Amidst the seemingly endless sources of advice you can pull from the internet, it can feel overwhelming in determining which insights are actually valuable. Not to worry because we’ve got you covered. Below you will find eight key tips to keep in mind while building your startup to set yourself up on positive path for growth.
1.) Have More Than One Founder
Some of the most successful businesses that are still thriving today were built by people working together. Though opinions may differ as to what happens to co-founders when a company reaches meteoric success, these companies most likely would not have grown if they tried to do it all alone. Consider what strengths you bring to your business and think about what kinds of skills you may not possess that could help the startup. The path of the entrepreneur can be a long one and having someone else keep you accountable, motivated, and constantly on your grind can be invaluable in the long run. Though, this isn’t to say it’s impossible to foster a single founder startup.
2.) Your Business Plan and Business Model Canvas Are Crucial
Some of the top reasons why startups fail are due to lack of product market fit and not enough demand for the proposed solution. Though you may feel a hunch deep down that your solution will change the world, take some time to validate your assumptions and make sure. Having exploratory conversations with your intended customer segment informally and without framing it as a survey or test can yield powerful insight and help steer your startup in the right direction. Aside from the solution, investors will also want to know how you will make money and what research and testing you have done.
3.) Be Mindful of Your Money
During the lifetime of your startup, you will need to get comfortable with raising money and managing it properly. If you are an ace fundraiser who can breeze through your seed round and onward, but has a burn rate that exceeds what you raise, then you are in trouble. Learning to operate lean and using resources strategically and only when necessary can keep your startup afloat much longer. Proper money management early on shows investors and those whom you hire that you are aware of the bigger picture and are planning accordingly.
4.) Be Flexible And Willing To Pivot
Take a page out of Slack's book and know when to pivot. Originally used as an internal tool for a game their company was developing, they realized that re-focusing their efforts on Slack as a collaboration product was what needed to happen. Similarly, while you are working on your offering, keep an open mind to what your startup's focus may become as you learn and develop along the way.
5.) Choose Your Investors Carefully
Each investor you encounter will have a different background, set of expectations, and degree of involvement they would like to have in your company. It is a delicate balancing act keeping your startup flush with capital and maintaining some degree of autonomy over your company to move it forward. The right partnership with an investor can yield invaluable mentorship and insight, while one taken in haste can lead to your downfall if you cannot meet their milestones at the agreed upon dates. Take a moment to read the fine print of any agreements and get to know the people who will invest in your company to make sure they are ones whom you can trust.
6.) Location Matters
Though you may get a killer deal for a warehouse space on the other side of town, there may also be a reason why that space has not been rented out for over eighteen months. As you look for a space to call your headquarters, a location that is within a reasonable distance from a hub where you can network, access resources, and meet with clients and investors is crucial. Unless you are ready to build out an entire campus, be strategic in where you locate yourself so that you can attract talent and access an established ecosystem that can help your business.
7.) Timing is Crucial
There can be such a thing as waiting too long and starting too soon. Though the decision to launch your product or beta may involve some instinct, it should also include research on what competitors are doing and whether the marketplace is looking favorable at the time of your intended launch. The perfect time may not exist, but doing your homework and preparing ahead of time can save you, your team, and investors unnecessary headaches and heartache.
8.) Hiring is An Iterative Process
A bad hire can make or break an organization in the early stages, so make sure each person you bring on is adding exceptional value to the company and is someone you can trust. It can be tempting to hire friends and family but remember that your resources are limited. Their skills, cultural fit, and contribution to the company should be why you decide to hire them. All agreements should also be formally documented and clearly defined so there are no surprises later on as to who owns what and what can or cannot be discussed even after an employee has moved on.