So where were we? Ah, yes! We were working through seven precious pearls of wisdom from Avid Larizadeh Duggan, a General Partner of Google Venture, no less. She’s put together a list of key advice for young talent looking to launch a start-up.
We’re up to number four: are you ready to go again?
4. Level-headed passion
If you’ve decided to launch yourself into a life-changing, all-consuming experience like opening a start-up, you must certainly have real belief in your idea and be ready to defend it against everything and everyone. Having passion for what you do is your first ally in achieving success. Enthusiasm and energy are just as important in tackling the daily challenges that characterise the life of a new entrepreneur. But be careful not to let your passion and desire to make it obscure your thinking and push you off course. Set concrete, short-term objectives which you can evaluate your progress against. Small milestones are important indicators to keep an eye on with objectivity and control.
Showing that you have level-headedness and a clear vision of the road ahead is not just the best way of leading your company to success, but also an excellent method of winning the trust of your team and making them feel at ease.
5. Take care of your finances
It might seem obvious, but launching a start-up and maintaining it when you’re just starting out can be a very complex financial challenge. Be sure that you have full control over the finances of your company, and if you’re not too good with numbers, find somebody who can help you not just in getting an idea of the financial picture, but also in putting money aside which you can then use when the going gets tough. Careful, prudent management of your resources will enable you to reduce the risk of defaulting and having to shut up shop at the first sign of difficulty – without being able to give your business the second chance it deserves.
The one thing all modern start-ups is that they are constantly evolving. The world of a start-up moves fast – information comes at you like a bombardment, the competition is global, the market changes with the click of a mouse. Don’t let the complexity of the situation overawe you and instead equip yourself with the only skill that will keep you on your feet: flexibility. Learn to take decisions a lot more quickly and react instantly to change. Be bold, be agile and surround yourself with flexible people who think – and act – quickly.
There’s no hurry – being an entrepreneur is for life. Don’t get worked out about making it, and don’t be naïve enough to skip important steps. Don’t be presumptuous or arrogant, hoping that such traits will somehow get you ahead. On the contrary: nurture your passion calmly and without forcing it. Respect timescales, prepare yourself for highs and lows and get ready for moments of joy and others of discomfort. You should also show foresight in the way you manage other people: life doesn’t end at the door to your start-up and there is no way of predicting the future. Make sure you treat your staff ethically and set an example as a balanced, wise leader.