What Advice Would You Give A Start-Up?

December 4th, 2019

I often ask my network what their one piece of advice would be to share with start-ups.  This is what they say is key, although you may not agree with them all.  What stands out to you? You will have picked up many of these messages in my articles which are often triggered by these conversations.

  1. Focus on the problem rather than being emotionally attached to the solution you are creating
  2. Be cautious with money, don’t take on expensive loans
  3. Trust your instincts, be aware of what your gut is telling you
  4. Look after your health and wellbeing.  Invest in yourself first, and then your business
  5. Start your business when your idea is simply something that you just cannot do
  6. Understand your customers’ pain points thoroughly
  7. Be persistent, disciplined, focussed and build up your resilience
  8. Be willing to let go of the way that you think when you testing and research is telling you to do something different
  9. Hold yourself accountable.
  10. When determining your market size, be honest if you are creating a must-have product or something which is simply just nice to have
  11. Line up your ducks as quickly as you can – think about your workforce, your marketing, your budget and cash flow and where you get your advice
  12. When seeking investment, put your mission, vision, values and boundaries at the forefront
  13. Recognise that what makes you start your business, isn’t always what keeps you going through the tough times.  It’s hard, so you have to be driven by the value you are creating for someone
  14. Start with a plan, a business model canvas is the minimum you need to move forward
  15. Build your networks before you start so that you have the expertise around you to complement your own strengths
  16. Get a mentor
  17. Never underestimate your value
  18. Document your agreements with partners, co-founders, associates, be clear what responsibility is being carried by whom
  19. Focus on your customers.  Always put them first.
  20. Secure your product champions and early customers before you seek funding
  21. Build your prototype and get it being used before it is perfect, listen to feedback, improve it and test it again.  Your product doest have to be perfect when you launch
  22. Know your numbers
  23. Make a start, block out any fear of rejection, overcome your doubts and be courageous. 
  24. Ask for help, don’t stay stuck for too long or feel you have to solve all your challenges in isolation, there are no medals for this
  25. Don’t get distracted by shiny things, be focussed on what you need to get done week by week.

Is anything missing from this list?  What would you say?  What have you learned from your own journey that you would want a start-up business to know?

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