As Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on.” Well, here at DailyTekk we come into good advice all the time. More specifically, the site is quickly becoming a treasure trove of entrepreneurial advice from some of the world’s brightest minds. As you may or may not know, from time to time we feature interviews with innovators that are making a big impact on the world. One of the questions we like to ask them is, “What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start a tech company?”
This particular roundup of excellent advice is particularly unique because it features opinions from people whose work intersects with the tech industry from another industry such as advertising (Martin Sorrell) and design (Matthew Smith). This is a good thing because you don’t get the same old answers you might otherwise see in a group of pure techies. Of course the techies know a thing or two about their industry as well (duh) so we’ve got you covered there as well with sources representing travel, music and mind-mapping products as well. Enjoy!
Also read: Can’t Miss Startup Advice (June)
Build on Reputation
It’s not fashionable to work in an industry and a company and build a reputation and a history, but that’s what I’d advise. Once you’ve built that record and history, start something on the back of that reputation and success and be very persistent and speedy. Let that entrepreneurial streak develop and unleash it.
Serve Customers, Not Technology
Solve problems for real people. Serve customers not technology. When you think you’ve figured out your minimum viable product is, I promise you that its smaller and simpler than that. Don’t just slap on design to what you’re doing, and don’t just grab a design founder who’s a pixel pusher because that’s the trend. Everyone on your team should be a designer, a design-thinker; experience is for everyone.
Have a Story to Tell
I have started 3 companies that have gotten VC funding. They say that 2-3 out of 500 companies that goes through this funnel process with a VC get funding. The interesting question is then to ask “why” do the companies that get funding, get funding. If you analyze these companies you will often see that they have a business model or product that is very scalable and that they really solve problems. A company also needs to have a story to tell. This story is what many call the “Vision.” If you do not have a story that you can convince and excite others with, it will eventually become really difficult to keep on the path to the direction that you have.
Other very important advice is to team up with people that are better than you and that really makes 1 + 1 = more than 2. I have met a lot of people that have great ideas. If they had great people that could help them then the innovation in this world will explode. The mystery is then why do the people with great ideas not always find those other people that can help them? The answer is often that many people are afraid to give to get. If you are going to be a successful product or company builder, you must also be a great sharer. You need to think that you need to help others so they can help you. Not the other way around.
Also, when doing agreements. Always make deals and agreements that are long term focused and that you know will make the cake become bigger. No need to own the biggest part of the cake if the cake is worth nothing.
Be Your Own Best Critic
Start a company whose products you will use every day. You can, if you choose to, be your best possible critic. And it’ll be a lot more interesting if you’re working on a problem you know and care about.
Scratch an Itch
I just answered this question in another interview with the Nike slogan, which is of course not very original or clever, but in my opinion still the best advice for a budding entrepreneur: Just do it. Because if you don’t try you won’t succeed of course, and even if it takes two to three attempts, it will be worth it. But I think quite often even the first attempt works out, if you do something you’re passionate about and that solves a problem for you. Like Mike Arrington said somewhere recently, “The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.”