Founders’ Advice for Starting Business
Starting a business is surprisingly simple but you may be reluctant because:
- You don’t know where to begin.
- You don’t know which business fits you.
- You are worried about failure.
To get you started on the right foot, following is advice from successful founders.
Get Comfortable With the Unknown
You will never know enough. You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you have to get comfortable with.
— Aaron O'Hearn, Co-founder and CEO of Startup Institute
It's Not Just About You
The best advice is to not give yourself too much credit when times are good and too much blame when times are bad. Once you realize that luck plays a necessary role in success, it makes you both more humble and more self-confident at the same time.
— Ethan Austin, Co-founder and President of Give Forward
Show, Don't Tell
'Show, don't tell' is a dynamic axiom, but it's such a good one.
For startups, being evidentiary about your value proposition is huge. So many upstarts talk about being the Facebook Killer, or the X for Y, loftily and prematurely positioning them among megasuccesses. Talking instead about what your company does and has achieved sets the stage for your vision in a way that is authentic, believable, and much less highfalutin. Always be a producer of value, so you can highlight current and translatable proof of what you factually can do versus what you aspire to become.
— Shaun Johnson, Co-founder and COO of Startup Institute
Know When to Let Go
As a founder — or anyone who feels proud of and close to the product he or she creates — you struggle to have the right perspective about your business. It's easy to get too close, and that can be distracting. Here's the good and bad news: No one is looking at your work as closely as you are. So, remember that when you're on hour four debating which shade of navy blue works best for your logo. Yes, details matter. But at a certain point, you have to let go and move on to the next thing.
— Pavia Rosati, Founder of Fathom
Find the Balance
With the community, give before you get. Do deep research for your ideas, but trust your instincts. Actively seek guidance, but know the advice often conflicts, so you need your own conviction. With product, think expansively, then pare it back to basics. Be proud of what you build, though there will never be perfection. Be aware of competition, but don't worry about it. Be direct with your team, but always kind, empathetic, and self-aware. Understand that maybe the world doesn't need your idea, so know when to move on. Luck and resilience are as important as ideas and talent. Don't believe your own press, good or bad. Don't take yourself too seriously, even if you're trying to change the world. Never lose sight of the important stuff: love, friends, family.
— Jamyn Edis, Founder and CEO of Dash Lab
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