10 Tips for Entrepreneurs:
How to help your Startup Succeed
“Always tell investors that they could lose money with the project.”
A startup is a vehicle that many imagine will make them rich, or will at least serve to provide them a stable job. However, it’s no easy path, and success is far from guaranteed. Here are a few pieces of advice to help mitigate the risks that always go along with being an entrepreneur.
1. Focus your idea
Defend your idea tooth and nail, but understand that others may not share that same passion and you will have to explain it thoroughly, adapting your message to each specific audience since not everybody has the same knowledge or experience in the digital or technology sector. Base your idea on something simple and basic, and keep it logical. Don’t worry if there is already something similar or nearly the same out on the market, which is often the case. Look to differentiate yourself from the rest.
2. Become what you want your idea to become
If you want your idea to turn into a business, think like a businessman; if you want your idea to turn into a non-profit project to help improve the world, think like an altruist. You may be able to secure funding in both cases, but have it clear who you are directing yourself to and what you need to tell them without having to hide your goals.
3. Surround yourself with talent
Surround yourself with people who bring something to your project. The team you create is one of the fundamental pillars of success. Looking for talented and committed people is not easy, and you may need to know how to manage different personality types with diplomacy. As a good leader must, aim to keep your team well bonded and excited about the big picture. Don’t be set adrift if your team doesn’t get on well, but rather keep going and find new employees who are excited and motivated to steer your ship back on course. Having to make changes to the staff is not always great, but sometimes the addition of a new team member can be just the spark your project needs.
4. Decide on being a big company or self-employed
Define what exactly you want your project to be, if you decide on it being a business, choose between develop a large company or, on the contrary, if you only want to create something for you and your team to live off of. They are two very different things that require different approaches, tempos, and sacrifices.
5. Take responsibility
Being an entrepreneur is difficult and demanding. A large percentage of entrepreneurs and startups are destined for failure. Understand and assume the risks, be true to yourself and know what you are getting yourself into. You make your bed, you sleep in it.
At the beginning of a project you’ll need to wear many hats and take on many different jobs. A good CEO or founder must also be good with public relations and must never underestimate anybody. You never know where the opportunity that jumpstarts your company’s idea into becoming a reality may come from.
7. Choose investors wisely
Investors are 20% interested in your idea and 80% in how you will make money with their money. Understand exactly how you earned your first 10 euros and look for ways to replicate and scale that model that aren’t too expensive. Seek out investors that know exactly what they are looking for and with whom they invest; and though it may sound tough, always tell them that they could lose money taking part in your project. If that frightens them, seek elsewhere. You must accept that there is a high percent chance that your project goes down the drain and your investors lose their money. Not being scared by this thought means they understand the reality of startups.
Seek out investors who will also be your partners and help you grow in every sense of the word and not only give financial support, especially in the seed fund stage. Don’t be afraid of the different funding rounds and the loss of power and ownership. You must understand that whoever puts in the most money should end up earning the most. Be sure that your overall presence and essence as a founder is not lost, and be ready to assert your abilities to lead and manage at all times.
8. Understand the market
Get used to the idea that what you are going to find in the market once your project is up and running may not be what you were expecting. Users won’t respond the way you thought they would and you won’t meet the expectations you had set. Fear not, for it is normal. The market is not easy, and your financial backing and muscle should allow for you to adapt your idea or project as needed to better understand your users or clients and to mold your initial idea into a better, more profitable business plan.
9. Be patient
It’s a complete lie that in a startup everyone gets rich, strikes gold, or becomes a millionaire in just one year. It is incredibly difficult to become a millionaire with a startup. Never start a company with this idea- you will be going down the wrong path right from the very beginning. Try to keep the excitement, the creativity, and the tenacity alive at all times and forget about becoming rich, but rather maintain the idea that if things go well you will be able to make an honest living off of your project and be proud of what you have achieved. Making it to the one year mark with any startup is an achievement in itself, and three is a miracle. If you make it to four, you’ve really done it.
10. Give back
If you are one of the chosen few that genuinely succeeds and makes a killing, don’t forget about all those other entrepreneurs out there who, like you were, are still trying to make a living with their ideas and dreams. It’s your turn now to become an investor and to help create wealth.