I was watching a video about sketching recently by Danny Gregory - sketchbook journalling pioneer. In the video he said something like this:
"when you're drawing something, don't draw what you think it should look like, draw what you actually see"
The point he is making is that most people when drawing say, a cup, draw what their mind tells them a cup should look like, not how the cup in front of them actually looks - they don't always really look at what is in front of them, but fall back on preconceptions and assumptions.
I believe that this lesson also holds true for business leaders. People start with an idea that inspires them, then they turn that idea into a business, then shape it into how they think a business should look. In doing this they often lose the opportunity to build the business they would like to see.
Rather than holding true to the vision and values they started with, they compromise, thinking (wrongly) that they have to become like every other company in order to survive.
Starting a new business is your chance to do things the way you think they should be done. A start-up is your chance to create something new, different, and unique.
There are enough trailblazers challenging the status quo - Buffer's transparent culture, Patagonia's end-to-end approach to sustainability, crowd-funded civic projects on Spacehive - to encourage us all that different can be better, and it can work.