from Entrepreneur Zine 05 June 14 enhancedby Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Here are the top lessons I learned in my first year of running my new startup. After a year, I’m more ready to admit how little I know. I hope that some of what I’ve learned so far, can help you:
1. Big Pitches don’t bring you “immediate” Investment, but you should still do them. I pictured coming back from every pitch event with stacks of checks or at least a firm handshake from a gray-haired investor saying, “Well done, young man. My people will call you on Monday. I’m not against pitch events by any means, but this is what they are good for: a) awareness of the process, b) eventually getting it right and getting the $$$ and c) making new useful friends. Pitching lets people know that you exist and are doing cool stuff. You can definitely meet investors at these events, but this is only to offer them a first impression. You will meet other entrepreneurs at these events that can be really encouraging, helpful & fun.
2. Mentors are better than Advisors. If someone gives you really helpful advice, do what the person says and then ask if you can meet with that individual again. The reason this works better than one-off meetings is that the advice gets smarter the more you meet. They begin to think about your product before & after meetings, and how to help you.
3. Talk to your Customers constantly. The whole team needs to talk with users regularly and ask for feedback. Then you know if there’re getting what they want and ways to make your product better.
4. Don’t forget to Live. There is a general mind-set among entrepreneurs about putting 24/7 hours now so as to have an awesome life in the future. I’m all for diligence, and even sacrifice, but it must be tempered with other rhythms that ensure investing in children, wives, friends, your own body & soul.
How to keep your Life.
1) Take off 24 hours once a week to re-charge your mind & let new ideas come in. 2) Work at home one day a week. A comfortable location will free your creative juices.
3) Once a week we have Lunch with our whole staff. We get more comfortable socially & share ideas more freely.
4) Once a month we have a meal together with our families. Then we share some of the latest developments & the families are more supportive.
5. Be honest with your Branding. During your company’s startup stage, people are more interested in you, the person, than your crafted “brand”. If you are authentic, this will help the social media marketing go easier and feel more integrated with your life.
6. Fundraising will take 2x-3x as long as you think, so start early and conserve money – especially when you feel like you have time to spare. Return to your original investors – friends & family for more. They can help give you the runway you need to take off – during the Vetting process for a new Investor group.
7. Celebrate. Look for little things & do it often! Do you have a new feature? A new Customer? some kind of Recognition? Celebrate.
8. Be gracious. People can end up hurting other people, whether they are business partners, employees or investors. Entrepreneurs operate in a world of the future that’s all about generating ideas and navigating through any of these rough turns requires grace. Absorb the pain that others inflict on you and minimize the pain you may be sending out.
Comments: Are there any other Lessons Learned that you can share?