Its IPL season in India – and most of India stops doing any serious work after 8pm for 45 days. A hitherto American phenomenon – CheerLeaders – was brought to India with the IPL. I took a few minutes to research the history of CheerLeaders, and asked myself a simple question – “does the concept of a CheerLeader apply to startups?”
The first part – history of CheerLeaders – is documented here – I must say that until now, I hadn’t bothered to research the space.
But does CheerLeading have any role in helping startups?
On the surface, one might be tempted to say “huh – what’s the connect”? But upon closer examination, one will find that in any successful startup, there are always a few people that play an important role of CheerLeading – encouraging, motivating, challenging, provoking and above all, giving unquestionable support.
In most startups I’ve backed, or companies I’ve run, I’m often accused of being their #1 “CheerLeader” – and am guessing it isn’t because of my looks! People do make cynical comments on why I Tweet or Retweet any and all posts by founders of startups – why I’m the first to share any good news, and why I applaud founders publicly. While I’m guilty of all of the above, I feel CheerLeading is a very important aspect of any startup’s journey – internal and external.
My top 3 reasons for this:
Its important to note that CheerLeading isn’t blind faith – its being knowledgeable and cheering the right things. Founders are smart enough to know that something isn’t working and they must focus on fixing that. But the worst thing that can happen to a startup is a founder losing confidence in their mission, the opportunity and their own leadership. While one can never quantify its value, CheerLeading from the sidelines is just as important at work, as it is in sport.
Entrepreneurs have the guts to try and make something great happen – against all odds – and I have nothing but respect for them. Reading posts about startups shutting down these days is sobering to most – and makes one realize that things aren’t easy for entrepreneurs.
I’ll always be CheerLeading and rooting for the underdogs – and the hoping entrepreneurs get to realize the most audacious of dreams – whether we have backed them or not!
Go Entrepreneurs! Go Startups! #MAKE_HISTORY_HAPPEN!
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