My 15 Golden Rules for Startup Entrepreneurs

Posted by tobinagy

Are you wondering why most startup businesses seem to fail? Perhaps that they are built on an unstable platform or around an unsustainable basis.

Based on 27 years of my own experiences as an entrepreneur, here are my 15 Golden Rules for startups to avoid some of the greatest pitfalls when starting a business.

Rule #1: Start your business with a REAL purpose in mind: Do something you love and are good at, that people need and you can make money from, then passion will be your driver. The Japanese call it “Ikigai”

Rule #2: Your business MUST create wealth for you and your family. Otherwise, it can ultimately lead to heartache, headache, and opportunity cost.

Rule #3: Don’t JUST focus on making money: Aim to become the best in the world at what you do, then the money will come.

Rule #4: Trust and credibility are cornerstones for a successful business: No trust, no credibility, no business! So, build yourself into an expert!

Rule #5: Listen to your market (carefully): Having the right customer insights can save you a lot of time, effort, and money!

Rule #6: Learn to solve a complex problem: The more complex it is, the more money you can make!

Rule #7: Timing is the MOST important factor in business success, your team is second, then factors such as business model, idea, funding arrangement, etc.

Rule #8: Forget about writing a business plan: Instead spend that time and effort finding a customer, learning to understand their needs, and creating a solution for them. (The plan comes when you have worked out what you are doing).

Rule #9: No money to start? Then you have to “hustle”. Become a “deal maker”, broker, or help someone solve his or her problem.

Rule #10: Learn the rules of the “Industry Game”: Who are the major players and your competitors in your industry, who are the ones to watch out for, and who are the “400-pound Gorillas?” Then go develop a profitable niche. Who knows? They may need you one day!

Rule #11: Learn to form alliances and partnerships: having trust and credibility is a starting point, but having something to offer them, (such as a way to make or save money), will be the decisive factor.

Rule #12: “Traditional” marketing does not work for Startups as: “nobody cares about your business”. Instead, find someone that will, by providing them a solution to their problem.

Rule #13: Learn to delight your customers: Give them a reason to talk about your business (in a good way of course): by under-promising and delivering above their expectations.

Rule #14: Get to market as soon as possible: Don’t wait for your product or service to be “perfect”. Customers aren’t looking for perfection, but rather function; 80% is near enough. Launch your product, get their feedback, and improve along the way.

Rule #15: Always begin with the “exit” in mind: Understanding how you will “exit” the business will ultimately determine your path and long-term strategies.

I hope that has given you some insight into the challenges of starting a business as an entrepreneur.

The main takeaway is: start with a purpose and get to market as quickly as possible; 80% is near enough (as long as it works and is not crappy), the customer’s feedback will steer you in the right direction. So, listen, learn, and repeat until you are able to reach excellence!

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