Best Advice From Successful StartUp Founders:
If given the chance to sit down with some of the world’s best business minds, there are a lot of things we’d all like to ask, but there’s one key question on everyone’s lips: how do you do it? And more importantly, how can I replicate it? I’ve rounded up some of the best advice for entrepreneurs offered by some of today’s most successful moguls.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Start with the problem that you’re trying to solve – not with deciding that you want to build a company.
Of course, I couldn’t write an article on entrepreneurs without including one of the world’s most famous tech company founders. While Zuckerberg’s advice might seem counter-intuitive to ambitious entrepreneurs, he went on to explain:
“For anyone that’s had the experience of building a company, you know that you go through a lot of hard things along the way, and I think that part of what gets you through that is believing in what you’re doing and knowing that what you’re doing is really delivering a lot of value to people.”
Michelle Mone, Ultimo
Write a business plan and include absolutely everything.
Organisation is key, according to Ultimo founder Michelle Mone. While she highlights the importance of starting with a great idea, she’s quick to add that the real challenge is in the details. In an interview with Jack Wong, she said:
“When you’ve got your idea…you’ve got to write your business plan, and you’ve got to think about everything in that business plan: how you’re going to do it, if you’re going to manufacture it, if it’s a service industry, who your customers are going to be, who your competitors are…You name it, everything has to be in that business plan. And then – how are you going to fund it?”
Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed
Build a great team.
Buzzfeed founder and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti puts his successes down to being surrounded by the right people. During a speech at a Commonwealth Club event, Peretti shared:
“One of the hardest and most important things is to build a great team. Startups need people with shared values and who also want to go after something big.”
So how do you go about attracting talented employees? Peretti’s advice is to “let people do their best work and be more productive than they would be somewhere else.”
Nick Woodman, GoPro
Create an imaginary business mentor.
It might seem like odd advice from Nick Woodman, but the GoPro creator insists that creating an imaginary mentor relationship with one of his idols – Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz – helped him get where he his today. Elaborating on his idea, he said:
“Imitation of other successful people is a very good way to be successful yourself, and so in lieu of knowing anybody, imagine you know them and then in your own way you can convince yourself you do and you can have your dream mentor. It worked for me.”
Richard Reed, Innocent Drinks
Find the people that can help you.
Richard Reed famously founded Innocent Drinks company after sending an email to everyone he knew that simply read, “Does anyone know anyone rich?”. It should come as no surprise, then, that his main advice is to find the right people to bring on board. On approaching investors, Reed’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is not to give up.
“Behind that final no there will always be a yes. You just need to keep on asking.”
He also followed it up by encouraging entrepreneurs to build partnerships:
“My best bit of advice is: get a teammate. Or get two. I think we wouldn’t have had as much trouble as we did if we’d paired up with a mentor and had a more experienced person around the table.”
Brian Chesky, Airbnb
Be able to tell your story well.
When Brian Chesky first founded Airbnb, he went door-to-door to meet his users – a strategy which likely helped him develop his sales pitch for when he met with potential investors and partners. Chesky states that one of the most important lessons he’s learned is to tell his story well – and frequently.
“It’s remarkable how much time you spend telling your story, whether to potential investors, employees, partners or the media. You need to seek out people with leverage and ask for their help in telling your story, as well.”
What do you think of these entrepreneurs’ advice? Do you agree with it? And what’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Let me know in the comments.