10 Lessons Learned From An Early Stage Entrepreneur
I’ve been reflecting on my entrepreneurial journey and summarized the top 10 things that are critical in succeeding through the early stages of business.
Branding is everything. I would invest in creating a good brand that builds an audience and resonates with your customers.
Know your key metrics that drive the growth of your business. There are usually 3-4 that will indicate the health of your business. Your job is to know these numbers at all times.
Build the right team. This is the most critical. It’s important to not only hire skillsets, but hire mindsets. People who are really committed to seeing the vision through to total completion and align with your value and character. Don't issue all your equity out in the beginning, make sure it vests for minimum 4 year period.
Know who your true customer is. It’s important to get very clear with deep detail about your target customer down to demographics and psychographics. This is how you know where to find them online and offline as well as how to best meet their needs. You can best define who your customer is through the process of customer discovery. Put yourself out there!
Bootstrap for as long as possible. Don't raise money until you are certain of your value proposition, target customer, and achieve product market fit. There are many ways to fund the business before you take investment and you want to control the destiny of your company for as long as possible.
Don't hire until you have recurring revenue. At that point, you will have a model that is working and some idea of the key activities you should execute on to sustain and grow this model. That is what you should hire for.
Get free marketing through earned media. We were able to reach millions of people through free press on TV, magazines, blogs, and more. The first powerful way of doing this is by putting your story out there. Then it will create a domino effect of publications and outlets reaching out to you to cover your journey. This will help fuel things before investing money into customer acquisition.
Stay passionate. Remember your why when things get tough. It's the fuel for your engine and the reason you get out of bed every morning. Sometimes it will be the only thing that carries you to the next milestone.
Fail fast. Figure out what doesn't work and move on fast. Try something everyday, measure your results, and make a decision on if it’s worthwhile to continue down that path. Don't be adverse to change!
Believe in yourself. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Never second guess whether or not you are capable. If you have this dream and vision, then you are capable of becoming the leader required to lead the business. Being an entrepreneur is a faith building exercise and that first step requires faith in yourself.
And always remember, there is no overnight success. The difference between success and failure is discipline and commitment day in and day out. The only time you fail is when you give up!
Happy Business Building :-) always here to support your success.