Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way, but startup CEOs are a lot like architects. They both are mapping out a building strategy. One happens to be creating a physical structure and the other a business structure, but they’re both are using similar thinking patterns. Let’s look at a few examples.
1. Visionary Creativity
Both architects and startup CEO's operate with an inventor’s spirit.They enjoy creating innovative solutions. An architect doesn’t drive around town looking for buildings to copy; he looks for inspiration. What could I do differently?How can I contribute value to society? What new concept can I use to make this building more useful to its users and more friendly to the environment? In the same way, the startup CEO is looking for that same kind of inspiration,which will make his business concept unique & valuable.
2. Insight Into Their Client
An architect doesn’t design buildings for himself, he has a specific client whom he is working to please. He must learn to think like his client. The same is true for the startup CEO. He must put on the mindset of his target customer and learn to look at things from that perspective instead of his own. What price point will they be comfortable with? What do they value most – Convenience? Quality?
3. Strategic Planning
Both the architect and the startup CEO must start with the big picture goal and then develop a plan to achieve the final results. They both understand that designing the proper foundation is critical to the long term life of the project. Each do their related research to make sure that all challenges are addressed in their plan. Both are familiar with the need to pivot and change direction when circumstances dictate it.
4. Budgetary Planning
Both startups and architects have the challenge of achieving their vision within a determined budget. While architects are looking at budgets for materials, labor and engineering, the startup CEO is determining budgets for marketing, operating expenses and revenue projections. Budget is a key factor for both. Understanding the true costs of a renovation project is a must for a professional architect, just as being realistic about startup costs is vital to the CEO .
5. Selling the Concept
Every vision, whether the design of a new stadium or the concept of a new business, needs to be communicated in clarity to financers and clients. Architects and startup CEOs both need to put on salesmen hats at times. An architect may use a physical 3-D model presentation, a set of specifications and drawings to deliver his vision, while the startup CEO will put together a business plan and pro forma to sell his.
6. Dedicated to Their Work
Few architects or startup CEOs work only 40 hours in a week. They are hard workers who always have their projects top of mind. Even in their time away from their desk, their minds continue to calculate the next step to be taken and the solution for the next challenge.
As you can see, startup CEO's and architects have a lot more in common than one might think. They are both visionary, creative thinkers and want to bring change to the world . At the same time, they both also understand the practical aspects of strategic planning in their endeavors. Working from the perspective of their customer and staying within a budget are also requirements they both must meet.
So, if you’re a startup CEO, you could certainly consider yourself the “architect” of your business. You’re building something that will make a difference in the world. Something you can be proud of.