Picking out a couple of highlights:
Be cheap, but not too cheap. In retrospect, I think I have been too cheap running Findory. Budgeting is an exercise that has death by burning out at one extreme and death by resource starvation at another. Findory lived a long time with a very low burn rate, but has been starved of resources, slowing growth, restricting hiring, and limiting paths for expansion.
Wise words – I am all for saving money, but being too cheap can make everything take longer and suck all the fun out.
Mark Moore, founder of One True Media
I’m preaching to the choir here but the best decision a startup can make is to get the initial product out quickly, take feedback, and iterate rapidly. I understand that not all companies can work in this mode (some require longer time to create and iterate due to complexities around the product, etc) but the closer you can work to this methodology than the better chance you will have for success. In my experience, I have found that what you envision in your original business plan will not be true after six months. This is because you will understand the market better and have a better feel for what will really be successful after being in business for a while. So, get started as soon as possible by introducing your product to the market and then you can get to writing a “real business” plan that works and has been tested in the marketplace. For the entrepreneur who wants to be stealth for a year, I say good luck and make sure you have an extra year of funding.
This is exactly how I would operate if I was founding a start-up, and I enjoy his scepticism about stealth mode companies. I just don’t see the point.
Don’t skimp on hiring. Ever. I’ve hired folks who had the right resume, but I knew in my gut were not right for the culture of the business. I thought the skills/resume overshadowed the ability to work together as a team. They never do.
This is my favourite. Hiring is a real challenge for small companies and there can be a lot of pressure to get bodies through the door as headcount (or lack of it) can be a real drag on growth – but you will be better off taking longer and getting the right person. Every time.