Tuesday, April 2, 2013

4 Tips for Startup Founders

The best business advice often comes from those entrepreneurs who have "been there and done that." Here are 4 tips for startup founders from startup founders:

Don't rush your product to market.

"It’s natural to be in a hurry to get product out the door, but take a breath first and really gauge where you are. Slow down when it comes to key decisions, said Dan Belcher, co-founder of Boston-based Stackdriver. Sometimes doing things too early is just as bad than doing them too late.

Do all the jobs first.

Think of this as the "Undercover Boss" paradigm. On that popular reality show, a CEO puts on a disguise and goes down to join the workers to get their perspective on things. Perhaps you should give this a try. "Founders should do every role first before hiring someone to take it over. This helps me understand who I’m hiring, what they should be good at, what they should be doing and how to measure their success,” said David Mytton, founder of Server Density which is a London-based provider of server monitoring services.

Be smart with your hiring.

This is solid advice because hiring before there is a demand for your product is a good way to run through all your working capital. That doesn't mean you shouldn't always be on the prowl for new talent. “You should always be interviewing and always be hiring regardless of your headcount plan,” says Stackdriver co-founder Izzy Azeri. “It’s so hard to find good people and the founder is always the best recruiter.”

Brace yourself for failure.

This doesn't mean you should expect that your company is going to go under but there will be times when things aren't going to work out like that should. That applies to whether you're selling shoes or developing mobile phone apps. Dan Foody is the co-founder of Cloze. They have created an app merges a user’s mail and social media messages. "Apple restricts developers to at most 100 beta test devices for any app. In today’s world that’s not nearly a large enough audience to refine an app (especially a consumer-focused one),” Foody said. “You need hundreds to thousands of beta testers. How can you avoid this pitfall? Build a web app first so you can learn the hard lessons up front with a wide audience without being restricted by platform and store limitations.”