While we live in a vastly different world than our ancestors, human nature
In this article, we will explore seven Greek proverbs and elucidate their relevance to the challenges and opportunities faced by startup founders.
1. “It’s sweet to view the sea when standing on the shore.”
When you decide to dive into a new startup project, it’s crucial to know what you are getting into. It’s easy to romanticize startups when you are standing on the sidelines but the reality of the day-to-day life of a startup founder could be very different than what inexperienced entrepreneurs expect. In a few words, success is unlikely, and a real work-life balance is extremely hard to achieve when you’re trying to build something new from zero.
This proverb reminds startup founders to approach their ventures with a balance of enthusiasm and caution. While it’s exhilarating to dream big and set sail into uncharted territories, it’s equally important to assess risks and plan for contingencies.
2. “It is not possible to step twice into the same river.”
This particular proverb has gained popularity in the West in recent years because it illustrates beautifully the fact that in life often the only constant thing is change. This is true for business projects as well – markets, technologies, and consumer preferences are in a perpetual state of flux. This is why there are opportunities for startup projects in the first place.
With this in mind, however, it’s important to realize that imitating the success of other people is almost impossible simply because your circumstances are likely very different. So, in order to succeed you need to be agile and adaptable.
This proverb serves as a reminder that successful startup founders are those who anticipate and navigate change.
3. “Too many opinions sink the boat.”
Startup founders often face a barrage of advice and opinions from various stakeholders. While seeking input is essential, succumbing to an overload of conflicting advice can lead to confusion and indecision. And in a fast-paced ever-changing environment, indecision is often as deadly as making the wrong decision.
This proverb underscores the importance of balancing seeking guidance and maintaining a clear, focused vision in order to be able to be decisive and to act confidently.
4. “It is difficult to argue with the belly, as it has no ears.”
In the world of entrepreneurship, actions speak louder than words. This proverb highlights the significance of tangible results over promises and justifications. Startup founders must deliver on their commitments and demonstrate their capabilities through measurable achievements. It’s your track record that builds your reputation, not your ability to come on top in a conversation.
Investors, customers, and partners value concrete outcomes, making it crucial for founders to prioritize execution and deliver value consistently.
5. “It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good.”
Startup founders often extol their vision and aspirations, but their credibility lies in their actions. Building a successful startup demands a strong work ethic, integrity, and the ability to translate intentions into impactful outcomes.
This proverb yet again emphasizes that founders must prioritize tangible accomplishments and ethical practices to earn the respect and trust of their stakeholders.
6. “You can tell who the good seamen are during a storm.”
Entrepreneurship is rife with storms. Like seasoned sailors who showcase their expertise during turbulent seas, successful startup founders shine brightest when navigating through adversity. At the end of the day, the people who are able to navigate the hard times effectively would be the ones who find success.
7. “The camel can’t see her own hump.”
Finally, while it is important to trust your own judgment because “Too many opinions sink the boat.”, it is crucial to take into consideration the feedback of all relevant stakeholders in order to gain valuable perspectives different from your own.
This proverb serves as a reminder for startup founders to practice self-awareness and carefully follow the feedback of the market. Just as a camel cannot see its own hump, founders may have blind spots that hinder their ability to make informed decisions. Seeking feedback, mentoring, and diverse viewpoints can help founders identify their strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to make more well-rounded, strategically sound choices.