This morning a read a great post on A Smart Bear, a blog written by Smart Bear Software Founder Jason Cohen. The post was titled “10 things I’ve never heard a successful startup founder say” and I’d highly suggest you read the entire post. There were a few of these that really resonated with me that I thought I’d share my own feedback on as I thought Jason’s post was really spot-on. Also just a reminder, these are things that a successful Startup founder would never say:
“I wish we had spent less time talking to prospective customers before designing interfaces and writing code.“
You will definitely never heard a successful Startup founder say this one and it’s definitely my favorite! I have found that all the successful Startup founders I’ve talked to from the founder of Dropbox to the Eric Ries can’t stress enough the importance of talking to customer before building something. I think this is a critical mistake that many Entrepreneur’s make, they get really excited about their idea, consider themselves experts in the market, and go out and build something, only to find-out that nobody really wants to use it. The whole “if you build it they will come” methodology may have worked in Field of Dreams, but it doesn’t apply in real life.
“My lack of an MBA degree made building a company from scratch harder for me than for others.“
Having an MBA really doesn’t qualify someone to be the founder of a great company. Many people get their MBA’s in finance which is absolutely necessary if you want to work for a big finance company but not all that valuable when it comes to building your own business. At the Startup Lessons Learned Conference Steve Blank talked about how he thinks a traditional MBA can actually be negative when it comes to working in a Startup environment because it gets you thinking about business differently than most Startups do. Please understand, neither myself or Jason Cohen who wrote this are saying that MBA’s are useless, I have friends making over $400,000/year in finance with MBA’s that wouldn’t have those jobs without it. What we are saying is that you don’t need an MBA to build a successful Startup and thinking that you do could set you back two years and $150K.
“The decision of whether to form an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp made a significant difference in my startup’s success.”
What kind of legal/business entity your Startup is will impact your business down the road but really isn’t going to make or break your company. At the end of the day a great Startup is successful because of a great idea, and great people that can make that idea a reality. If you have these two elements you could have the completely wrong business structure and still be just as successful, you may just have to change the structure later down the road.
Please make sure to read the full post 10 things I’ve never heard a successful startup founder say from Jason Cohen’s blog and as always feel free to share your comments below. Comment and let your voice be heard!