4 Startup Questions From Ken Answered


I’ve been getting a quite a few emails asking startup questions.

Here’s one of them I was just about to answer, then my brilliant wife suggested, “Why don’t you answer it through a post so more people can benefit?”

I love my wife.

Reader Ken asks:

1) What are the principles behind a successful start-up entrepreneur? 

One can write whole books just talking about this topic. But if I were to offer a distilled, admittedly shoot-from-the-hip answers, they would be:

a) Find a good great partner. Don’t go for more than 3 people in your founding team. 2 is zen: maker/seller.

b) Business model > product.

Obviously, the product is crucial. But how will you generate a scalable business from your product? You need to look at your business model. How do you build your business model? Check out Steve Blank’s FREE startup lecture at www.udacity.com

c) You have to embrace failure. It’s a prerequisite to success. You have to develop thick skin.

d) Learning > Money now

e) Find good great employees

f) Go fulltime. This is one of the huge learning points I’ve absorbed over the last 2 years. If at least one of the FOUNDERS (not employees) isn’t fulltime, then it would take an honest-to-goodness miracle for your startup to succeed. The most important element your startup needs isn’t money. It’s time.

2) What are the best practices in internet marketing? 

I can’t claim to be any expert here. You can go ask my good buddy Ben Francia.  Ben? Any 3-4 key principles to remember?

3) How difficult (or easy) is it to get a business loan? 

Very easy if you have collateral. Extremely difficult if you are a startup with no collateral.

Funding from angels/VC’s/incubators? There are a number of these now. Getting a bit easier if you have the right product and the right team. The price to pay? Equity.

If I were you, try your best to bootstrap everything first. Seek money from family/friends. Find a way to do the business by yourself and generate traction/revenue.

Traction makes EVERYTHING easier and give you a lot of flexibility.

4) If you were to start all over again, what could you have done differently?

The truthful answer: none. Its corny, but I think everything happened to me at exactly the right time.

One thing that I think maybe could’ve helped? Starting earlier. Starting earlier would have meant I would have learned FASTER, plus I wouldn’t have had risked as much as I did.

Hope this helps Ken!

Peter Cauton

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker, startup advocate, HR guy. Husband, father of 6, teacher, unabashed follower of Christ.

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