If you are engaged in end of the calendar year angst about the future of your Startup, take a Walkabout.
The term “walkabout” refers to a rite of passage for male Australian Aborigines which might last for periods up to six months. The rite: living in the wilderness and essentially taking a Big Break from Everything.
Everyone needs a Walkabout, even if you are not Australian, male or aboriginal.
When you take a big break from everything, you certainly have an opportunity to gain Context and Perspective: about yourself, your tribe, your venture. Your Situation.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that you, and your team, are getting sucked into Startup Myopia, take a big step away from yourselves. Then take another big step. And so on until you start to see all the moving parts which are required to move your startup forward. Or not.
Taking a Walkabout is a Big Picture exercise.
What will you take on your Walkabout? Rather, what will you leave behind so that you rely on the simplest of survival tools? My first suggestion: leave all your Devices at home.
A Startup Walkabout provides you with nothing less than the Minimum Viable Context for your startup. You either have one or you don’t, after all the activity and hoopla and passion and pitching.
A Startup Walkabout allows you to focus on what really matters to your customers, not your investors. Things become far simpler when you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and take a walkabout around.
Your startup may provide much-needed perspective and context for your customers. You aren’t able to perceive their perspective when you have too much on your startup To-Do list.
Your startup may be trying to solve a far too complicated problem. The solution may be far more streamlined and clean than you and your team originally thought.
Your startup may be over-engineered, rather than elegant and straight-forward.
Your startup may not really be all that viable in the first place. Perhaps a pivot is called for.
A Startup Walkabout allows you and your team to clear out all the “noise” that’s going on inside your heads: self-doubt, over-scheduling, and feedback from critics and pundits which may be more self-serving on their part than it is constructive to you.
A Startup Walkabout results in your identifying the biggest Milestone you need to achieve: the one that tips the dominoes in favor of your startup’s viability and future funding.
A Startup Walkabout allows you to divide your valuation runway into shorter, bite-sized chunks which may be more realistic, feasible and achievable.
Put your hands over your heads, step away from your devices, and walk away for a while. I guarantee you will clear your head and gain much-needed perspective and context.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She creates revenue-producing collaboration strategies with non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups.