New Intake

6 Fundamental Business Lessons for Startup

1. Your eventual business will be totally different

I have never started a business that became what I intended. You quickly learn what works and what doesn’t when you start engaging with real customers. You may find the audience for what you have to sell is tiny or crowded or programmed to pay peanuts.

Happy accidents make you the money.

2. You better understand people, fast

I thought employees were there to spit-shine my loafers and get me lattes. How wrong I was. This behavior bred traitors.

Employees would get pissed off. Then they’d plan their exit and take whatever IP we had with them. One employee even came back late one night, smashed the window, and stole all our paper records (our accountant was a dinosaur).
The best business owners understand people. You need people to work in your business and you need people to sell to. A psychology degree should be mandatory for entrepreneurs.

If you’re bad with people you’ll be terrible at your own business.

3. Meetings don’t make you money

Money is made in a startup when you get to work. Creating a business is full of fear. Meetings are a crutch to get in a room with other people to calm your fear. I spent way too much time in pointless meetings. We had reoccurring meetings for the sake of reoccurring meetings.

4. You better have some cash lying around

The dream will take longer to build than you think. I would say there is a good chance you will build the dream, have it turn into a nightmare, start a new dream, and repeat the process. I haven’t seen too many one-hit wonders.

Spare cash buys you time. An additional income stream helps keep food in your stomach for longer. Much of the cliche startup advice suggests you to go all-in and bet your life on a startup. I’m not sold.

Without money you become a desperate entrepreneur. Desperate entrepreneurs make dumb decisions. Dumb decisions lead you to bankruptcy.

5. Hire what you’re not

I am not a lot of things. I couldn’t organize stock to leave a warehouse to save my life. I’d probably end up walking to the post office and filling out a paper form to send each customer’s package. Put me in sales and it’s a different story. The temptation is to hire people just like you.

You end up with a bunch of yes men/women telling you what you want to hear. You need people to tell you when you’re being a dick. You need people to challenge your thinking; otherwise they’re there to happily spend your hard-earned money.

When you hear the word "hire" you might think additional people in your business is a privilege — it is. That’s why you start with freelancers. You hire someone to build a website or design your logo or help you set up your social media.
The notion of "hiring" is an out of date concept.

The future of work is disjointed. People don’t have to be attached to your business, or come to an office, or like you, or be given a salary. There are hundreds of ways to get help. You can even pay people purely on results so there’s no out of pocket.

6. Good people follow you from business to business

Many of the people I have in my life are the result of each business. Some followed me as employees. Some followed me as friends. Some became mentors. Each person imparted a tiny amount of wisdom on me.

The accumulation of good people is the greatest reward.

With people, you can do anything in life.

A source


Ken Robinson. Changing Education Paradigms