Some helpful advice for new founders
Maya Horgan Famodu May 12, 2019 3:11:53 AM 0 Post Ups
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I was just asked to list some helpful tips for new founders. Here are quick thoughts:
- Never build alone. You cannot play all roles--identify your skills and find people who are smarter and better than you at the other stuff to make a team and eventually, a successful company. If you don't know what you're good or bad at, figure it out before you launch. a) Ask your co-workers / friends to anonymously give you feedback b) think of what you hate doing / procrastinate on doing versus what you can't get enough of c) explore any of the thousands of online skills and aptitude tests.
- Always talk about your idea so you can find and inspire prospective team members, and also because great advice and serendipitous links to business, advisors, etc come at the most random of times.
- Be careful about sharing your secret sauce--don't freely do that--but if a basic description of your startup is that easy to steal, you're not the best person to be making it, and it's probably not defensible.
- Take care of your mental health. Building a startup is a marathon, not a sprint. The state of your business is a direct reflection of your emotional, spiritual, mental state. If you want to build a great business, build a great mind, soul, and body.
- Commit to the problem, not your idea. Too many times I've come across founders who think they have the coolest app / the coolest product / service and want with all their might to sell me and potential users on the idea--without really understanding the problem they're trying to solve and also, for whom. Start with the problem so you can detach yourself / your ego from customer feedback and really just create something people want, based on exactly what the problem is and what your customers define it as, and the feedback they give you. Also makes you more agile and able to pivot.
- Read this and read this on learning to be empathetic / compassionate. If you're building a product, you're literally getting into the head of a consumer to understand what they want and NEED, and then trying to create the perfect solution. You must be able to empathize and deeply understand the experience of your target consumer in order to effectively do that. Also read this on storytelling--the best way to understand your customer is to learn the story of their experience, not through (biased) Q&A / surveys, but from organic stories.
- Books I've recently read that were impactful to my business: Hard Thing About Hard Things; How to Win Friends and Influence People; The Lean Startup; The Power of the Subconscious
- Newsletters / podcasts I subscribe to that have been impactful to my business: Tim Ferriss Show; How to Start a Startup; Y Combinator Newsletter; Mattermark Daily; Quartz Daily
- And make sure to pick up a ticket to our High Growth Africa Summit in Lagos, Nigeria this November 21-22 for two days of masterclasses on how to launch, scale, and fund a high growth African business :)
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