A couple of years back I travelled half way across the world to visit Silicon Valley, the home of modern tech and the hub of the startup ecosystem. I had the opportunity to meet many founders, hear from leading investors and experience all the startup sector can offer. It was like the immersive learning you’d get from an accelerator program, except in my case, I was visiting to understand what successful startups do better. It was inspiring.
Since then I’ve continued to follow leading practice for building startups and talked to many more founders. But I see a problem. A growing one. Founders are doing amazing, innovative things but many are struggling to make it work. And they’re increasing in number as more people turn away from traditional jobs to take the harder, but hopefully more rewarding path.
You can find out plenty from just a few minutes talking to the founder of an early stage startup. I love meeting founders and thinking: “Wow, they’re on the right track!” More often though it’s clear they could use a bit of help. Some of the warning signs are when founders:
– Can’t clearly describe what they’re building
– Don’t know if anyone wants what they’re building
– Have been working on their business for a long time but haven’t launched anything
– Have worked on lots of different things, but haven’t stuck with any of them and don’t know why they failed
– Talk all about lean startup principles but skipped putting them into practice
– Act as though the networking is more important than the business.
The challenges just get bigger and more complex as your business grows.
It quickly becomes clear when founders aren’t making the best use of their precious time. As entrepreneurs, we’re wired to get stuff done and to just keep going. I get it. But life is short. Why make the journey harder than it already is?
I genuinely believe society needs more innovation and more people building new things, but we can speed up our journey by learning from the successes and failures of others. There’s enormous value in having mentors to bounce ideas off and who understand your business. While there are a wealth of resources available about how to build a startup, they’re general in nature and can never be specific to the unique circumstances of your business. So:
1. I’ll work closely with founders to understand what makes your business unique and provide personalised advice on how you can improve your chances of success. That way you’re not going it alone and playing roulette to find general advice that just happens to pay off.
2. I’ll fuse the learning and experiences of many founders into the best general advice and put it in practical terms that you can easily apply. I’ll do that because I understand some founders just don’t want ‘an advisor’, no matter how much difference it can make.
Let’s get started.
As a founder what’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?