45 Simple Yet Profound Startup Insights

It is a truism that you can see further by standing on the shoulders of giants and this article is geared toward helping you do just that. It is packed full of inspirational and informative gold nuggets that will help any founder or startup team power through to the end zone. I’ve collected, broken down and simplified the profound thoughts (often entire posts) from the many founders and executives that have contributed to DailyTekk over the last year (see footnote) into super-simple bite-size bits that are quickly and easily digestible (as Michael Scott would say, digest them and we’ll see what comes out the other end). The end result is a powerful startup resource I think beginners and veterans alike will want to bookmark/favorite and reference from time to time—I know I will!

What would you add to this list (or modify or take away)?

  1. Don’t wait! Your idea is running away from you everyday unless you chase it.
  2. The real secret to success is to never give up—success usually goes to the last one standing.
  3. Team up with people that are better than you so that 1 + 1 = more than 2.
  4. 2-3 out of every 500 companies seeking venture capital get funded. Why? These companies have scalable business models/products that solve real problems AND have a story to tell.
  5. Serve customers, not technology, by solving problems for real people.
  6. The thing about walled gardens is that you live at the pleasure of the gardener. Doesn’t matter how pretty your leaves are or how far down your roots go. The gardener decides who gets the sunshine, who gets the water, and who gets a shovel-load of fertilizer.
  7. Age is not a problem. What is a big problem is wasting time that you’ll never get back.
  8. Integrate with a vibrant startup community where like-minded people can push you forward, understand your pain, share experiences and broaden your network.
  9. A singular vision can buoy a company, but true success resides in a great team of designers, developers, and engineers.
  10. If you wait until it’s perfect you’ll never be done. Get it out there, get people using it and make it real.
  11. Tech entrepreneurs: without users you are nothing more than lines of code so go grab your community and listen!
  12.  Getting through the worst of times is how you win.
  13. As a general rule, people don’t like to do hard things so the few that are willing/able/unafraid to endure a bit of hardship are the ones who are going to come out looking like they accomplished something. When you are willing to do something other people aren’t in order to get ahead, respect, money and even fame are most likely going to follow to some degree.
  14. The barriers to tech entrepreneurship are very low so you have no excuse not to start BUT you’ll have tons of competition from day one.
  15. To build a successful product or company you must be a great sharer; help people so they can help you—not the other way around.
  16. Don’t just grab a design founder because that is the trend. Everyone on your team should be a designer, a design-thinker; experience is for everyone.
  17. Take things one at a time. Little successes can add up to something bigger and if you break things down into smaller tasks you won’t get overwhelmed.
  18. Don’t be afraid to talk about an idea you are chasing because the sooner you begin to execute, the sooner you will receive necessary feedback from advisors and prospective clients.
  19. Don’t be afraid of failure—if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing yourself.
  20. While not fashionable, working in an industry and building a reputation and history is a legitimate startup path.
  21. Be more relevant and your target audience will spend more time with your brand. The more time people spend with your brand the more engaged they become. Exposure and engagement build trust. Trust is brand currency. Therefore, relevance affects trust levels. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy into your message.
  22. Don’t immediately quit your job, blow your savings and alienate your family (that all comes later).
  23. Are you willing to commit to do WHATEVER it takes to see your startup through? If not, don’t even start.
  24. You must determine if there is anything else like your product and whether there is or will be a large market BEFORE you get started.
  25. Gain understanding of your market then FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on the main pain point in your domain area.
  26. When you think you’ve figured out your minimum viable product you haven’t—it’s simpler and smaller than that.
  27. Only make agreements that are focused on the long term and that you know will make the cake bigger. There is no need to own the biggest slice of a cake that is worth nothing.
  28. Start a company whose products you will use every day. As Mike Arrington said, “The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.”
  29. If you create a product only for yourself it may be amazing but never see the light of day.
  30. It’s not about the idea; it’s about execution.
  31. Start building before you try to get funding. If you are going to pitch to Angels or VCs you will have an easier time if you have something to show and can prove that you can execute.
  32. Prepare yourself for the long haul. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to be prepared for the setbacks.
  33. Always look to learn.
  34. Humility is a godsend.
  35. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll get excited over opportunities that quickly fizzle. You’ll meet people that will later ignore your e-mails or not call you back. And you’ll have people tell you your “baby” is ugly. It’s how you manage those moments that will give your vision, passion, and execution the best chance to succeed.
  36. Everyone says follow your passion but sometimes it is okay to feel more passionate about the act of building that the product itself.
  37. See through barriers. So many menacing problems you face will turn out to be mere illusions when you actually test them for weaknesses.
  38. Tech startups should hire management teams that combine both tech-savvy and product-savvy (UX) people. One without the other is a recipe for failure.
  39. There has never been a better time to start a company so don’t listen to people who say it has all been done. There are massive opportunities in social, mobile, the cloud, big data and the enterprise.
  40. You AND your spouse must be willing to live the sacrifices that are inevitable.
  41. Do the opposite of everyone else. If everyone is making a daily deals/big data/location-based photo sharing app you should probably avoid that space.
  42. If you are a true entrepreneur, building a company from scratch is definitely worth all the pain, uncertainty and long nights.
  43. Someone has to maintain focus by saying no.
  44. It is never too late to take the lead.
  45. What’s bad about starting a new company:  It’s a difficult and painful road, littered with strife, disappointments, greedy people and sacrifice. What’s good about starting a new company: You could make a lot of money, change the world, make interesting friends and enjoy the ride.

Editor’s note: The bulk of this information is pulled from DailyTekk’s InnovatorsInspirationRadar and brand new Think Tank categories.

Hey, I'm Chris—founder and Editor of DailyTekk.com. You can also catch me contributing on ReadWrite. I enjoy checking out the latest and greatest consumer tech. I write about tech that's more ID than IT.

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