Been working with some startups in the last couple of months, via the Seed Hatchery of Launch Your City and also through Emerge Memphis.   While I did most of the teaching/coaching, as always happens in a good coaching relationship, the startups turned the tables on the learning and taught me a few things.

My biggest lesson?  It’s never too early to sit down and define you core ideologies: Core Values, Core Competencies, and Core Purpose.  The sooner you do it the better.

Startups by their very nature are messy.  They have to be.  Ideas and assumptions are challenged every moment.  Partners and investors swap out at the drop of the hat.  Cash flow is nonexistent.  Participants have to pivot, pivot, pivot and pivot.  Then pivot some more.  It’s the nature of the beast.

In the race to get to cash flow, the temptation to try anything is strong and alluring. And can pivot yourself right into ruination.

So the question becomes this:  what keeps the startup between the rails in this myriad of constant pivot, pivot, and more pivot.

Core Values, Core Competencies, Core Purpose.  Define them and don’t pivot from them.

Don’t wait to do this later, it will be more painful and probably more expensive then.  So it at the beginning.

That’s what I’ve learned.

And that is no different than any organization, startup or not.