My Simple Rules for Startups

Ever since I can remember, I have had a strong entrepreneurial drive; over the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to build several companies. I love startups; they are creative, strategic, and collaborative, much different from a mature company. Startups are not for everyone; to be successful you must be willing to do what others are not. You must be committed even in the face of momentous challenges, you must have a strong WHY, and you must be willing to sacrifice. A startup is much like a child, at first in its infancy you must do everything for it and you have control of its every move. You have dreams and goals for your new enterprise just as a parent contemplates its newborns future. As it grows, others step in to help it mature and it takes on part of their personality. It often saddles you with problems much like a teenager does, and eventually comes out the other side a mature enterprise.

What to do

  • Burn the Boats
  • Automate and systematize everything possible
  • surround yourself with energetic, positive people, do not hire people you dont like
  • Hire the best attorneys, but do not let them negotiate.
  • Dont let perfection get in the way
  • Never eat lunch alone
  • Encourage a collaborative environment
  • Only use technology compatible for companies your size
  • Generate income, sales cure most problems
  • Make decisions quickly change your mind slowly
  • Use contractors
  • Stay lean
  • Leverage creatively
  • Never stop asking questions
  • Define every project on one page
  • Make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do
  • Protect your IP
  • Learn how to raise capital
  • Know your ratios
  • Have a mentor

What not to do

  • Give up equity to soon
  • Create long complicated sales cycles
  • Compete on price
  • Let success go to your (over)head
  • Chase shiny objects
  • Create a detailed business plan (too early)
  • Give up
  • Hire consultants
  • create an org chart
  • Ignore cash flow
  • Underestimate costs
  • Take on partners with similar talents
  • Create and exit strategy
  • Expect perfection
  • Assume banks will lend you money
  • Assume customers will buy your product just because its better
  • Trade volume for margin
  • Put off legal groundwork
  • Assume people will be as dedicated as you are
  • Be influenced by critics

1 Response

  1. Wish I had read this list years ago when I was first starting out – excellent, excellent advice!

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