Entrepreneur – a fancy word, isn’t it? But what does it really mean?
Developing a business model is not just it. There is so much more to take into account and, as decorative as the term appears, it involves risk, passion, innovation and much more. A start-up, such as Carmudi, an online car dealer, lives through this experience every day.
Here are five key insights from Carmudi’s co-founder and global managing director, Stefan Haubold, about its company culture that start-ups could adapt to:
1. No ‘superiority’ complexes
Especially in a start-up, it is essential that you keep a flat hierarchy, convey the need of taking responsibility in every staff member and work with everyone on one level. I don’t sit in a private office behind a glass door. It’s important that we are all accessible to each other. Leadership is determined by knowledge and not by the amount of time spent in an office. Fancy business titles are less important. They only serve outbound communication.
2. Get your hands dirty
Pleasant or unpleasant – you have to deal with every aspect of your job. Being part of a start-up, you have to build everything from ground upwards. And if that means stepping out of your comfort zone or doing things beyond your function, then so be it. We do what needs to be done. Everybody has to step in and support where it is needed to make things work. The idea is to help the company grow and establish itself on the market. Believe in its success.
3. Mediocrity is a sin
You need to challenge yourself and think outside the box every day. Excellence comes with perseverance. And persevere you must in a start-up. Don’t get bogged down by little failures. We do fail once in a while. That is part of the job, but it only shows that we are willing to take risks and stand behind a decision. Failures help you excel in the future. Be aware that the work you do, however marginal you think it is, will add up to the big picture.
4. Speed thrills
No matter how efficiently you think you work, competition never sleeps. If you don’t have resources, bootstrap your way to success. We, at Carmudi, are very hands on and result orientated: less meetings, less emails, more direct communication. Too many emails distract you from responsibilities and prevent you from the actual work. We make our decisions fast and don’t waste resources in making fancy power-point presentations. It’s all about execution.
5. Cheer up
It is crucial that you enjoy what you do. Don’t be a grumpy cat. Of course, there will be days when some things won’t work out, but that’s where the spirit of entrepreneurship kicks in. You still show up, perform your duties and get through the day. Highs and lows are part of the journey. However, having a creative mind in the company does help. And Carmudi has plenty. You simply must enjoy your work. Cars fascinate us; building up new markets all over the world even more.