These are the eight things every startup entrepreneur needs to know.
There are a lot of things you think you may know or need to know when launching your own startup. This is what is really most important.
Equip yourself with these facts and everything will go more smoothly.
1. It’s Going To Take Longer Than You Think
It may not sound like the most encouraging first advice for startup entrepreneurs, but if you accept it, it will serve you well.
Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally (and financially), for the fact that everything is going to take longer than you expect. It just does.
If you are going to start a startup you have to be willing to commit to it for at least ten years of your life. So, make sure it is something you really care about and are passionate about. You may receive grand offers to acquire your business in just a year or two, but don’t count on it.
Once you start things will grow exponentially. So many more doors, possibilities, and levels of scale can open up. Though, banking on this being a very short ride may not be realistic.
Fundraising takes longer times also. Especially if you are raising via an equity financing round. A way to shorten things up is by raising capital via a safe note.
2. It’s Going To Cost More Than You Think
Everything is also going to cost more than you think. That’s true of marketing, fundraising, hiring, getting a website built, and producing your product. It just does.
Be sure you are building in a financial cushion to account for this. Make sure you are raising more funding than you think you need in advance to be sure you can reach your next milestones. Investors will respect this. What they probably won’t do is give you more money because you under-raised last time and ran out of funds – without being able to show you made any more milestones.
3. It’s About Luck
It seems that most successful entrepreneurs put a lot of their achievements down to “luck.”
The question is how to ensure you are luckier? How do you increase your odds?
Luck is really when preparation meets opportunity. So, you increase your luck by preparing, and putting yourself in the right place at the right time. Some practical ways to do this are to network ahead of your needs. Be out there building relationships and networking well in advance. Work on meeting your Series A investors and adding them to your Rolodex when you are still raising for your Seed round, and so on.
The timing of your business is also important. You don’t want to be too late or too early to the party. If you are early, how do you strategically and systematically carry customers along? If you are late and the market is crowded, you’ll have to shine in being 10x better and making switching to you easy.
4. Plans Change
Chances are that your startup and plans will look completely different in 12 months from now. Your product, team, business model, customers, and forecasts will be completely different. That’s okay, and your investors know it is going to happen. Even you as a leader and how you spend your time every day is going to change a lot.
Because everything you think you’ve figured out will change, don’t waste too much time on the business plan. And, waste months or years on a document that is already irrelevant by the time you finish. Don’t get married to the plan. Do tick to the vision, but stay flexible on everything else.
Success is also not a straight path. There will be twists, turns, detours, and dead ends. Take these in your stride and be ready to adapt on the fly.
5. You Need To Embrace No
The truth is that you are going to face a lot of noes on this journey. You’ll get far more noes than yeses.
That may be hearing no 10, 50, or 300 times for each yes. You can encounter this in hiring, fundraising with investors, recruiting advisors, and selling to customers.
That doesn’t mean you are wrong. Often the biggest investors are wrong. Though every no is closer to a yes, if you keep making it better. Keep improving your pitch, product, and fit. Embrace no, because it means you are one step closer to success.
6. It’s A Learning Thing
The best mindset to have as a startup is that everything is a learning opportunity and experience.
There doesn’t have to be ‘failure’ or ‘mistakes’ if you just learn forward. This mindset will help prevent you from getting discouraged, will make you keep on getting better in every way, and will keep up your passion so that you can be successful.
7. This Probably Won’t Be Your Last Startup
It probably won’t be your last startup. That means this isn’t your life. This company isn’t your identity. It’s one of many business adventures. So, keep your out of work-life, be passionate, but prepared to move onto the next thing. No matter whether you consider this one success or failure, learn what you can and use it to empower you to do even better next time.
8. It’s About Having The Best Team
Successful, industry-leading startups are those with the best teams. Those that get the most funding and market share and biggest exits are all those with the best in class teams. Do everything you can to recruit and retain the best team in your business.