#Asia What racing cars can teach you about building a startup


If your competition is beating you, keep a close eye on them, watch their mistakes to seize an opportunity to overtake, says the author

Car race

The author, Glen Suchitha, has worked in tech for a number of years with companies such as Amazon and Indavest Ventures. He also Co-founded Cryptic Intel, a startup that specialised in creating meaningful marketing experiences. Follow him @glenling on Twitter and Glen Ivan Suchitha on LinkedIn

Racing is the epitome of automotive excellence. Millions of dollars go into research to push the boundaries of modern-day automotive technology.

Today, there are many different kinds of racing series that utilise a variety of technologies. Whether it is the hybrid technology of Le Mans racers, the aerodynamic focus of DTM racers, or the crude, brute force of NASCAR — there are plenty of great lessons one can learn from racing.

From my experience, here are a few:

Your main opponent is the race track

Focus on your own line, like in business, there will be a lot of noise around you and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the clutter. Focus on your own path (racing line), look ahead and visualise where you want to be.

Consistency pays off

In racing, it’s not the fastest, but the most consistent that always wins. If you’ve ever watched the Hollywood epic Rush, James Hunt was fast. However, he wins the World Championship only once. In the end, Niki Lauda is revered to be one of the most legendary drivers the world has seen. His consistency and attention to detail is what helped him.

In business, we see many companies like James Hunt. Brash, flamboyant and talented. However, like Hunt, they take unnecessary gambles, and the VC money and ‘Unicorn fame’ gets into their heads and they never see the bigger picture or things in the long run. Unfortunately, like Hunt, many of them don’t survive and if they are lucky, they might be fondly remembered.

Leaders are followed

In the heat of a race, the leader is chased. His lines are followed and every little mistake is an opportunity for another racer to overtake. If you are leading your field, your competition will watch you. However, refer to point one and you should be alright.

Follow the leader

If your competition is beating you, keep a close eye on them, watch their mistakes to seize an opportunity to overtake. Usually, it takes a few laps to set up an overtake, so be patient. If you are too aggressive, you are only putting yourself (and your company) in trouble.

Team, team, team

Even though the driver is most visible much like a CEO, he/she cannot function without a team of engineers, mechanics, strategists, etc… If a lug-nut isn’t properly fastened by a team member, your wheel might fly off at high speeds. In a business, it’s important for every team member to know his/her role. One mistake by even a seemingly insignificant employee can lead to disastrous results.

If you don’t take the risk, you will never win

Racing is all about managing risk. You have multiple variables and competition where mistakes can lead to disaster. Business is exactly the same. There are an incredible amount of variables in a competitive business environment. Government legislation, sales, marketing, tech, admin, legal etc… Not only must these units work cohesively, but the driver (CEO) needs to push just that little harder to take that risk in order to win.

It’s all about the fans (customers)

Everything you do in business is so you can give your best to your customers. Highly successful teams know how to treat their fans. Your customers are your biggest asset. Keep them happy and they will stick with you. Piss them off and they are your worst enemies.

Also Read: Top five social media predictions for 2016

Being an entrepreneur is tough, it’s high pressure, takes a lot of sacrifice and guts. However, it is also important to be consistent, calculative, focussed and driven to succeed. I briefly experienced this at my time at the Nissan GT Academy, and the lessons I’ve learned has changed my outlook towards business and life.

The article originally appeared on LinkedIn

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at elaine[at]e27[dot]co


Image Credit: Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock

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