If you’re an entrepreneur getting ready to embark on your big journey I commend you. It’s arguably the toughest (and most rewarding) path in life. That all said you’re going to want all the help you can get. When it comes to startup tips there are plenty to go around. While every tip may not apply to you specifically it’s always good to hear them all out.
Here are four startup tips any entrepreneur can use as they grow their company.
Establish “Swim Lanes” Early On
If you choose to start a company with a few other founders this one definitely applies to you. When you come together with your cofounders you need to establish clear swim lanes early on. What I mean by that is you need to define and stick to the roles each member is most fit for.
The earlier you can define roles the less crossover and or confusion there will be when the company matures.
Take Criticism With Open Arms
Your startup is your baby and you should treat it as such. That said it’s common for entrepreneurs to snap when someone calls their baby ugly. Instead of getting defensive it’s always best to welcome criticisms with open arms.
When people point out your faults it hurts, but it’s what you need to hear in order to improve. This doesn’t mean always do what others say but you should at least hear them out. After all, these may be potential customers someday.
Make Money (While Doing What You Love)
The majority of successful entrepreneurs will always tell you to do what you love and the money will follow. In business it’s always important to get behind a project you’re passionate about. However that passion needs to be able to make money if it’s going to survive.
As you develop your business plan, your business model should be at the top of the priority list. Try to come up with more than one model and get creative. You may end up pivoting completely but it’s important to do this exercise with your team early on. If you’re unable to come up with any you may want to rethink your business.
Don’t Jump the Gun on Fundraising
As entrepreneurs build their companies they dream of the day they close their first big round of funding. Raising capital is essential for any startup to really scale. That said it’s common for entrepreneurs to raise capital too early.
When you raise funds there are often contingencies tied to that money. You’ll likely give up control along with tons of added pressure. Now the clock starts and you really only have one shot to get things right. If things go south then you’ll have a very hard time trying to raise additional funds.
The best strategy is to bootstrap for as long as you can. Build a lean marketable product and give it a go. If the launch is successful then you may want to raise funds. If not, then you should go back and retest to make sure it’s done right.
I’ve been a part of and started several startups before. I can attest to the fact that they are a rollercoaster of emotion. Some lessons you’ll need to learn the hard way. Others can be taught just by learning from other people’s mistakes. That said use the four startup tips above if you’re ready to start your big venture!
Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He consults for several startups in the Bay Area and is pursuing a few ideas of his own.