In a world filled with startups, success or failure is difficult to predict. But one thing is for sure: the one who decides to start his own business will never be the same. Constant difficulties associated with the emergence of new opportunities and problems, make the process amazing and interesting. I think that is why many people start their own business, despite the presence of another (simpler) alternative - to work for someone else.
During my life I have opened several firms and I can say that some lessons I learned were intuitive and accessible, while others were far from being so simple and obvious. However, given the time and money spent on understanding these lessons, I cannot call any of them cheap.
These lessons changed my worldview, changed me as a person. I am glad that I had to deal with them, but this does not mean that I would not like to know them initially.
These are the eight things that I would like to know when I started my first business.
It takes more time than you can imagine.
Where people work, resources are spent, tasks are performed and someone manages it, it takes much more time than it seems at first glance. And it's not about patience, because patience will not help you move forward. You just need to be realistic in planning and management.
Successful things are successful immediately.
I saw more successful products, projects, people, etc., that “shot” in a short time than those that developed gradually. A good seller or employee is good from day one. Such people immediately begin to benefit. A product that can be successful, immediately attracts the attention of customers.
People will let you down in such sophisticated ways that you could not even see in a nightmare. From simple indifference and laziness to fraud and theft. You yourself will know all this as you work with people. Believing in people and trusting them can be dangerous. As Ronald Reagan used to say: "Trust, but verify." Blind faith will cause you to constantly face problems. Love and reward your employees, but don't be too sure about them.
Good workers are very hard to find.
Yes, exactly: not just difficult, but devilishly difficult. And such workers leave first if something goes wrong. The truth is that only 10% of the world's population is competent in anything - and you, of course, want to hire just such a person.
It's hard to do this all the time. Therefore, organizations that successfully find such people have an ideal reputation and many customers. If you want to build a business that requires success in finding and retaining a large number of good employees, then you must understand that this is an incredibly risky venture. Finding a market to successfully sell a product (usually considered a very risky business) simply rests compared to this. It would be better to do business that requires a sane percentage of good employees.
Bad workers like a burdock
Firstly, bad workers are not too interested in work, because interest makes them work. Secondly, no one needs such workers. Weak and insignificant employees will cling to you for the rest of their lives, unless you constantly move forward. For many years, I only once saw a situation when this statement was not true: during the dot-com bubble. At that time, any idiot could get from 15 to 20% salary increase just by changing jobs. And they changed jobs. Nowadays, bad workers are the most loyal to you (in the bad sense of the word).
Good luck and bad luck go near
You will be accompanied by good luck and bad luck. All the time. Sometimes things will seem negative to you, and then turn into positive ones (for example, a bad seller did not want to work for you), and vice versa. You will have both ups and downs, you will win and lose where you do not deserve it. You will be lucky and unlucky. You just may not understand what is what.
Avoid the spending myth
Look at the quick success issue. Do not tie yourself to the anchors that you create in the development process. If something does not work, throw it away. Understand that it will not bring you money, after a certain amount of expenses, it will bring you only
expenses. Dismiss the seller, release the manager, stop selling that product, get used to move forward. You have to make a huge number of difficult decisions. And you need to be prepared for the fact that not all of them will be correct.
The difference between good and bad times is often the number of opportunities available, customers, etc., that bring you success. In good time, more deals end successfully with those that are available to you. In bad times, this number decreases. Therefore, always, always look for as many possibilities as possible. Deals fail for a million reasons. You should always have a backup option.
about the authorDon Rainey
is one of the co-owners of Grotech Ventures and the host of the VC in DC
blog. He is also a consultant to the Director of Information Technology at the Department of Defense and a member of the Organizing Council of the prestigious MindShare forum.