10 Tips for Entrepreneurs

Original article “10 Tips for Entrepreneurs” by Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg

With (blue) additions by me, Levik Dubov

1: Just Build It: You don’t need anyone’s approval and in fact, you probably won’t get it, so don’t even try.

Absolutely! The key to building a great company is having the ability to envision beforehand what it’s supposed to look like. Otherwise you’re just chasing the Dollar.

2: Iterate: Build, release and iterate. Make a list of the features you want to create over the next six months and get going! For small companies, once a week; for larger companies, maybe twice a month.

This should be part of your vision. What exactly do you want to do for your customers? It won’t all happen right away, but as Kevin puts it, make sure it happens overtime.

3: Hire Your Boss: Make sure you hire people that you would want to work for, who challenge you and you can learn from.

I love this thought! You see the typical entrepreneur is a natural dreamer, and it takes a ruthless team to ensure that everything gets done. You feed off of each other.

4: Demand Excellence: Ensure staff are committed to and understand your vision. Passionate, committed staff have a tendency to rub off on people. There is nothing like a new junior developer who runs circles around everyone to get people hyped up and raise the bar! Stay involved in the hiring process as long as you possibly can.

This is the difference between good brands and GREAT brands. If it isn’t good enough, tell them “This isn’t good enough”. Let your people know that you don’t want to be just Good, or Ok. You want to “Wow!”

5: Raising Money: The higher your evaluation is, the more equity you have to work with. Beg, borrow and steal. Be creative about finding ways to cut costs. For example, tell the bar you are having a “birthday party” instead of a corporate event (which they would charge you $5,000 for). Rent servers, don’t buy them. Don’t just take the cash, make sure your investors can add value. Stick with angel investment. Venture capital mean board meetings, which is a huge sap on time and resources.

They say that finding funding is the second hardest part of starting any business. (#1 is finding a customer). Anyone seeking funding knows this part of the game to be full of let-downs and unmet expectations. Keep at it! If you’re good, somebody‘s going to love you.

6: Hack the Press: Hit up the lower-end bloggers at your favorite tech blog. They have just as much opportunity to write about your product as any other blogger on the team. Attend the after-event parties. The same crowd that attends the events also goes to the parties, but the parties are free.

I personally have never gotten this far in the game, but its a definite must!

7: Invest in Advisors: Give away a small amount of stock to advisors (which they can vest after a few years) who you can call on in a pickle or for general advice as issues arise. Set the ground rules so you and the advisor know how much time you have access to.

Henry Ford was known for once replying something along the lines of: “Sir, I do not know the answer to that question, but I can definitely find somebody who does”. Find that somebody.

8: Connect With the Community: Hold a live town hall where you can collect feedback and get advice from your users.

The key to successful communication is the feedback you receive. This is your chance to interact with your end-users. Ask them anything and everything that can enhance your products and the user experience.

9: Leverage Your User Base to Spread the Word: Facebook notifications is a great example of how to do this.

Yes! If you are not on Facebook these days you are missing out on a huge opportunity in brand awareness and client interaction.

10: Analyze Your Traffic: Pay attention to how people are using your site, and then learn and evolve. Use Google Analytics to understand and track traffic sources and entrance and exit paths.

This is primarily useful to online-based companies, but can be just as useful to any organization. Collect data. Find out who uses what, when, where, and most importantly why and how.

Now get out there and change the world!


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