The most successful entrepreneurs have faced the same challenges that startups are grappling with today.
There are lessons learned that can help anyone who is starting a business.
Here, we offer a dozen of the best business tips from the entrepreneurs behind the big ideas in ‘Trep Talk— from picking a market to executing on your idea, plus how to determine whether you’re really creating a viable business.
'Don't be afraid to fail. My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn't have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. '
'Get everything in writing, especially with business partners. When you're starting out, things can be quite friendly and exciting, but people's memory can change due to money. Obviously, better to have a lawyer do it, but at least have some written recollection that you are partners, who's responsible for what, and how much money each of you put in.'
'You have a viable business only if your product is either better or cheaper than the alternatives. If it's not one or the other, you might make some money at first, but it's not a sustainable business.'
'Something worth doing might take a while, so really flesh out the potential of the business and be honest about whether it's worth doing. If it's not a $100 million company in five years, maybe it'll take 10 or 15 years. If you're doing something that has a universal, timeless need, then you need to think of the company in a timeless way.'
'Don't spend money until you have money. When we used to put candy in our media kits, I would go to the Duane Reade store the day after Easter because the candy was on sale. Of course, it's important to spend on certain things in the beginning. You need good servers but you don't need Aeron desk chairs.'
'What I learned from Rockefeller that's off-the-hook important is: You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves.'
'The joy is in the getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you're in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being so focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that… don't miss it.'
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