Start-up: 15 tips you can learn from Macron’s breakthrough

You surely know Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected President of France (little country in western Europe where people are grumpy, love wine and pastries). Well, whatever you think about the man or his government program, you can at least concede that he made history by accessing the power as an outsider while he was totally unknown from French people 3 years ago. Almost nobody would have bet on him and his party “En marche !” (on the move) 12 months ago.

His success is partly due to the application of tips issued from the start-up world. It worked so far. Thus these tips are validated. As an entrepreneur, you could certainly use some of them to work on your own success!

There must be something to learn from that! And there is.

What are the 15 tips you could use to achieve (almost) the same?

1.Know your subject and master it

Emmanuel Macron was never elected till May 7th, 2017 but he experienced politics as a technocrat, an assistant general secretary and a minister. He turned into politics in 2006. So he was in the place, at a high level, and could see what worked and what did not.

2. Ambition : sky is the limit.

To become President, you have first to want it, to believe you can achieve it (one day), and eventually to act towards this goal.

3. Self confidence and determination are necessary to support such an ambition.

You better know what you want and what you don’t to progress as you feel it and not as other people think you should. Emmanuel Macron surely heard a lot of demotivating words : “you’re too young!” “You have never been elected before” “It cannot work” “Nobody did it before. How the hell could you do better than your predecessors?”. Obviously, those did not stop him.

4. Be supported by relatives.

This one is really important. At the very beginning, Emmanuel macron was supported by his wife, his family, his friends. Maybe they were merely those who told him: “you can do it! So do it ! Don’t wait and go!”

5. Get relevant advices and support from experienced people.

Indeed, to achieve a goal so high, you need to get talents around you, a motivated team, and experts in fields you don’t master. When macron created “En marche!”, he ensures to get that.

6. Validate needs from people and enroll them.

At first, “En marche!” proceeded to a national survey to validate the feelings, the needs of people and “En marche!” team animated several workshop in the country to find out and propose acceptable solutions, no matter if these solutions are labeled right or left wing government party. By doing this, people were progressively aware of “En marche!” actions and ambitions. The first party members and militants were enrolled.

7. Money.

Well OK, for such an ambition you need some funds right? Considering Macron’s background and serious effectuation, banks and crowdfunders enable “En marche!” to get the needed fuel to run.

8. Proposing something new and needed or product / market fit.

Based on the survey, “En marche!” built its project and validated specific points with experts. In France, when you listen to people and propose answers that are argued and not clearly labeled right or left wing, it already feels new. But Macron’s image is also a vector of novelty : he is young, he is quite new. It changes a lot from other politicians French people are used to and that cannot be credible when they talk about change.

9. Market Positioning.

Not being labeled right or left was a first move. But there is already centrists in France, but they are still viewed as moderate right wing people. As Macron comes from the left wing, it was quite different. Moreover, Macron had the intuition that there will be a vacant place to take. And it turns he was right about it.

10. Communication.

When you are too new to be good, you have to communicate a lot to make your project clear and to be understood by people. “En marche!” did an important PR job to ensure that. Meetings were full most of the time. However some people were unsure and frustrated because they felt that the project was not really consistent. Macron has to convince twice more than others, maybe because of his outsider status.

11. Luck.

Here comes a big part of luck! Macron’s destiny would have been totally different if no vacant place were to be taken! All the stars aligned during the right wing and socialist primaries.

People chose to condemn the current and past political choices and to do so they got rid of old politicians : Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé, Manuel Valls…If Alain Juppé, who is more moderate than François Fillon, had been chosen, it would have changed a lot of things for “En marche!”. Then Fillon appeared to be far less honest than he pretended. Most of French people are tired of this kind of scandals and he paid it. He did not made the first round. François Bayrou, a centrist politician who made a big encouraging score in 2007, was afraid to know the same fate as Sarkozy, Juppé…Then he chose to ally “En marche!”. These events enable the stars to align and free the centrist place, for Macron to take.

12. Optimism.

Macron succeeded in communicating his optimism. Macron was one of the candidates, if not the only, who talked mostly about solutions, who was confident in France and Europe, who was easily smiling, kidding. And whether you like the man or not, it felt good to see that there was at least a man who believes he can do something new, to see someone that has no legal affair in progress. Thus he was free to speak about his project and it was easier for most people to imagine they can try to trust him. Maybe it is due to his age, Macron was the most able to communicate his faith in the future and he stayed strong on his position.

13. Be a fighter but stay calm and lucid.

Most people were sceptical about the ability for Macron to stand up against Marine Le Pen or other famous politicians. The final debate he handled, coping with Le Pen, enable to ensure his capability to fight and defend his views. He demonstrated that he mastered far better most of the subjects than his rival. Watching the backstage of his campaign, I was also struck by his Zen-like calm when he received an egg on his head or when Medias were keen to report shortly some sentences to create polemics. I remember him smiling and say something like “It proves that people are really tense”. He gives the impression that he cannot be deeply touched by those matters. He keeps his calm and takes actions.

14. Leadership. To achieve the success of “En marche!”, Macron has to be a leader to conduct his team in the way he wants and to keep heading no matter what. He asked his team to be honest with him and not try to protect him from the reality. He seems to listen to them but he was also able to assert himself and take clear decisions.

15. Keep heading. Macrons could have decided to change part of his project to adapt to a wider part of French people and get the support of the other unlucky candidates, but he decided not to. He kept his project unchanged, confident in his position.

All these tips can easily be adapted to your venture. However the most interesting part is to come. Will “En marche!” succeed to get a majority in the French National Assembly? Is Macron’s attitude scalable to new and unknown representatives? The answer will come up in a month…Wait and see.

In case of success, another challenge will be to deal with bashing from still grumpy people. No matter what, you will never be able to content everyone. So keep heading and try to do something about the future. If you cannot master it being President (of you company), when will you be able to?

Good news, you have a great advantage on Macron! You can take your chance by founding new companies if you fail this one !

PS : there must be typos… feel free to tell me so that I can correct them 😉

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