My top list of advice founders never hear:
- Slow it down if you don’t have a great co-founder. We all get excited to “get going” with a start-up. But if your co-founder isn’t great, if they don’t have the right skills to complement yours, and/or if they aren’t committed enough … it won’t work out. More here: A Simple Commitment Test For You And Your Co-Founders | SaaStr
- The mentors and investors that give you the best advice often don’t sugarcoat it. You have to develop a thicker skin as a founder. Investors and “advisors” that want something from you will often tell you what you want to hear, or sugarcoat their advice. But successful advisors, mentors, and investors that just want you to succeed often don’t sugarcoat their advice. It can hurt a bit, but listen more to that advice.
- How badly do you want it? Committing for 10 years with a great co-founder is key. It’s not enough to see it. To want to “do a start-up”. To have a great idea. You have to want it so badly you will will it into existence. And then stay the course to grow it into something real. More here
- Many successful start-ups had $0 in revenue the first 2 years. How will you handle that? Tiago Paiva from Talkdesk, just valued at $3.2 billion, and I discuss in the video below how the first 2 years he literally had to do any odd job he could get. Because they literally had $0 in revenue for the first 2 years. Watch it below. And only then, after two years of $0 in revenue … product-market fit. And then came hypergrowth. Mailchimp started off inside of an agency for years, too. What if your start-up has to start with $0 in revenue for the first 24 months? Or token revenue? Can you commit to that? More here: If You’re Going to Do a SaaS Start-Up … You Have to Give it 24 Months | SaaStr
- Bad investors really can hurt you. How much value do VCs add? That’s an open question for the ages. But what is clear is a bad VC can seriously hurt your start-up. A bad VC will tell others not to invest. A bad VC will undermine your confidence. A bad VC will create a crisis of confidence in your syndicate. A bad VC will undermine the confidence of your VPs, when they don’t show up to the board meetings and/or undermine folks in public. I know you want that fancy brand, that investor that seems to be so cool, to have it all. But can you trust her/him? Start there.
Published on August 9, 2020