Frederik Van Lierde

The 7 core values essential for startup success

Find out the 7 essential values every startup needs to succeed. From customer-centricity to innovation, these principles are crucial for any aspiring business. Including Real-world examples by successful companies like GitHub, Intel, Zappos,... The 7 core values essential for startup success


The ability to pivot in response to market changes, customer feedback, or new technological advancements enables companies to stay relevant and competitive.

This flexibility is vital not only for tackling immediate challenges but also for seizing new opportunities that come with changes. It enables startups to refine their products or services, meet the shifting demands of their customers, and stay ahead of competitors.

Netflix started as a mail-order DVD service, but with the advent of streaming technology and changing consumer preferences, the company swiftly pivoted to online streaming. This move was not just about adopting new technology; it involved a complete overhaul of their business model, including content acquisition and distribution strategies.

By recognizing the potential of streaming and adapting its entire business approach accordingly, Netflix not only survived the shift in the entertainment landscape but emerged as a dominant player, fundamentally reshaping how people consume media worldwide.


Passion fuels perseverance. Startups, often born from a desire to solve a problem or make an impact, need this driving force. Passionate leaders and teams are more likely to push through challenges and inspire others around them.

Passionate entrepreneurs and teams don't just work towards a business goal; they strive to realize a dream or solve a meaningful problem. This deep-seated enthusiasm becomes the driving force that keeps them committed and resilient. Where setbacks are frequent and success is not guaranteed, passion is what keeps the team motivated, fosters creativity, and inspires continuous effort.

It’s more than ambition; it's an emotional connection to the mission of the startup that inspires teams, attracts customers, and draws in investors.

Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company, founded by Yvon Chouinard, was born out of a genuine passion for the environment and outdoor activities. This passion shaped the company's direction, from its innovative eco-friendly product designs to its commitment to environmental activism.

Patagonia's dedication to sustainability and protecting the natural world has been unwavering, guiding its business practices and earning it a loyal customer base. This authentic passion not only set Patagonia apart in a crowded market but also established it as a leader in corporate environmental responsibility.

Chouinard's deep passion for the environment transformed Patagonia from a small startup into a globally recognized brand, synonymous with environmental conservation and quality outdoor gear.

Customer-Centric Approach

Successful startups understand that their survival and growth depend on their customers. By actively listening to customer feedback and understanding their requirements, startups can tailor their offerings to better meet these expectations.

This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also build loyalty, creating a strong base of repeat customers and advocates. A customer-centric mindset drives continuous improvement in products and services, keeping the startup aligned with evolving market demands.

From its early days as a small shoe store, Nordstrom, a leading fashion retailer, has placed a significant emphasis on customer service. This commitment is evident in their well-known policy of going above and beyond to satisfy customer needs, such as their flexible return policy and attentive personal shopping assistants.

Nordstrom’s focus on customer experience has been a key factor in its evolution from a small startup to a highly regarded name in the retail industry. Their dedication to understanding and meeting their customers' desires has not only earned them a loyal customer base but also set them apart in a highly competitive market.


Transparency builds trust, both within the team and with customers and investors. Open communication, clear objectives, and honest feedback promote a healthy work environment and foster strong business relationships.

Open communication about the company’s goals, challenges, and achievements fosters a culture of honesty and mutual respect. It not only empowers employees by making them feel valued and part of the company's journey but also instills confidence in customers and investors about the company's integrity and commitment.

Transparent practices lead to stronger team collaboration, better decision-making, and increased accountability. Transparency is not just about sharing information; it's about creating an environment of openness that can significantly contribute to the health and success of the startup.

From its inception, GitHub, the world's leading software development platform, has embraced an open-source model, which is fundamentally about transparency and collaboration. They have applied these principles not only in their products but also in their internal operations.

GitHub’s transparent work culture includes open internal communication channels, clear and accessible documentation of processes, and candid sharing of company goals and challenges with all employees. This approach has not only helped in building a robust and loyal community around their product but has also attracted and retained top talent who resonate with these values.


Innovation involves thinking creatively, challenging existing norms, and being willing to take calculated risks to introduce novel solutions or improve existing ones. Innovation isn’t just about creating new products or services; it’s a mindset that permeates every aspect of the business, from product development to customer service.

Startups that prioritize innovation tend to be more adaptable, agile, and capable of scaling quickly. They can disrupt industries, set new trends, and redefine customer expectations, paving the way for long-term success and influence.

Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics, renowned for its advanced robotics like BigDog, Atlas, and Spot, has consistently pushed the boundaries of what's possible in robotics and AI. Their approach to innovation is not just about building robots; it's about reimagining the role of robotics in everyday life and challenging the conventions of traditional robotics engineering.

From robots that can navigate rough terrain to those capable of performing complex maneuvers, Boston Dynamics' innovative designs have placed them at the forefront of the robotics industry.


Resilience is the ability to withstand challenges, adapt, and emerge stronger. It's about maintaining a positive outlook, learning from setbacks, and not being deterred by failures. This resilience is vital for startups as it enables them to navigate through tough times, seize opportunities for growth, and continue striving towards their goals.

Resilient startups are often the ones that can turn obstacles into stepping stones for success, demonstrating persistence, and the capacity to evolve in the face of adversity.

Throughout its history, PepsiCo, one of the world's leading food and beverage companies, has faced numerous challenges, including intense competition, changing consumer preferences, and global economic fluctuations. Its resilience is evident in how the company has continuously adapted and innovated.

PepsiCo has diversified its product portfolio to include healthier options, responded to environmental concerns, and embraced new marketing strategies. These adaptations, driven by resilience and a willingness to evolve, have helped PepsiCo maintain its position as a market leader.


No startup can succeed in isolation. Collaboration, both within the team and with external partners, is key. It encourages the exchange of ideas, fosters creativity, and leads to more effective problem-solving.

Internal collaboration within the team harnesses diverse skills and perspectives, leading to more creative solutions and a unified approach to achieving goals.

Partnering with external entities like other companies, academic institutions, or industry experts can provide access to additional resources, knowledge, and markets.

Promoting collaborations is not just about working together; it's about building a synergistic environment where collective efforts lead to greater achievements than any individual effort could.

Intel Corporation
Intel Corporation, a leader in the semiconductor industry, has a long history of collaborating with other tech companies, researchers, and developers to stay at the forefront of technological advancements. One notable example is their collaboration with Microsoft in the 1990s, which was pivotal in the development and widespread adoption of personal computers.

Intel's ability to collaborate effectively has not only spurred its own growth but has also been a key factor in shaping the technology landscape. By engaging in strategic partnerships and collaborative projects, Intel has been able to maintain its position as an industry leader and continue pushing the boundaries of technology.

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