If you watched “The Social Network” movie, you probably remember the scene where Sean Parker tells Mark Zuckerberg to get a business card saying “I’m CEO, bitch!”. I’m not sure if this scene is pure fiction or taken from a real-life situation, but I think that’s a pure shitty advice. In a theatrical point of view, it might sound cool: but would you really like to hand out a business card saying “I’m CEO, bitch!” to a corporate CEO that you can do business with?
Almost everyone loves to be an influencer in their field of study. It feels good to give advice to “young padawans” and enlighten them with your expertise. So, it is an important thing that entrepreneurs only follow good pieces of advice. (Yeap, I’m looking directly at you Senator. Because of you, Anakin “pivoted” and… You know the rest).
As a blockchain enthusiast, the most important thing that I learned in blockchain is “DYOR”, which stands for “Do Your Own Research”. We can’t say that all of those pieces of advice are completely wrong, but it depends on your situation. Even if some of them might make you feel like “Not that bad”, they are generic, to say the least. Here are a few examples of shitty advice that you can get;
Take a leap of faith and quit your day job for your startup!
No! Don’t! You need a long checklist to complete before you quit your job and follow your dreams. Did you research about your competitors? Do you have a solid business plan? Do you have enough funding to survive? Do you have enough resources? Can you trust your team in mid-term? Do you have the mental strength to embrace upcoming psychological difficulties? And many many more questions need an answer before you take that “leap of faith”.
There are great stories on the internet that you can find easily with a Google search. What you see there are probably like 1% of people who quit their jobs for their new startup. And all people in that 1% have done it after they completed the checklist that I mentioned
Your idea must be out-of-this-world!
There is a famous phrase that you have probably heard: Ideas are worthless, execution is everything. It’s a bold statement but think about it this way: Thinking of climbing Everest is an idea, and climbing Everest is execution.
While Charles H. Duell was the Commissioner of US patent office in 1899, he said: “Everything that can be invented has been invented”. I’m not gonna say something similar, yet ideas nowadays are dime a dozen. Neither Google was the first search engine ever, nor Facebook was the first social media service ever. It was about how they execute the idea. Of course, there were loads of innovation and great ideas involved in the process, but the main idea was nothing original.
A great idea might be your key to success, but certainly not without great execution.
Be passionate about your idea! Don’t give up so easily!
Another problem about ideas is that some entrepreneurs fall in love with their ideas. When that happens, entrepreneurs lose their ability to think logically. They become incapable of critically asking the fundamental questions.
You need to be passionate about your business and how to make it work. But falling in love with your idea hampers your progress. Rather than trying to improve your product, based on your feedback, entrepreneurs might try to shape their customers to like their idea.
Learn > Build > Measure (Repeat)
Don’t rely on anyone! If you want it done right, do it yourself!
It’s a very common approach among entrepreneurs, that they try to handle every bit of detail by themselves. Thanks to Elon Musk, who spent thousands of hours studying (literally) rocket science before founding SpaceX, entrepreneurs might think that knowing everything down to the detail is feasible. It’s not. That’s why most of your potential investors will look for “TEAM” page in your pitch deck. You will need to delegate crucial aspects of your business to your team members.
Learn to delegate tasks to your team members according to their expertise. Your time is so valuable, so let them free up some time for you while (probably) completing tasks better than you can imagine.
And another thing, do not put your teammates under a microscope. Let them do, what they do best. Quit trying to micromanage.
Offer the lowest price possible!
For a new startup, it is always attractive to enter the market with lowest prices possible. By undercutting the competitors’ prices, it feels like you can get more customers onboard easily. Yet, it is a dangerous approach. Your customers may think that your product is cheap because it is inferior (and this is a psychological fact).
Focus on determining a feasible pricing strategy based on your product and your profit margin. Being sustainable is much more important than being cheap and getting lots of customers.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
That’s an approach that 80-year-old corporate giants may find useful. They have a model that keeps them afloat for decades. But, come on, you are a startup. The first keyword that people think about startups must be innovation, it must make you think about something new, something disruptive.
As a startup, you should always focus to improve in every aspect of your business that you can. You need to take risks, but (of course) calculate the possible outcomes first.
Again: Learn > Build > Measure (Repeat)