Why startups need to develop patience

There’s long been an unwritten but omnipresent law in the startup scene: The faster, the further, the higher, the better. Everybody seems to agree. I don’t. I’d even call it a fatal and wrong approach. In a world of ever-accelerating digital evolution, it may seem compelling to just keep up this short-live pace of the processing speed around us. But what sales cycles really need to be successful in the long run is one thing: Patience. The sublime virtue of patience should be firmly fixed in every startups’ DNA. That is, if they aim for more than just a quick exit.

Man relaxing and fishing by lakeside, California, USA

Slow down to speed up

At first glance, it may sound paradox to claim that deceleration leads back to acceleration and lasting success. But just remember the old saying “Slow down to speed up.”: Let’s transfer that thought to startup sales process strategy. Though digitization both encourages and calls for fast processes, that speed shouldn’t apply to all steps of the sales funnel. Especially in B2B, it’s not uncommon for the sales cycle to take longer than expected. Speed doesn’t necessarily help here. Pressure doesn’t, either. Put patience may. My advice: As soon as a lead becomes a prospect, startups should decelerate and invest time in the customer relationship. It’ll be worthwhile.

Particularly in sales situations, a proper dialogue with your counterpart will create a momentum of mutual respect. Pay attention to people’s goals and topics like you would do in a private conversation. Exchange views to find common grounds for both sides to grow from. Empathy is a powerful business tool. Ultimately, these grounds will favor a long term collaboration- even beyond the business side. And here’s the paradox: This leisurely pace is likely to accelerate and smooth out your sales process and closing. That’s because in the startup world, you’re not only dealing with numbers, but also with people. By appreciating your business partners individual needs and views, you’re establishing a certain brand image for yourself, too. And you are able to offer unique made-to-measure-solutions nobody else can.

Startups need to be open for and respectful in the common dialogue to be taken seriously

Of course, that approach requires a certain mindset: Startups need to be open for and respectful in the common dialogue to be taken seriously. Being cooperative as well as staying curious all the time can be immensely helpful to succeed forming a partnership between the startup and established companies. In the end, both sides can only benefit from the exchange of knowledge and experience.

Medium-sized businesses as well as full grown industries are facing existential challenges in the age of digital transformation. Receiving support via innovative technology can be the key to accelerated, future-proof growth. On the other hand, startups make good sparring partners, too: They can profit from their business partners’ experience and internal structures. A win-win-situation. Although real company affiliation may be often short in this very dynamic and volatile times, the relationships will often outlast various business cards. In a nutshell: Lasting economic success relies on a good network.

By the way, there is another positive advantage of slowing the pace from time to time: Stopping, reflecting and optimizing processes effectively helps identifying and avoiding problems in the future. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Von Lorenz Hartung | 04.03.2020 | Entrepreneurship Venture Capital

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