Insights from Entrepreneur's - 10 Pieces of Advice from Startup CEOs
All Things Venture #034
Hey Everyone, Dez here from All Things Venture. This past weekend I took the time to read through all of the Startup Spotlight articles we’ve done here at All Things Venture. I originally started this newsletter at the beginning of the pandemic because I wanted to provide early stage companies with an opportunity to share their story and help them drive awareness for their new companies. Starting something new is hard. It takes guts. It takes perseverance, and optimism, and a tenacity that I wholeheartedly respect. I am extremely thankful/grateful that through this newsletter I’ve been able to interact with so many different entrepreneurs that embody those characteristics in so many different ways. I’ve been able to learn so much from the founders I talk to AND I’ve been able to provide a platform for them to share their stories. Is All Things Venture at the scale of something like Bloomberg Media? No, obviously not, but we like to think that despite our current size, we’re playing a small part in the entrepreneurial journey by helping founders spread the word about their company and their mission while also providing our audience (you amazing people who have come along for the ride) with perspective and insight into the process of building a billion dollar startup. It’s a win, win, win. So today’s article is going to take a quick trip down memory lane and focus on surfacing some of the best insights we’ve heard from founders. In every Startup Spotlight article we ask founders,
What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneur?
I went through all of the responses we’ve received over the past year and pulled out ten of my favorites, in no particular order. Hope you all enjoy.
George Ruizcalderon, CEO - Circular Hospitality
“Remain authentic to yourself. Be passionate. Have a business model that makes sense in an area that you think will continue to grow. Make sure you address a pain point. Reaffirm your ideas through feedback from the market. Think long term, and have an exit strategy.”
Ray Li, CEO - Sene
“Your initial idea is probably wrong. You have to be ruthless with killing ideas that aren’t right. If there is a top-level vision that is inspiring you, hold tightly to that, but you have to be quick to reject manifestations of it that aren't working.”
Jordan Taylor, CEO - Medley
“Prepare now by creating a daily rhythm for taking care of yourself and connecting with people you're close to. Even if you aren't sure what business you want to build yet, developing a set of practices that give you a solid foundation for living and being will increase your chances of success and help you enjoy the journey. In building Medley, I've had to work hard on the self-management side so I can show up ready to learn every day - as there are a lot of ups and downs in building a business, and the mental stress can take a physical toll as well. For example, I've found that in order for me to be present and show up well, I have to be mindful of my sleep, try to move every day, and try to eat as many whole foods as possible. Experiment with what works best for you and try to find a rhythm that you can sustain.”
Dane Baker, CEO - EcoCart
“It’s all about passion. Running a startup is a hard life - there is nothing easy about it and times truly get tough. Therefore, the absolute most important aspect of running a successful startup is “the why.” Why are you setting out to do what you’re doing? You need to be obsessively passionate about your business and the problem it’s solving and that will push you through any challenge you face.”
Toby Egbuna, CEO - Chezie (fka - Dyversifi)
“My biggest advice would be to just go for it. It’s hard to convince yourself to do something as big as starting a business without planning, but there are some things that you just won’t find out until you actually launched. We launched Dyversifi with a very basic Wix site, and ran the business off that site for 9 months before we redesigned and re-branded. We learned so much about our users and marketing, and I know that if we’d taken months to plan the launch, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Conor McCarter, CEO - Prequel
“Do whatever it takes to get in front of real users, and build for them! We're most inspired by the teams that ship quickly and iterate often on the awesome feedback their users are providing, and we try to do the same as best as possible. I think the transition from idea to real product is one of the most important steps an entrepreneur can take, even if the "product" is extremely simple.”
Haley Fradkin, CEO - Revibe
“My best advice for entrepreneurs is how to best accept advice from other founders and funders. You will get a lot of different advice from a lot of different people but the best entrepreneurs learn how to filter through the noise. Learn how to apply what is most appropriate and specific to your venture and only take that advice. Always stay busy and remember, change is the only constant so prepare for it and continue to adapt.”
Charlie Anastasi, Head of Growth - Rize Education
“Hard to not come off too cliche here, but focus and prioritization are such critical elements of a startup early on. Hopefully you feel that the opportunity set in front of you is massive, but with limited resources, it is likely impossible to pursue every great idea. Being able to focus your team, capital and time on the highest impact initiatives rather than pursue everything simultaneously is a huge differentiator early on.”
Megan Murday, CEO - Metric
“Particularly for female founders, be aware of the questions you’re asked in fundraising meetings and reframe when necessary. There are plenty of questions around risk and downside scenarios, but you want to share your long-term vision. Seeking out venture-backed female founders can also help you create a network and sounding board to help you grow as a leader and as a company.”
Jason Abromitis, CEO - Launchpad
“You’re not alone. The biggest reason that I can’t go back to working in a big company is that in startupland people want to help (even if they aren’t actually being helpful… or if some say that they want to help reflexively without meaning). So take people up on their offers to help and put yourself out there to make connections with people who can help.
Additionally, I got three piece of advice early with my first startup that I built starting 8 years ago that have really stuck with me:
It’s never as good or as bad as it seems
The most successful founders are just too dumb to quit
If you have one, make sure your significant other is REALLY on board with what you’re doing - you’ll need them to push you when you want to give up rather than say that you should do something less stressful”
That’s it for this week everyone, as always drop me a note at email@example.com, and let me know what you think in the comments!