I’ve launched three different startups and I’ve had a lot of success in each one. But there’s no doubt that every single company has been different, with its own unique challenges and opportunities. In this blog post, I want to share some lessons from my experience as a multiple startup founder that might help you avoid some of the pitfalls that we experienced at all three companies.
Here are some lessons I learnt as a multiple startup founder:
- Be honest with yourself. There’s no point in starting a company if you don’t believe in what it stands for, or if you don’t know that this is the right time to do it. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, it will show through when talking about your business and its offerings.
- Be honest with your customers. Show them how much time, effort, and thought has gone into creating the product or service they are being sold on by demonstrating an intimate understanding of their needs and desires-both current ones as well as future ones (if applicable).
- Be honest with your investors. Don’t ask them for money unless they can see that they will get something back from it; if there’s no clear pathway from investment to profit, then please reconsider asking someone else! Even better, offer some kind of stake in exchange for funding rather than cash; this gets everyone involved, which leads me nicely onto my next point.
Have a clearly defined problem to solve
When you’re starting a new business, it’s important to define the problem you’re trying to solve before you set out. If your goal is vague or not well thought out, it’s unlikely that your solution will be truly effective. For example, “I want more money.” That’s not exactly an actionable statement, is it? Sure, everyone wants more money, but how do we define that without coming off as greedy or insincere? In this case, I’d suggest thinking about what specific financial goals would be reached with what amount of money in a certain time period (i.e., 3-6 months). You could also consider including other metrics like increased productivity/efficiency at work or improved confidence levels around spending habits (which are often tied together).
Know the market you are entering
When you know the market you are entering, it will help you to understand the competition and how to differentiate from them. You also need to be aware of trends in your industry, as well as customer needs and pain points. Customers may have different needs depending on who they are (for instance, an individual vs. a company or industry). The challenges they face may also vary between markets or sectors. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur looking at retail sales, then this could affect how successful your product launch would be based on where exactly people are buying it from-online or offline.
The bottom line is: know the market!
Get your pricing right, probably after launch
Pricing is important. Your pricing should be based on what you need to cover your costs and make money, but it should also reflect the value of your product or service. If you’re selling something that people really want, they will be willing to pay more for it than if they don’t think it has much value.
If you price a product too low, then you won’t make enough money to cover your costs or even turn a profit; if you price it too high for the perceived value, then nobody will buy it because no one wants to spend that much money when there isn’t enough perceived value in exchange.
It is possible that your initial pricing may not work out as planned; maybe not enough people are interested in paying what would allow you to turn a profit, or maybe they’re only interested in paying slightly above cost while expecting all kinds of free perks (like free shipping). You might see this as a problem with how potential customers perceive the value of your product or service; while this could be true, another possibility is simply that there hasn’t been enough time since launch for them to change their minds about how much they’re willing/able/qualified/etc. to spend on something like yours yet.
Understand your users/customers
When it comes to success in the startup world, I believe that there are two key areas where most founders fail. The first is raising funding and building a team, which we’ll talk about later. The second is understanding their audience and customers.
This is one of the most important steps for any founder or entrepreneur who wants to build a successful company. Without this understanding, it’s extremely difficult to stay focused on building something people want, let alone get them to pay for it!
For me, this was where my first startup failed miserably—I thought I had built something amazing, but no one cared enough about what I wanted them to care about (in other words, they didn’t understand my users/customers). Their feedback was always “We love this idea” followed by “But it would be great if…”
Do your research thoroughly and carefully (customer discovery)
Customer discovery is the first step in any successful startup, and it’s what you should focus on before making any decisions.
When you’re in the early stages of customer discovery, your goal is to understand your customers’ needs—and more importantly, their pain points. You also want to get a sense of what they expect from your product/service/idea and how it fits into their lives.
Then, once you have some information about these things, it’s time for customer validation. This is when you find out whether or not those assumptions are true: whether people actually will pay for what you’re selling them (or at least be willing); whether they’ll actually use the product regularly enough to make it worth developing further down the line (and why).
Don’t be afraid to pivot if need be
It’s one of the most common things in startup land: pivoting. If you find yourself struggling to get results, if your business is not where you want it to be and needs a change, then don’t be afraid to make that change. It’s not a bad thing—in fact, it’s a sign of a great entrepreneur!
Money can’t buy real customers
As a first-time entrepreneur, you’re going to face a lot of things that money can’t buy.
Money can’t buy real customers. You need to understand your market, know who your customer is, and what they want and need—and how they will use it. Then you need the discipline and determination to work hard every day for years until you reach that point where you have enough people using your product or service that it becomes profitable enough for you to hire other people (like me) who have those same qualities, so that eventually one day we’ll all be able to quit our jobs working for other people too because we now have enough money saved up so that none of us ever have to worry about making ends meet again!
Focus is the key to success
It’s important to keep focusing on your goals and objectives rather than getting distracted by other things. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Focus on the process and not just the outcome, because if you’re doing things correctly and working hard, then it’s a given that your results will turn out well! And remember: “If we all did our best in life without paying attention to rewards, there would be no wars.”
You are in control of how much or how little success you will achieve, so discipline yourself and stay focused
If you are a multiple startup founder, then you have probably already learned that it takes discipline and focus to achieve success. This is because when you start your first company, there’s no telling what will happen in the future. But with each successive startup comes more business experience, which will help make better decisions and stick with them longer.
As an example of this principle, one of my friends started his first startup in college as a way to learn how to code; he was not able to stick with it long enough before moving on because he didn’t have any money or resources at the time (and no one else did either). He eventually went on to become successful working for someone else’s company but still hasn’t been able to replicate that same level of success by starting his own companies again. However, if he had learned from his previous mistakes, half of them wouldn’t happen again!
If you want to be a successful startup founder, keep these things in mind!
- Keep a clear mind
- Be patient
- Be flexible
- Be persistent
- Be focused on what matters most
- Understand that it’s not about you or your idea, but rather the people who will use it and grow with it (even if they don’t know what they’re doing). You can’t do everything yourself, but by concentrating on building relationships with others who share similar values as you do, and allowing them to help out with different tasks along the way, great things will happen! It’s important for everyone involved to have fun too, because this isn’t just a job; this is something we believe in deeply!
If you want to be a successful startup founder, keep these things in mind! The best piece of advice I can give is to focus on what you’re doing and not get distracted by anything else. If it’s not directly related to your business, then let it go until later or completely ignore it altogether because there are too many distractions out there that can eat up precious time and resources if we’re not careful enough about them.