5 Things Startups Can Learn from the United States Presidential Debates

Unless you’re living under a rock, or perhaps you purposely put yourself under that rock, you’ve seen coverage of the U.S. presidential debates. No matter which side you’re on, there is a lot we can all learn from watching these candidates go head-to-head. And even if you’re so sick and tired of hearing the words “Trump” and “Clinton”, there are still takeaway lessons that can be applied to startups.

Whether you’re tuning in for the 3rd debate or banging your head against the wall until after November 8th, here are 5 lessons startups can learn from the U.S. presidential debates.

1. Don’t Get Frustrated by Competition

So maybe the competition is a bit ahead of you or maybe they are even saying bad things about your company — keep your cool. It’s important not to let what your competition does or says have a drastic impact on your business model or processes. If your competition has completely taken over your market, then it might be time to rethink, but, if not, keep on course. Scaling too fast is the #1 reason why most new companies fail, so if you try to push too hard to get ahead of your competition, your company might crumble beneath you.

2. Use Social Media Carefully

Social media is great! 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile, which means your startup can reach a lot of people. However, there are some basic rules to follow and there should always be an approval process in place. Use a tool like Gain to automate social media and make sure there is always at least a second set of eyes on social posts that go out, because any mistake will be caught by your competitors.

3. Practice Presenting…A Lot

Whether it’s a demo day, investor meeting, or pitch presentation, your startup should always practice and prepare for these events. Maybe your CEO doesn’t realize they have a strange nervous habit or maybe you keep forgetting to present a certain slide in the deck, either way, practice makes perfect. You don’t want to come across unrehearsed and/or inexperienced in front of your audience, so make sure your presentation gets feedback before it goes live.

4. Keep Messaging Succinct across Team Members

Two founders, rather than one, increases your startup’s chance of success. Teams of two raise 30% more investment, grow customers 3 times as fast, and are less likely to scale too fast. However, these two founders must share a vision and not say contradictory statements about the brand; this will diminish customer’s trust in your company. If you’re a founder, make sure to pick a strong partner that understands the right vision for the company and stays on message in any public speeches.

5. Customer Might Not Like your Product, and You May Fail

Many, many startups fail – but that’s OK. You actually have a slightly better chance at having a successful future if you have a failed startup under your belt. Studies show that founders who have failed at a prior business have a 20% chance of succeeding and first time founders have an 18% chance of success.

So, if your startup does go under, remember all the lessons you can, keep the contacts you made, and go at it again. Remember, people definitely won’t make fun of you as much as these two presidential candidates, so you’ll do fine next time around.

What else can we learn from the debates? Share in the comments.