Would you have put extra dose of studying or opted instead for an extra pack of strike anywhere positive attitude.

Awesome question.

I'm going to avoid the "cell phone, laptop, internet connection" and assume they are givens so I can focus on the meaty stuff.

I'm in my second startup right now and using what I learned to do this right this time.

1. Good partner(s). Going it alone, or with someone that does not have your interests in mind, is hard and harder, respectively. Partners give you a sense of shared ambition and they are the only others who have the same level of motivation and dedication as you do. I started my first business with a less-than-ideal partner and it dragged me down the whole way, cost me a tonne of money, and prevented us from making the company as successful as it could be.

2. Experienced mentors or advisors. I triangulate when I need advice or have to make a big decision. I speak to at least three people that I trust who have done what I need to do, and pick out the commonalities in each response. This works especially well if they all have diverse experiences and personalities and you recognize their angle.

3. Financial awareness. Wow, this is a big one. While you don't need to be an expert in tax accounting, you sure as heck should know about what is going on in your business. What are your obligations and what do you need to plan for? What does it mean when you receive payment, or sign a contract? When you look at your books, can you explain where all your money is going and why? Can you speak to your accountant and understand why he/she is structuring your books in a certain way? NOTHING will make you fail faster than having your head in the sand when it comes to projections and budgeting, and cash flow management for that matter. Hire good people to manage the details but make sure you can understand them.

4. Sales partners. By this I mean relationships with other organisations in your industry who can help you sell your offering. I structured more than 70% of my sales through partners, who would benefit from any sales they drove, and who were much, much bigger than myself with broader reach. It's like having a mature sales organisation that you don't need to pay for, and they will introduce you to clients that you couldn't otherwise meet.

6. A proven business model. Don't skimp on relentlessly proving that someone will buy what you want to sell, and will feel relief and delight that you've solved a problem or filled a gap. If you can't say you have done this with confidence, stop immediately and invest in this activity.

Answered 6 years ago

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