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the way to entrepreneurship it’s not as glamorous as what’s portrayed on the #entrepreneur side of Instagram. The formula for success contains no planes, no fancy clothes, no cars, but a ton of determination and conviction. grow a company from a team of two to 30 people had various challenges. Things like product iteration, funding, and even recruiting people to join the journey posed as mountains for our team to conquer. If you’re looking to start a company, you’re in for a wild ride!
I don’t claim to be an expert, but I wanted to share these thoughts to help anyone involved in business ownership. (Or even on the cusp of that!)
Here are five lessons I learned as a first-time founder.
Don’t wait for it to be “perfect.”
It is an illusion to wait for the stars to align to start moving towards your business goals. You may feel a case of overthinking, but when you’re building a business, iteration speed will be your best friend for success. Start somewhere. No decision is perfect, and few decisions will result in the death of your business. It’s about taking small, practical steps every day to reach your goals.
Perfection is the enemy of progress. The first iterations of the product will likely be difficult. But getting your product to market with beta testers led us to a product we’re incredibly proud of today. Without feedback, it is impossible to iterate effectively. I regularly ask myself, “what can I do today to make us better than yesterday?”
Bring the right people
Pretty easy, right? I believe that good people build good teams and good teams build good products. Building your team is one thing that is vital to the success of your business. The secret behind Smartrr’s growth is the team we have built. find that talent from scratch was one of the most challenging things I have ever faced. I know I said never expect perfection. Still, it’s essential to clarify the type of culture around which you’re looking to build your business and focus on aligning the right people who will add value to the specific culture.
Starting a business is challenging; having internal misalignment will only distract you from your goals and can be your undoing. Take your time selecting who is in your inner circle. This includes your team, but also everyone else concerned parties also; your investors, your partners and your customers. Surround yourself with well-intentioned, ambitious and intelligent people who are dedicated to solving the problem you seek to build, and success will come.
Then align those people behind a customer-obsessed mindset. Sounds simple enough, but it’s all too easy to get distracted by thinking about who has the latest shiny object or clever marketing campaign in space. Be relentless in bringing pain points and customer feedback to the surface, avoid looking at what other competitors are doing, and set your sails toward the needs you can satisfy for your customers and prospects.
As a result, we continue to develop innovative solutions and stay aligned with our mission and goals internally. If there’s one thing to take away from this piece, it’s that everyone in your company (regardless of the product or service you’re providing) needs to be focused on the end consumer.
Done right, the team will not only create something amazing, but inspire each other every day and drive a strong culture, better productivity, and a stronger business.
reflection is vital
It is easy to block bad calls, days, etc. That being said, facing the good and the bad through reflection gives you the privilege to grow and mature. In time, you’ll recall the very event that made you sick to reflect on and laugh at what once ruffled your feathers (trust me, we’ve all been there. You’re not alone). With every misstep, misfortune, and mistake you make, the last one doesn’t look too bad.
As a founder, you don’t really have the option to stop when the going gets tough. Once again, I’ve been there. Once you beat the next challenge, look back and know you’re better for it. Reconcile the bad and even laugh at what caused you in the past when you can. When faced with a new challenge, take those steps forward and focus on what you can control—those previous challenges will help you know you can overcome another. More often than not, you have accomplished great feats.
Equity isn’t the only thing you can get financing for
I can write another whole article about how to raise funds for your business effectively, but with the space that I have, know that there is a lot to be gained from being in a room with investors with years of experience in your space. In my opinion, a good investor relationship is not based on the basis of the capital provided.
At our early stage, our “best” investors are those with whom we have a true partnership. They are the ones we can call for help for any reason. They are not investing simply to fill an investment thesis bucket. They are excited about what you are doing and take the time to learn about you and your vision for the company. They don’t wait for you to get close. They will take the initiative to introduce you to a potential client or just to see how the founder’s life treats you.
when you are actively fundraisingremember this: as much as you are telling them your vision, they It should be telling you theirs Do your due diligence and ask the tough questions; Find out who they support, their current portfolio companies, who they can connect you with, and their stances on trends in your market.
Create goals outside of your business
Without a doubt, you will be tested and pushed outside of your limits and challenged to overcome many mental barriers. Another useful way to grow is to create achievements outside of work. What I found particularly helpful while working at Smartrr is challenging myself to find purpose beyond work. Being so focused on something as big as scaling what we hope will continue to be a thriving business, short-term gains are essential.
An example of that is going on a weekend hike: get fresh air it works wonders, but getting to the top of a hike, “winning,” in a sense, is a huge win that helps fuel my mind for the week ahead. It’s hard to believe when you’re deep in the trenches, but victories won’t always come from your business. Set goals and crush them, both inside and outside your organization!
As a first-time founder, these five lessons have brought joy and success to the entrepreneurial journey. These are not his “success formula” but lessons that I hope you can take, practice and fuel your growth in business and in life. Remember, success is not linear or manifests itself in the same way in all cases, but apply these principles in the way that you see fit in your day to day. Get clear on your goals, and I hope you start your 2023 off great!