The best startup advice you can get from these entrepreneurs
15 April 2020
Creating a startup changes your life and a new identity emerges. This is different from the role of a parent, husband or wife, employee or employer. You now become visible to the world.
It’s possible that starting your own business, becoming an entrepreneur, has been your dream for many years, and it has taken a long time to summon the courage, the wherewithal and the necessary resources.
You are doubtless raring to go, but it’s probably unwise to start this venture all by yourself, lacking experience, with only your own vision to launch you into the world.
No doubt you’ve already worked out a business plan, created a roadmap for your product or service, and set-up your business. You are the proud owner of your startup.
You might have friends and associates only too willing to help, but perhaps they too are absorbed by your vision and lack experience in the business world. So whose advice should you seek?
It’s time to meet the people who can actually help you; those with years of successful business experience.
Since spending physical time with these role-models isn’t always possible, the next best thing is reading what they have to say. Study startup advice from startup articles or follow a blog for startups; there are hundreds online. Better still, listen to the following advice from the world’s most successful entrepreneurs while thinking about the keyword: productivity.
Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at TMS.
Startup advice #0: I’ve been busy isn’t the right answer
Nobody replies with, “I’ve been productive” when asked ‘How have you been lately?’ However, in business, “productive” would indeed be a great reply.
Fidji Simo, Head of the Facebook App, advises, “Focus is really about aligning with your purpose – whether it be your purpose on a specific project or your higher purpose in life. When actions reflect intentions, you’re in alignment with your mission. Only then you can truly shine.”
To be productive, you need to focus on your goal, your purpose, your mission. This is the key that opens the door for success, rather than being busy just for the sake of it. Entrepreneurs clear their clutter literally and figuratively, so what’s left is focused on productivity, with very clear priorities.
Business startup advice from top entrepreneurs
How to Focus on what’s essential, and how can you avoid getting distracted by fluff?
Nick Kellet, Co-founder of Listly was talking in the context of marketing, but what he said shows the importance of choosing wisely what you should focus on. He said “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 lens? Do they fit your target persona?”
This attitude is important when you do market research and communicate with your customers. It is crucial in gathering feedback from like-minded individuals and it will help you to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This is a step by step, chronological guide to successful a startup, keeping in mind the advice from successful entrepreneurs:
- What entrepreneurs say about Learning.
- Becoming a successful entrepreneur means hard work.
- Hard work means going through the mental hardships of being a founder.
- Hard work is useless without knowing your market.
- Most of all you need to be passionate and motivated.
- Learning from advice by taking action.
Learning and learning how to learn are the first steps.
What entrepreneurs say about Learning
The best startup advice is to learn and “You will never know enough. You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you have to get comfortable with.” Aaron O’Hearn, Co-founder and CEO of the Startup Institute knows what he is talking about. However, don’t be overconfident. Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos warns “Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.”
Taking risks is necessary to get anywhere in life and this applies to businesses as well, but make them calculated risks. Greed never paid off. Learn to walk before you run. You will learn to do that by testing your ideas out before you venture out. “Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea”, Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga suggests.
It’s all about learning and listening to advice.
Learning is also about learning how to fail and not repeat your mistakes. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” Those are wise words, spoken by Drew Houston, Dropbox founder, and CEO. Giving up isn’t an option. Your next startup will be more successful because you learned what doesn’t work.
So, don’t be too afraid, be brave enough, but learn how to be fearless without getting burned, Arianna Huffington, President, and Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group advises “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”
Becoming a successful entrepreneur means Hard Work
Learning is the first step but practice makes perfect. “If you don’t cut your chops, and with a good amount of sweat and even old school sales, your business will never flourish, you have to be willing to make the calls, get your hands dirty and put in the long grinding hours. “So well put by Nicole Munoz, founder, and CEO of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
This is startup advice that hits the nail on the head, but this does not mean you have to rush things before you feel ready. Let’s add Biz Stone’s remarks to our premise, who is the co-founder of Twitter, and knows what he’s talking about. Only “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
Get your hands dirty but be patient at the same time. Don’t forget the things you learned and put the previous startup advice into practice.
“Have patience. Ideas and businesses are not created overnight. Things will tend to take longer than expected, whether that is fundraising, 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 and resilience will eventually find success.” Thus spoke Jonathan Tang, Founder, and CEO @ Vastrm.
Hard work means going through the mental hardships of being a founder
Hard work equates with never giving up. Don’t be afraid to get tough. Let Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO, The Muse inspire you.
“The best piece of advice I ever received was that “no” is often just the starting point, and most careers worth having involve a fair amount of determination, grit, and just general “try try again”. That’s been true ten times over at The Muse, and I’m so glad I learned it early!”
It’s very important to take your time. A startup business isn’t a game of Monopoly, and even that game involves more hurdles than a steeplechase. Jen Rubio, who is the co-founder, president, and chief brand officer of Away, talks about how to plan your race.
“There is no one plan anyway! When you’re building something from scratch, there won’t be a playbook, so it’s inevitable that you’ll make some mistakes. Being flexible and able to adapt to the unexpected will help you stay focused on what matters, rather than allowing yourself to get derailed over the little things.”
The co-founder of Block Island Organics, Will von Bernuth’s call-to-action advice is clear and encouraging. “There’s nothing better than starting your own business but you have to be OK with the ups and downs. You are going to have higher highs and 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.”
Hard work is useless without knowing your Market
So is startup advice. Without finding out who your customers are, where to find them, and what product or service they need, all startup advice is in vain. It’s like starting an e-commerce website without really knowing what products matter to your target market, or what “convenience” means for them. You might think it’s impossible to overlook that, but even the successful Will Manders, managing director of Zoonibo, committed that beginner’s mistake.
“Market research is … heavily overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs and I’ve seen countless people fail, including myself in previous projects, because the market really wasn’t there for the idea to be scalable,” he admits.
Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit, Hipmunk, and Breadpig, has the solution to this problem. “A common mistake I see many startup founders making is they aren’t solving a real problem. You should try to solve a real problem that people have or identify a much better way for people to do things than they’ve historically done before. That is often a good place to start…That’s why the motto of Y Combinator is: ‘Make something people want.’ If you can do that, you’re probably onto something.”
To pull this off, you need 2 vital qualities…
Most of all you need to be passionate and motivated
Andrew Filev, founder and CEO @ Wrike opens our eyes to a real entrepreneur’s truth. He talks about the danger of chasing money instead of focusing on the customer’s needs first. This is about passion for the roots of your trade and this should be our primary motivation.
His words ring true. “The only thing that will get you through the tough times of being an entrepreneur — and there will be many of those — is being very singular and passionate about what you are doing. If you’re not, if you’re chasing money or anything else, then the highs and lows of startup life will absolutely wear you out.”
Build something you can be proud of, like Alexi Nazem, co-founder and CEO of Nomad Health.
“But, the good news is that building a company also comes with an immense sense of pride. You get to create something from nothing. So be sure to take a step back every once in a while and appreciate all the many things you and your team are sure to have accomplished. It’s amazing what a small group of motivated people can do.”
Learning from startup advice by taking action
The final startup advice from these entrepreneurs is an uncompromised call-to-action.
“You don’t need anyone’s approval and in fact, you probably won’t get it, so don’t even try. Build, release, and iterate. People will try to drag you down, some with well-meaning intent, others out of pettiness or jealousy.
Your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is not concealing your idea from others or keeping your idea a secret. It is actually convincing people that you’re not crazy and that you can pull this off.” wise words indeed from Sean Parker, Founder of Napster.
In other words: time to put the startup advice to one side and act
Of course this doesn’t mean you forget all about the startup advice from these top entrepreneurs.
However, you do need to act upon what you’ve learned. Running a startup means continuous learning is mandatory in order to progress. There are a lot of websites that will keep you updated about courses, expert advice, and software. Or type “easy startup business 2020” into Google and see what happens. You will get access to business coaching on The Startup.
Meanwhile, to get focused and productive, start to explore what you filtered as important for your business and ask yourself what can further contribute to that. Be visible.
Matthew Podolsky, managing attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A believes in developing business with confidence. You’d better “…allow time for the business to develop, however, if there are problems with profitability or other aspects of the business, you should look for solutions and improvements. Simply staying the course may not be a viable solution.”
This means staying alert for ways to solve the problems your business is facing. Follow the solutions used by successful companies. You need all the help you can get. So, are you part of a startup looking for a web development partner? Check out TMS. We’re creating amazing products and services.
In people’s perception, you might appear as an overnight success, but you know better. It’s all the hard work you’ve put in beforehand that will make you look so successful, and the choices you made. You know the secret on how to become an overnight success and it’s by not being an overnight success.
In the words of Jeff Atwood, Co-founder of StackExchange and Discourse: “Whatever you want to do, start yesterday. Start earlier. Start NOW. The sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits or figure out that it isn’t going to work. And you won’t need to wonder “what if” because you did it already. There is nothing more painful than the “what ifs” you carry around inside your head. So act on them! Now! DO IT! JUST DO IT!”.
We hope these tips from famous entrepreneurs will help you not make any bad decisions. Or rather less bad decisions. You can also apply to various communities for online entrepreneurs like the Indie Media Club, do some networking, and learn from the other members.
If you enjoyed reading this article on startup advice, you should check out this one about startup failure.
We also wrote about a few related subjects like startup consultants, financial projections for startups, failed startups, startup press kit examples, Berlin startups, types of investors, share options, London startups, gifting shares, best startup books and risk management process.