The best Startup Advice is ensuring that the pieces all come together. It’s not someone else’s job. It is your job as Founder. The pursuit of that purpose to make your Startup a success should permeate everything you do – Focus.
Topics: Passion, Talk to Customers, Market Segment, Mental Hardships, Setbacks, Planning, Growing, Scale, Leadership, Wins, Culture, Hiring, Learning.
Where? When you’ve formulated a new business idea in your head, where do you go for startup advice on how to make your dream a reality? Friends? These sources almost always have opinions to share, but unless your BFF is an entrepreneur, you might be getting only that — an opinion. It’s better to take your advice from experts instead. We asked 30 experienced business founders and CEOs to share their best piece of advice for new entrepreneurs in any field. Skip the Googling and read what these successful founders hear their advice about Starting a Business.
1. Follow your Passion. The only thing that will get you thru the tough times of being an entrepreneur — and there will be many of those — is being very focused & passionate about what you are doing. If you’re not, if you’re chasing money or anything else, then the highs & lows of startup life will absolutely wear you out..
2. Talk to your potential Customers. If you have an idea for a product or service, talk to potential customers to see if it meets their needs – solves the problem. Then build a prototype and have them use it, to see if it’s what they wanted. Make adjustments according to the feedback and your judgment. You’ll get good insights about your product, other potential customers, positioning & a marketing strategy.
3. Using potential Customer Feedback. Get plugged in with the entrepreneurship community in your city/state. (ie, with a Meetup) There are a lot of people there who have done it before and can give you rock solid startup advice.
4. Understand the Market Segment you’re in and market only to that segment – initially. Become the leader in one Niche of your industry – so that it’s tuff for a competitor to come close to replicating your product model.
5. Everybody will tell you what you’re supposed to do, if you ask them. First figure out what kind of company you want, then ask them what they think. Listen to their advice, but trust your own instincts and go with that. The more you use it, the better you’ll get.
6. Be careful who you choose to listen to. Too much of the wrong feedback and ideas can choke your creativity and your beliefs. Feedback is the lifeblood of a startup, but you need to be able to put the feedback in context. Does the person giving you feedback share your vision? Do they understand your target market?
7. Mental Hardships of Being a Founder. There’s nothing better than starting your own business but you have to be ok with the ups & downs. You are going to have higher highs & lower lows than you’ve ever had before. From an emotional standpoint, you need to be ok with this. But in the end I’d advise “Just do it.”
8. You will have Setbacks. They are normal. But the ones who will be successful, think outside the box and figure a new way around the setbacks to push them ahead. You need to be innovative and have a different state of mind then the normal person.
9. Smart Business Planning & Change. Keep a flexible mind. It’s good that you want to stick to your vision, after all it’s your baby, but things change along the way. Don’t be afraid to embrace change and mix things up.
10. Focus on Growing Your Business. I think the most important thing for entrepreneurs to have is focus. It’s not a lack of capital that kills startups, it’s lack of bandwidth/ flexibilty. If the idea is good enough, there will be plenty of time to leverage it out to other aspects of the market. Stick to your vision in the early stage and give yourself the opportunity to expand focus once you have the credibility of the core idea’s success.
11. Don’t Scale too quickly. It can be appealing to try and get your product out there as fast as possible, but it doesn’t always work out. Re-positioning and improving your product cannot be considered failures.
12. Have Patience. Ideas & Businesses are not created overnight. Things will tend to take longer than expected, whether it is fund-raising, product development cycles, customer acquisition, etc. In Silicon Valley, this is tough, because the whole culture here is built around a short–term focus of how quickly you can grow. Have resilience and don’t give up so quickly. Survive another day and keep at it. Those who have patience & persistance will eventually find success.
13. The secret of Leadership is to create more Leaders. You do that by delegating responsibility and encouraging the other person grow on their own. We learn best from our experiences.
14. It’s so important to Celebrate the small Wins. When you venture into business for the first time, experiencing the frequent and unpredictable ups & downs can be unsettling. Many days are a challenge and the moments of uncertainty & doubt are inevitable. You will question yourself, your model, your team – most everything. When your start winning again (which it will), take the time to celebrate and reflect on that win. This is good startup advice that will serve as your basis for the next bumpy ride.
15. On Failure & Success. “Act more. Think less.” I believe that many entrepreneurs can suffer from “analysis paralysis” and over-think themselves to inaction, which lets valuable opportunities slip through their fingers. I encourage my employees to be pro-active in their roles and learn from their experiences — good and bad. Failure isn’t a negative, as long as you learn from what you did!
16. Hire a Great Team. Study a little so you can be great at recruiting, interviewing, hiring, & on-boarding. Building a world-class team is perhaps the single greatest contributon a leader can make to his organization.
17. Company Culture will naturally evolve and as a business owner it’s your job to pay attention and be a catalyst for that culture. If you see employees all heading to the gym over lunch, offer to pay for gym memberships. Try and recognize culture shifts and help your employees bloom.
18. Hire on the person’s personality first, specific work skills second. Does the person have the smarts & people skills? Do they have the passion and determination to succeed? If so, their specific prior work experience is less important, particularly because in a startup everyone wears so many different hats.
19. Your Employees are your “most valuable asset”. Even more important than your first funding round or your attempts at going viral. You must focus on creating a work environment that is empowering, flexible, & enjoyable – especially if you’re looking to hire millennial-aged (or younger) talent. Also focus on hiring people much smarter than you is the best startup advice. So you can learn from them.
20. Never stop Learning. The amount of information that can be found on the web is incredible. And don’t forget about regular or audio books. As a leader, you need to be good at a lot of stuff. Continually expand your learning so you will be wisdom source & inspiration to your team.
Comments: What’s your best piece of Startup Advice? You may not be a business founder or a startup whiz, but we know you have business lessons to share. Hit the comments and teach our readers something new.
from Wrike Blog 17 Feb 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz & Advisor