Building a small company is hard.
You don’t have the money. You don’t have the people. You don’t have the experience. You don’t have the reputation. You don’t have the customers. And you certainly don’t have the business thing worked out.
There are few people to help you and fewer people to blame if you go wrong. And if you’re going into creating a business for the first time, every challenge every business has ever faced still feels new and scary and chaotic and world-ending.
If you’re going to stay alive, you need to keep your effort, your courage, and your ingenuity alive.
Suck it up and admit it – you need an inspirational speech every now and then.
1. Product Launch Day | President Whitmore’s Speech, Independence Day
You’re about to introduce a new, untested thing to the world, and you’re hoping people will pay you for it. You’re probably going to need a change of pants after today.
This is the most nerve-wracking and glorious thing you’ve done. One small mistake and you could fail. But if everything goes right, you will make it as company (…. 10 years down the line).
You are about to launch your make and break effort. Go in with your whole heart and mind and don’t let your nerves stop you.
2. When You Realize You’ve Got a Long Way to Go | Samwise the Brave Speech, The Two Towers
You’ve launched your product. It felt great – for about one day.
Then you realized that you’re going to have to spend the next year slogging through bugs and service issues and scalability improvements and user experience tweaking.
Products are never ready at launch, and the best battle plans don’t survive first contact with the enemy. This is going to be discouraging, and you’re going to have to face it and work through it every day.
That’s what the people in the great stories do. And that’s what you’re going to do. This video will come in handy about a year into that process.
3. When Your Bigger, Richer Competitor Releases a Rival Product | St. Crispin’s Day Speech, Henry V
We’ve all been there. How do you compete with a company that has more financial backing, more people, and more connections?
A little grit goes a long way. Your people are going to have to work harder and longer and more unconventionally. Remind them what the struggle means and why your band of brothers will conquer with this classic Shakespearean underdog speech.
4. When Everything Is Going to Hell| The Black Gate Speech, The Return of the King
You’re going to have days that feel like last stands. Your customers are knocking down the door with complaints and issues. The media seems like it’s out to get you. The world has discounted you as a lost cause. And your team members are starting to lose hope.
You have to take a step back and remind yourself that it won’t end. Or at least, not today it won’t.
I bid you stand, men (and women) of the startup world.
You are never done with growing a company. But you may reach the day when you have done all you can do. If you have left the company better than you have found it, and if you have done your best, you have won.
You won’t need an inspirational speech for that day. Until then, go back to the words that inspire you to look beyond the struggle to the ideal at the end.