Best Advice From Entrepreneurs, to Entrepreneurs

startup entrepreneurs sitting around a table advice for entrepreneurs p2binvestor

Entrepreneurship is a tough road. Whether you’re about to launch your first company or are busy scaling your tenth startup, you’re bound to find yourself up against obstacles that will test you both physically and mentally. We spoke with a few founders and startup enthusiasts who shared their thoughts on what it takes to build a successful business and stay sane in the process. Here are their top four pieces of advice for entrepreneurs:

1. Collaborate

“Find community. Find people you can talk to about what’s going on who can be insightful about solutions, but also empathetic to what you’re going through. The worst feeling is the feeling of being alone.”
Kate Catlin, Founder, Women Rising

“Entrepreneurship is a team sport. No one can be good at everything, particularly first-time entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed by everything it takes to execute their vision. Everyone needs help and it’s important to know when and whom to go to for support.”
Emily Winslow, VP of Operations, PeakChange

“Sales is like swimming in the ocean, never do it alone! Always try to have at least two people involved in a sales role. It creates healthy competition and speeds learning.”
Bryan Hackett, Founder, QuickReach

2. Pursue Your Passion

“If you’re going to create a successful company—a very hard thing to do—make it be about something that really matters to you; better still, make your business be about something that matters to you, matters to the market that has to pay for what you’re offering, and matters to the world.”
Tom Higley, Founder, 10.10.10

“If you aren’t 100% into what you’re building it won’t work. Nobody is going to drink your Koolaid if your lips aren’t already stained from chugging it yourself.”
Graham McBain, Director of Marketing, SecureSet

“I believe for every viable start-up there about 5 people in the world who are most qualified to start that business. If you are not an absolute expert in your industry, you need to become one. This will allow you to prove yourself to potential customers, employees and investors.”
Scott Miller, General Manager, Galvanize

3. Design Flexibility for Yourself and Your Team

“If you’re the startup CEO, it’s not just your job to make decisions, it is also your job to create the alternatives from which you will choose. This applies to almost everything you do:

If you are hiring a key executive team member, it is your job to create the conditions that give you choices.

If you are seeking investment, it is your job to create the conditions that lead to choices about who you will accept capital from.

If you are expecting an exit, it is your job to make sure you have more than one party interested in making the acquisition or purchasing a substantial stake in your company.”
Tom Higley, Founder, 10.10.10

When raising early stage capital, know your options. Equity and debt are part of a traditional early stage investing model and serve different purposes for your business. If you are not planning on exiting your company, you could consider structured exits or revenue-based financing.”
Emily Winslow, VP of Operations, PeakChange

4. Deepen Your Self Awareness

“Always believe in yourself, even when you’re the only one who does. You are the only one inside your head, the only one with the vision, experience and knowledge to fulfill your dream. And, concurrently, that little voice in your head telling you that thing you don’t want to hear and try to ignore, listen to that one too. If you don’t, it will always come back to haunt you.”
Danielle Leighton, Founder/CEO, Earth Index

“Negativity is insecurity. Understand someone’s insecurity instead of reacting to their negativity. Identify your own insecurities that are driving negativity.”
Aiko Cheslin, Founder, MentorMatter

“Do whatever you need to do to understand yourself, who you are, your strengths and weaknesses[Then, find a cofounder] who has enough common ground with you to facilitate great communication and enough of a different set of skills, interests, perspectives and personality traits that they love and excel at doing what you loathe and might do only poorly.”
Tom Higley, Founder, 10.10.10

Do you have another piece of advice that influenced your career path and guided you as an entrepreneur? Add it to this list in the comment section below!

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