If you are starting your first company – You will probably fail.
This should be the first thing you hear from a successful entrepreneur.
9 out of 10 startups fail despite there being a tremendous amount of knowledge over the internet about building successful businesses.
You’d say – “Why is that?”
And I feel, “It’s, because in 80-90% of cases, the experiences of being an entrepreneur or a company leader cannot be fully taught. You start to understand the game of entrepreneurship/building a company by making mistakes by yourself.”
As a vocalist from Limp Bizkit said once: “Cause life is a lesson, you learn it when you are through”
Let’s jump to the point.
# Be Bold
Don’t be shy to ask a customer to pay a lot if your service is worth it (read more about Value-Based Pricing). Don’t be afraid to set the bar high.
Set your yearly revenue goal 2-3x times higher than you think is possible (especially in the beginning). You will be shocked by the end of the year, believe me.
# It’s a Marathon
There is nothing like an overnight success. You work a lot for a long period of time. If you are not prepared for that, don’t even start.
# Execution > Idea
Share your idea with everybody to get as much feedback as possible. The initial idea will be 90% different from the end product that makes money for you (Read more about why Ideas are just a multiplier of execution)
#Delegate, Automate and Outsource
Don’t micromanage, trust your employees, delegate as much as you possibly can to have time to build a company, NOT a product you are selling to your customers.
Automate: every freakin’ task that you repeat more than 3 times per month should be automated. It doesn’t matter if this is invoicing, paying salaries & taxes, or onboarding people. You need to create procedures and automate as much as possible.
Your goal is to go on vacation for two months, and the company is still operating :). (Read more about 15 Tools to Automate Processes in SMB)
Outsource, whatever is not a core of your business.
# Find The Best Founders ever
The startup is like a band; you need great motivated, hard-working musicians, who play different instruments and have a bit different style than you to help you create the one and only “style” of your product.
# Fire People Fast
If somebody doesn’t fit into your organization, fire them fast. Don’t procrastinate – if you know, do it now. If you don’t, you will regret the time wasted in two-three months. The cost of having a wrong person on the board will get higher each month. Therefore…
# Hire People Slowly
Are they the right fit? Does he/she have those skills you need? If you are not sure – ask for references, send 2 test tasks, etc. (Read more on AirBnB spent 5 months hiring before they hired a person – Brian Chesky)
# Listen & Understand instead of Talk & Persuade
It doesn’t matter if you talk with a customer, your employee, a mentor, a lady at the coffee shop or a CEO. By listening, you can learn more about what your customer needs, why your employee is unhappy or what to do next by listening to more experienced CEOs than you.
Be humble and listen.
#Spend 2x less Money than You Can Afford
Teach your employees to treat the company money as their own.
Don’t buy new Macbooks – buy used ones.
Don’t buy fancy desks – buy used ones.
Your employees will understand and, believe me, they will be happier to get a chunk of saved money in a yearly bonus instead of working in an expensive office on the top floor.
#Sell, sell, sell!
If you don’t know how to do it, learn it. Each co-founder should know how to make sales. First, focus on selling instead of building.
Resources you need to learn how to make sales.
Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com — My favourite one. A must-read for anybody building inbound/outbound sales, sales team and all other related processes.
The Ultimate Startup Guide to Outbound Sales — The best sales hustler that I have ever seen live. I am pretty sure that this guy could sell snow to an Eskimo.
How to Win Friends and Influence People — Basics that you need to know to make people like you.