Ben Yoskovitz is a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously he founded Standout Jobs (and sold it). He is a hands-on startup guy, helping companies grow successfully from the idea forward. You can reach him at byosko at gmail dot com. Ben shares his thoughts & lessons learned on startups, entrepreneurship, marketing and other stuff @ Instigatorblog These are a few of his thoughts on startups.

  1. Startups need to find their “one thing” to focus on. It provides (at least some) clarity on how to proceed and helps shape what’s to come.
  2. When you successfully delight users it’s magical. They love you, you love them, birds chirp beautiful music and the clouds literally part in the sky…
  3. The more I think about startups and entrepreneurs, the more I think that one of the leading causes of startup failure is lying. Not lying to other people, but lying to oneself.
  4. Instead of innovating, a startup that relies exclusively on a single platform often finds itself reacting to the platform’s changes, fixing code that stops working, changing tactics, etc.
  5. When looking at your startup or deciding whether to launch a startup, ask yourself, “Is the competition Good Enough?”
  6. Ideas are just the starting point — everything that comes after the lightbulb goes off in your head is really what matters.
  7. Startups don’t win because they have the best ideas when they start.
  8. The root of many startup deaths is indecision, especially for first-time entrepreneurs and CEOs
  9. If you don’t have a tight, structured approach to budgeting and financial control you’re in for a lot of trouble.
  10. Startups are founded by people that make the leap before anyone else.
  11. Focus, focus, focus.
  12. Whether you use customer development or Lean Startup, you have to have answers for the leaps you’re making.
  13. When pitching investors, don’t bash the competition.
  14. The “new” business founder is someone that gets technology and can build products.
  15. Be prepared emotionally for the ups and downs of the Lean Startup process because of how challenging it is to the pace of building your startup.
  16. Writing things down is critical.
  17. When raising early seed money, the requirements and demands from investors will be lower.
  18. Be careful. Riding a mega-trend isn’t the same as solving a real problem.
  19. Startups need to find the acutely painful problem that customers suffer from and target that with a laser beam.
  20. One way to compensate for a lack of domain knowledge is to hire someone from the field in question.