Tuesday, November 12, 2013

25 Startup Lessons I Wish I Would've Known (Part 5 of 5)

Since starting as what was known as "GetLusty for Couples" last August (now just GetLusty.com including GetLusty Couples and GetLusty Singles), let's just say I have been busy. Like, spend your weekends working busy. Like not going to Christmas busy (I'll never be forgiven--goodness that was a mistake). I made mistakes that any entrepreneur would have made considering and always taking into account the over 40+ conversations I had with entrepreneurs here around 1 year ago just before starting GetLusty.

With all that distilled into several pieces, I'm going to divulge what I have learned. The stupid (and not so stupid) mistakes that I just feel like I shouldnt've made (and neither should you). I’ve been writing my startup lessons for weeks (months?) now and I thought I’d share them with you.

Are you an entrepreneur? Want to quit your day job (or maybe not) and start a business? Take it from someone who’s spent some serious time doing it. This isn't my first business and likely won't be my last. How about learning lessons from our mistakes and collectively getting better? Let's continue.

#21 Investors may call. 

In fact, there are some middle men that seem to think they'll find you an investor (whether that's series A, B, C or a buyer). Number 1, that doesn't encourage transparency. Why aren't you finding those folks? Number 2, middle men control the finances.

I'm not alone in rejecting the middle man, Mark Suster agrees, too. It's hard enough to organizing your own financing. Let alone someone else mucking things up with their contacts. Plus, some of these VC finders want a fee. Really? If you're looking for funding, think strategically about where you're going to find it and how. Don't blindly accept help from someone who claims they'll give you $10,000+ of consulting time for free (unless you're in an incubator-style program).

#22 Don't forget content. 

Make a content strategy for your customer-facing bits. Content is now a core component to many startups and companies across the internet. Whether it's for SEO or to find customers (both B2B and B2C), having a solid foundation of content can be essential. What's the point, though? What do you want to be found for, anyway? Having clear goals and expectations with your social media and blogging strategy (among your other content - think: media, SEO, etc) will bring you far.

#23 Don't be afraid to delegate. 

You can't do everything. Delegating tasks to your co-founders or employees can help you do more. However, do consider if the task would be best to delegate -- because not all tasks should be delegated. There are even quizzes to know when you should delegate. Don't be stupid to think that you can do everything. Or do it in a silo. Communicating with your fellow startup colleagues is absolutely essential. Delegating and just, "getting shit done" is just as important as strategy.

#24 If you do delegate, follow up

Make sure that task gets done. Never be in the shadows of your fellow startup colleagues. Daily or weekly meetings are a great way to keep in touch on what's the plan. Although quarterly or even monthly project schedules might not work (as noted in Part 2 of my startup lessons), having an agile project methodology could work. As Steve Blank has noted, startups are really just a bunch of assumptions and hypotheses, so how about testing the best project management model that will suit your startup?

#25 Always know why.  

If you’re delegating someone else to do that task, ensure they know goals and a rough idea of why you need that task completed. Things can get confused along the way. If you're delegating tasks to others, provide reasons why that task is needed especially. Don't let others--or yourself--not be proactive as to whether you need to do that activity, or what it's purpose is. Think for a few seconds and potentially cross reference your project schedule. Is this task getting in the way of a bigger task? Don't stop others from proactively considering the purpose of different activities. Could you be more efficient? Then you should do it.

Well! That concludes my startup lessons. Join me here at TechInspireMe to continue the conversation on startups, marketing, digital and the future of inspiring technology.


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