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7 Important Lessons From the Startup Trenches

Whether it’s opening your own wood fired pizza place or developing a new game app with your best friends, we all dream about running our own business and being our own boss. This article shares seven very important lessons from the startup trenches, that we reveal today, for your benefit.

Some people work hard to make their ideas come true and earn themselves the name “entrepreneur,” while some people just let great ideas slip away. For those who are determined to run a business in the future, here is some fantastic advice. 

Lesson 1: Entrepreneurship

We are in an era of entrepreneurship. The industry revolution has gone. The idea that “you should work for a company for the rest of your life” is no longer valid. If you want to be an employee at the beginning you have to think in an entrepreneurial mindset. 

“Don’t change your mindset.” 

When you want to start something the idea doesn’t have to be big, “every little idea counts to entrepreneurship, the essential is the same.”

I suggest those who want to start a business stick to their ideas. Most startups fail, however those who succeed are the one who stick with their ideas. 

Lesson 2: Purpose

Another of my lessons from the startup trenches is purpose. The purpose of starting a company has to go beyond the money. Purposes shouldn’t be all money-driven. At the very beginning you are not going to make any money, so being patient is very important.

Be super careful about credit defaulters, and remember to watch your cash flow constantly.

Lesson 3: Team

As entrepreneurs, we should always have the best team and we should look for people who are willing to work for us. It’s always important to have everybody in the same room at the beginning. At the start, try outsourcing; you can hire a business coach, an accountant and outsource sales if needed. You can branch out later on however at the very beginning it’s important to have people working together.

“What attracts people is the share in the company.”

One trick to consider is giving some share of your company to your team members. For example, you can offer them 5% of the company’s share however they have to stay and work with you for four years, if they quit in two years then they can only get 2% of the share.

Having incentives like this will motivate your team members. Also “setting up rules at the beginning is important, too,” Diego said. 

Lesson 4: Product

Another of my lessons from the startup trenches is that product is key. You can do great marketing, PR, have the best team, however if you don’t have good products, your business is not going to work out.

Talking to your customers will best help you build a good product. At the beginning it’s important to build trust among your customers. Your customers know what they need and you need to tailor your product to their needs. It takes time to build a good product; you have to keep trying different things and features.

Lesson 5: Funding

The key in funding at the beginning is all about people. You have to make the investors like you and trust you; you need to build a good relationship with the people who might fund your business. 

You need to give them the feeling that you have the passion; you should let them see the revolution that you are going to start. There is a buyer-effect that one investor might bring in another so when you first reach out to investors you have to make yourself look really good. 

As the business goes on, you have to show your investors your achievement on each stage, this is a different story.

Lesson 6: Marketing

Another of my lessons from the startup trenches is marketing rules. There is a basic rule here: never spend more than what you make on what you earn. Say if you make $10 each transaction, then you shouldn’t spend more than $10 to attract customers to make this one transaction. 

“There is no marketing without a product.”

Be analytical and make marketing a science. Always remember to ask your customer where they heard from you.

Is it through a friend, from Google or from Facebook, or found it somewhere else, this way you will know what will be your best marketing strategy. Try pitching guest posts or cold email outreach, craigslist ads and more.

Lesson 7: Value

Running a business is not just about making money. Competence and community always come together, which means we should care about our community and help people along the way. 

This is important for the long term. Diego quoted from Steve Jobs and gave all entrepreneurs a final piece of advice, which is, “focusing is about saying no.”

Remember these lessons from the startup trenches, and all the best of luck!

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