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An entrepreneur’s journey is exciting, full of risk and life-transforming- it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurs are on a constant evolutionary journey, and they learn quick and often by good old trial and error. These tips on entrepreneurship stem from my personal experience founding and developing Vuclip, and other startups.
1. Do build an exceptional work culture
“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO, GE
Work culture is going to be your business’ most important asset. I believe people are inspired to give their best at work only when they believe in what they are doing. In addition, a company that values employee opinions, and that offers avenues for continued learning will motivate its staff to push themselves to their full potential. This is a win-win situation; employees grow personally and professionally while the company benefits from a diversity of perspectives and ideas.
2. Do choose investors carefully
“Picking a VC is more permanent than marriage. With the wrong spouse at least you can get divorced.” - Mark Suster, General Partner of Upfront Ventures
Investors form the backbone of your venture. The key to selecting the right investors for your business is to zero in on a great long term partner. I look for chemistry, industry knowledge and a solid professional network. Three well-known investors led Vuclip’s funding rounds. I based my decision on chemistry and gut instinct, and I don’t regret my any of my decisions.
3. It’s ok to fail
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” - Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
There can never be a completely fail-safe way of doing things. Spending time and energy trying to avoid any and every failure is going to be exhausting. Take calculated risks because they will eventually pay off- if not immediately and directly, then sometime in the future. Remember to think through and learn from your mistakes each time you make one.
4. Never allow yourself to be complacent
“Competition is always a fantastic thing, and the computer industry is intensely competitive. Whether it's Google or Apple or free software, we've got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes” – Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
I believe disruption is the name of the game. No matter the size of your market, you must constantly push the envelope; you must constantly evolve. Competitors -both established firms and startups- will continue to try to take over the market. A prime example: MySpace, once the most visited social networking site was eventually eclipsed by Facebook, and we all know what has happened since. You can’t always know your competitors’ strategies, but you can ensure that you are solving critical problems for consumers in a competitive way. You can’t afford to be complacent since the speed of business and innovation is fierce, especially in the technology industry. Stay one step ahead or you will be left behind.
Entrepreneurship is an adventure, but you need clear vision and the ability to focus on what will turn that vision into reality. If you lay the foundation to an exceptional business culture, choose the right investors and navigate your way around the pitfalls of failure to ensure that your business has a bright (and competitive) future.