One of the most important lessons when becoming an entrepreneur is to learn from every single success and mistake. Not only will you learn what not to do again but you will learn better way to keep mistakes from happening in the future.
Below are just some of the tips from an expert on what to do and what not to do when becoming a successful entrepreneur:
Do you still need a business plan to start a company? Conventional wisdom amongst uber-startup CEOs and VCs is that you don’t need a business plan. Just launch and iterate. They’re wrong. While you shouldn’t write a Word document, a good financial model is a must.
Choose your investors carefully.Hiring at a Startup or Looking for a Cofounder? Know thy Weaknesses – Before you build out your senior (or even junior) team you need to inventory your strengths / weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. And don’t hire 5 clones. Plug your weaknesses.
Good Judgment Comes from Experience, but Experience Comes from Bad Judgment – You can read lots of books or blogs about being an entrepreneur but the truth is you’ll really only learn when you get out there and do it. The earlier you make your mistakes the quicker you can get on to building a great company.
Punch above your weightclass – Startup founders are often tempted to bring in the heavyweights early. This is very frequent in sales because it seems like the easiest solution when you’re not hitting your numbers. I argue that you should always hire people who aspire to be one level above their last job (e.g. one “weight class” higher).
Turn your Organization Inside-Out – Many companies are too insular. You need to get all of your input from the outside and have that inform your company and product direction.
Embrace Losing – I hate losing. I really hate losing. But you need to embrace losing if you want to learn. Channel your negative energy. Revisit why you lost. Ask for real and honest feedback. Don’t be defensive about it – try to really understand it. But also look beyond it to the hidden reasons you lost. And channel the lessons to your next competition.
You’re Most Vulnerable Just After You Win a Deal – Competitors have nothing to lose. Internal enemies at your client play their cards more openly. Thing can get ugly. Never celebrate until the ink on the contract is dry and the check is in the bank.
Flipping Burgers – In some companies the CEO does not have the complete grasp of every function of his/her company. They essentially outsource the thinking on technology, sales, customer service, whatever. This is always a warning sign to me. This post covers the lessons I learned the hard way, from trying to run a burger chain without first flipping burgers.Rolling out the Red Carpet on the Way Out the Door – Many companies wait until their star performers quit before offering up serious incentives to stay. There are only 4-5 great people who make a difference in any startup. Know who yours are and roll out the red carpet while they’re still inside the castle.
The Burning Platform – There are 3 steps you need to solve to effectively sell your products. 1) Why buy anything? 2) Why buy mine? and 3) Why buy now? The first two are easy – it’s the third that drives faster sales conversions. This post covers the three questions of sales.
How to (re) approach people at conferences – Many people swarm a panelist after he/she finishes speaking. Other people turn up at conferences and just “wing it.” In this post I talk about how to maximize your attendances at conferences or trade events and meet the right people.
How to present at big meetings without going down a rat hole. Big meetings are hard to manage. Unless you have a sponsor to help you manage the process and know how to deal with detail merchants, naysayers and silent partners you’ll find yourself in big trouble.
As we age everything gets more difficult, even if it is just trying to shed those winter pounds. It is very important for your stress levels and state of mind to always make time for physical and mental exercise as well as a good amount of sleep and relaxation. It may sound difficult but it truly is a must to keep momentum and not get burnt out early on in your entrepreneurial career.
Are you big enough to share what you have learned from your mistakes to try and keep others from repeating it?