot easier to redefine and adjust your plan as you move forward. Never lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.  

Cut Your Losses And Move On:

It is easy to get sucked into the sunk costs of your startup efforts and regrets on not getting things right in the first place. If you focus on the past and on things lost, you can never move forward. Instead, embrace the lessons, apply them, and keep making necessary adjustments until you and your team find what works.

Lead The Change For Your Team:

Change is hard, thus successful adoption of any change comes with strong leadership. Acknowledge all the hard work everyone has done to date and build the case for change as to why things need to be different in order to succeed. Roll up your sleeves and help your team stay energized to keep pushing forward to an optimal solution.

Celebrate Little Successes:

Give yourself and your team a pat on the back as you realize the benefits of taking things in a new direction. Recognize your team’s efforts and their ability to be flexible when it mattered most.

Remember Change Is Constant:

In any new company change will be constant; There may be multiple pivots, high periods of growth, new team members, the need to enter new markets, and more. Your ability to succeed along with that of your team will depend on your ability to adapt to the changes necessary efficiently and as seamlessly as possible.

Embrace Your Personal Growth And Change:

A founder’s journey is not for the faint of heart. There will be periods of euphoric highs and epic lows. Who you were at the start of your journey will evolve as you strive to reach your destination. Critical to your journey will be staying true to your values and your “why”, as that may be the only constant you are able to hold onto.

Change Is Fun:

If you wanted the predictable path, you would not be in a startup in any capacity. Having the freedom to create, innovate, and build something from nothing is all part of the fun-might as well enjoy the crazy ride!

So if you are looking for any kind of guarantee in your startup journey, you can definitely count on change on every level. Be open to what the journey unfolds.