10 Things Every Startup Needs to Know

Phew, I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve written a blog. It’s been an incredible ride.

Back in October of 2011 I was accepted into Startup Chile – undoubtedly the best darn incubator/ “ultra-angel investor” on the planet. If you get in, you get $40,000 USD – equity free – that means they want no equity in your startup. If you agree, you simply need to go live in Chile for six months. The hope is that your entrepreneurial mojo will rub off on Chileans. And, it works. I’ve seen it work. In fact, I’ve had people whom I hired go out and start their own business.

So, if you you’re even remotely thinking of starting something apply to Startup Chile.

And, yes, I’ve been here for over a year because things are going well for my startup – Kedzoh – and I’ve got my team here plus great traction with customers and resellers.

OK, enough of the travelogue.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned in the past year.

  1. Revenues are king. Your idea doesn’t mean shit until you have paying customers.
  2. Set goals. You must set a few goals for each year if you are going to make progress and achieve anything – I would set three.  My goals for the first year – all of which I achieved – were: 1) build the damn thing, 2) get traction with customers and 3) get more funding.
  3. Stretch resources. When you have only a half of tank of gasoline you figure out ways to make it go as far as 5 tanks full of gasoline. Yep, $40,000 doesn’t sound like much in the US but it goes a long way outside the US. Figure out how to conserve cash early – go global on day one with your resources. Yes, it will be frustrating but you’ll go a lot further.
  4. Adapt to the world. Working with other people from around the globe requires you to adapt. YOU MUST CHANGE! Don’t expect that they will. Adapt.
  5. Remember to take a day off. It can be in the middle of the week. It doesn’t matter. Just rest. You need your energy. This can be very hard to do but your health and the health of your business requires this. This is not an option. (This and the next suggestion are probably the most ignored.)
  6. Don’t forget your family and friends. You need them more than you realize. It’s lonely being an entrepreneur – even with a team. You need a support system that has nothing to do with business.
  7. Go to every damn startup event were you’ll meet other entrepreneurs. I’m not talking about the Meetups where people go who want to be entrepreneurs, I mean get-togethers for and by entrepreneurs. I was (am) in an incubator and am constantly meeting other entrepreneurs. There’s so much you can learn from other entrepreneurs. Don’t pass up on this… It’s how I found out about my second funding source…
  8. L’audace, toujour l’audace. This has to be your creed.
  9. Delegate. If you have something that’s going to work, get ready to delegate, because sooner or later – when it does work and it’s growing – you’ll have to delegate. So, start doing it earlier. Your people will appreciate it.
  10. Hire good people. Sure you want people that are talented but you want that X factor. Only you can determine what that X quality is for your organization. For me, the X factor is people with heart, with passion, with a burning desire to do something different with their lives. I want people who believe they can make a difference – because at Kedzoh we are making a difference!

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