My friend Anand Pallegar asked me to share my top 5 tips for entrepreneurs starting out. Here are some things I've learned along the way from personal experience:
You have to really love the product or service you are selling. Starting a business is a 24/7 job and can put a lot of stress on your relationships. Also be prepared to get turned down – rejection is part of it. Passion for what you do will help you overcome the personal obstacles.
2. Good People
Whether you need 1 or 300 employees, you've got to be able to attract talent. What will make someone take the risk in joining a start-up? Some people are attracted to the business idea itself, for some it's leadership and for other it's compensation. I would start with people who share your values and then evaluate their skills.>
3. Cash is King
Having a great idea for a new business isn't enough. You need a well capitalized plan with plenty of cash. Take the time to think through the business model and what the costs truly are. Go into it with low expectations of revenue while you ramp up.
Find an underserved market, and distinguish yourself from the competition. Even if it's a large market, you can still identify a need or a gap that needs to be filled. You have to want to make the product or service better than what is already out there in order to truly differentiate your business.
5. Relentless Pursuit and Retention of the Customer
In a start-up you have very few customers, so it all begins with marketing the business and turning that awareness into leads, and then the ability to turn leads into sales – it's one big process. However, you must make sure every customer experience is outstanding, from the quality of the product or services to the way you handle customer service.