Learning from your mistakes is a great way to move forward. Yet learning from the mistakes of others is even better. Based on the mistakes many startup founders we spoke to did in the past, here are 10 rules to help you in your startup journey.
1. Find something you are passionate about. Persistence is a key element of your journey – so make sure your passion is on your side to help you throughout the journey.
2. Make a plan. Even if plans are bound to change you need to sit down and make a plan. Remember the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail”.
3. Focus more on the problem than on the solution. Fall in love with the problem rather than with your product/service. Once you identify the key pain point of your customer/client everything starts falling into place.
4. Focus more on execution of your plan. Do not obsess too much on finding the most brilliant idea. Ideas are cheap. And the initial idea will be evolved and you will pivot multiple times along the way.
5. Focus more on generating revenue rather than obsessing on keeping expenses low. You need to invest in order to generate more revenue.
6. Hire people that are brighter than you. Surround yourself with sharp people. People who are passionate about what they do. Treat each employee as an entrepreneur who is partnering with you and together you’re solving a problem that the market has. Start by hiring people you already know or worked with in the past and then find others would would fit in the company culture.
7. Focus on solving one core problem at a time. While we think we can multitask, in the long run the lack of focus will manifest itself in lacunas that may be very costly to correct.
8. Avoid office politics and “storms in a teacup” like the plague. Do not waste time and energy with in-house fighting over petty things. Disagreement is good, but it needs to lead to decisions going forward. The team needs harmony to move forward and people who create unnecessary friction should be fired on the spot.
9. Yes the customer is always right. Speak to customers directly. All the time. Ask them how they feel about your product/service. Those with unbiased negative feedback are your best friends.
10. Networking is good – but one to one relationships are more valuable. While marketing to large audiences, exhibiting at conferences and attending big networking events is a great way to meet potential clients and partners, one to one relationships are a much biggest asset. Closing a deal with people you know and have already built a level of trust in you/your company/ your team is much easier than doing the same thing with people you do not know. Also, word of month and personal referrals are the biggest source of hot leads one can have – and the easiest to convert.
Do you know of any more rules we can add to the list? Are there any rule which are specific to Malta or the country/region your are in? Let us know your suggestions and and we’ll add it to the list.