Practical startup advice is what you should be looking out for as you build your next company. To get you started on the right foot, no matter where you are in your startup journey, we have put together some of the best and practical startup lessons and advice from 8 of the most successful startup founders and business influencers.
These are a few of the best advice that founders of some of the most successful businesses have given to help others build great startups.
1. Evan Williams, cofounder of Twitter and Medium
The difference between the winners and losers is simple. Products developed with senior management out in front of customers early and often – win. Products handed off to a sales and marketing organization that has only been tangentially involved in the new product development process lose. It’s that simple.
Say no to most things: Features. People. Partnerships. “Coffees.” Projects. Only a few of them really matter. (Yes, it’s hard to know which.) Don’t get distracted.
2. Paul Graham, investor and co-founder of Y Combinator.
The best thing any entrepreneur can do with his idea is to test-drive it early and often. You’ll be amazed by how talking out loud about your idea – especially to folks completely unfamiliar with it – will highlight issues and opportunities you didn’t see before.
And while you’re in the mood for sharing, don’t just consult with those folks who always wake up on the right side of the bed. Find some hardcore skeptics and naysayers. They’ll give you a million and one reasons not to pursue your idea… and those will be a great screen to compare against your million and two reasons to stick with it.
3. Levi Cooperman, Co-founder of Freshbooks
Plan while you can, launch as soon as possible, and make changes as you go. And, just do it! Planning and modelling out your business is always a good idea, but don’t get stuck planning too long, build something and push it out to your users as fast as you possibly can. If your product is getting good reviews and people are willing to pay for it, you’ve got something.”
4. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder, HubSpot.
Once you start burning cash, and until you reach profitability, time is your enemy. Respect it and limit any product development to a fixed schedule. (You Are Leaking Fuel and at high risk!) If the SR-71 can be designed, developed and launched in 18 months so can your project. Replace anyone who does not believe that they can develop a product in 12-18 months. Most should be 6 months maximum after the team is in place.
5. Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit and Hipmunk.
A common mistake I see many startup founders making is they aren’t solving a real problem. You should try to solve a real problem that people have or identify a much better way for people to do things than they’ve historically done before. That is often a good place to start…That’s why the motto of Y Combinator is: ‘Make something people want.’ If you can do that, you’re probably onto something.
6. Seth Godin, Author and founder of Squidoo.
Often times, I’ve seen startups never get off the ground because they never launched their product. It sounds stupid, I know, but these are brilliant people who focused so much on a full feature set that the whole thing caught fire before they got it out of the oven. Getting your product launched is just the beginning. Content updates, monetization, and advertising are the driving point of your business, most likely.
With no product, how will you ever make money? To sum it up, concentrate on your most valuable features with the highest return, launch your product, and make frequent updates. (For more information on this topic, see the Rapid Release Model methodology.)
7. Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal.
You probably have at least a dozen very good reasons why right now is not the right time to start a company. You didn’t just fancy them; they are real and they are scary. But in another light, it’s almost a sure bet that right now is the best possible time for you to go ahead and take the leap. The future holds unknowns – children, moves, deaths, departures, increases in costs, mortgages, and debt.
The present, for all its pros and cons, is at least well defined. Your lowest risk is probably right now. Don’t wait, you will gain nothing in waiting. You are not too young and you do not need the “magic” idea / team to get started. Willpower, risk, and smarts will get you where you want to be.
8. Stephen Kaufer, co-founder, TripAdvisor.
There are a few things. One thing is, venture capital funding is not for everybody. Oftentimes you’re better off just creating a really profitable business without creating the funding. When I say that, the reason is, when we look at a business idea, a lot of times we will see some great business ideas and we’re like, “Yeah. These people are going to make money doing this.” But it is not going to be enough for us to justify a venture investment.