The Top Reason Start-ups Succeed — Or Fail
Whether you’re transitioning into the managed services market or launching an MSP from scratch, I spotted some timely start-up guidance from Inc. magazine. The article highlights the need for “careful morale management.” But I think you need to take the example one step further and ask yourself: Can you really build a business doing everything by yourself?
According to Inc.’s feature:
“The biggest reason founders stop working on their start-ups is that they get demoralized. Some people seem to have unlimited self-generated morale. These almost always succeed. At the other extreme, there are people who seem to have no ability to do this; they need a boss to motivate them. In the middle there is a large band of people who have some, but not unlimited, ability to motivate themselves. These can succeed through careful morale management (and some luck).”
Do Solo Acts Succeed?
If you apply that example to the managed services market, I’ve noticed another key trait about morale management: Generally speaking, I think many successful MSPs have at least two strong leaders — with clearly defined roles — who build and drive the business forward, and continually motivate each other.
As I’ve discovered here at Nine Lives Media Inc. (parent of MSPmentor), one person can’t do it all. Yes, I think self-motivation is a critical secret to success. But business partners who consistently give each other a morale lift is a huge secret to success.
And if you think about it, many highly successful tech companies have (or had…) two leaders — with clearly defined roles — who continually motivate each other…
- Microsoft: Until recently, both Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates
- Oracle: During the company’s best years, Larry Ellison AND Ray Lane
- Apple: During the start-up stage, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
- Google: Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- Cisco: During the early growth/acquisition years, John Morgridge and John Chambers
Do you always need two people to succeed? Certainly not. And two (or more) leaders who lack clearly defined roles can destroy a business before it even gets started. But I find the secret to great morale — and success — is working with a business partner who knows when to challenge you, when to criticize you, and when to praise you.