No one is born a seasoned entrepreneur – we all learn by making mistakes. In fact, experts say that making mistakes early in life is much better than making the same mistakes years later and losing money in the process.
However, while ‘making mistakes’ is one way to learn, another great way of gaining knowledge is through learning from the mistakes of others. In this option, you also have the benefit of gaining valuable knowledge without the risk of financial loss.
I decided to try out the second option and prepared a list of expert advice for young entrepreneurs. Hopefully, it will help you minimize risk and maximize profits in your entrepreneurial projects.
Note: This list of business advice for entrepreneurs and startup founders is sourced from Quora.
Have Clear Vision and Objective
First-time startup founders need to set their objective from the very start. “Most startups dive straight into their shiny solution ideas without thinking about why they’re doing what they’re doing or considering the change they want to see in the world,” Laurence McCahill of the Happy Startup School says in his entrepreneur tips on Quora, adding, “Without a clear purpose, a startup can meander along without much momentum.”
He says vision keeps the focus of the startup aligned with real-world challenges .
Consider the vision statements of two tech giants:
To be the pulse of the planet —Twitter
To be the earth’s most customer-centric company —Amazon
Simon Sinek has smartly pointed in his book ‘Start with Why’ – a book on business advice for entrepreneurs, “you need to awaken an emotion with your early customers so that they feel something.”
Most buying decisions are based on emotion, rather than logic. If your customers believe in your vision, they are going to see what you are offering.
Most first-time startups focus on too many things at the same time. This mistake can lead to devastating consequences. Many startups try to market the message to the widest target audience without realizing that the exercise is counterproductive.
Remember that when the startups try to appeal to everyone, they appeal to no one. McCahill says, “By trying to appeal to everyone, left, right and centre, you will actually dilute your message and could end up with a complex, bloated product.”
His advice for young entrepreneurs is to check out the case studies on Dropbox and Instagram that succeeded by appealing to a single class or segment of an audience only.
Don’t Chase Investors – Focus on Building Your Product
A great idea doesn’t always receive funding. The surest way to success for a startup is to have a business model where a product makes its own money.
From the very beginning, most startups focus on getting ‘funded.’ However, funding means that you are sharing your company with an investor. The money comes at the price of losing control over your “baby”.
Instead of making a product to impress investors, focus on creating a product that customers love. When customers love the product, investors will come automatically.
Ask for Help
The term ‘I can’ shows the measure of self-resilience. In contrast, the term ‘only I can’ is interpreted as stubbornness. Most startup founders make the mistake of choosing the latter. They think they can do everything by themselves and do not need outside help. As a result, the startups fail and they have no idea why.
It is necessary to ask for help if you need it.
Second thing to note is that most entrepreneurs are too self-conscious in sharing their ideas. This is the wrong approach because, if they don’t share their ideas, there is no way of knowing whether they are on the right track. Similarly, without sharing the idea, the startup founders couldn’t meet with like-minded people.
McCahill says, “Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, so the more you talk about your challenges as a business, the more solutions you will get for your business.”
His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a good mentor whom you trust and who has a genuine interest in the success of your venture. Find the right person and it is a win-win for everyone.
Have a Growth Strategy
There was a time when you build it and the customers would flock in. However, the market has become saturated enough to offer strict competition in every niche.
Serial entrepreneurs now focus on three things: sales, marketing, and growth hacking. In order to succeed in your niche, you need to have a growth and marketing strategy in place as well.
First-time startup founders get too engrossed in their business and often disregard the growth and marketing aspects, or (in best case scenarios), delay them until the product is complete.
This is a grave mistake. It usually means that if the startup fails, they are left with a useless product and many wasted years.
Emil Lamprecht of Growth Mechanics, in his entrepreneur tips and strategies, suggest building the startup with a marketing plan in mind.
“These two sides must always play off each other, as the product dictates the direction, but the marketing dictates the function/look/feel.”
Don’t Spend Too Much on Hiring
First-time founders make the mistake of hiring too many people, too soon and at a much higher budget than they could afford. This leads to two things: a financial crunch that saps away their capital, and a pool of resources that are not actually needed to scale.
João Romão of GetSocial.io says that early hiring can kill your company. He tells the story of his own company and how hiring too many people too soon lead to an unforeseen death of his startup.
He advises entrepreneurs to start small and scale fast. This way, they will know when to hire new resources.
Starting a business looks great on paper, but in reality, it is a wearisome process that involves constant failures, iterations, and alterations.
It takes time and patience to scale to success.
I hope that the above business advice for young entrepreneurs will save you from making some grave mistakes and increase your chances of success.
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