As former French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau said, “Everything I know I learned after I was thirty”
After being chosen as one of the top 10 startups for Ideaspace 2016 Cohort 4 last Friday, I wanted to give a first-person account of my experience, but instead, I ended up writing about another topic.
I go inspired to write about business lessons to know before the age of 30 and about maturity. This is not about being old, but more about ‘business’ maturity (although, oftentimes the two come together).
I chose to write about this because I have seen a lot of young people deciding to start a business before they reach 30 — which is just AWESOME!
I am all for it, but please do read-up, learn, interview people, ask around, validate the idea, etcetera, before jumping the gun.
From my observation of people who have started a business — from both those who have succeeded and failed in keeping it afloat financially — I have noticed a lot of similarities.
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These lessons (I suppose I could call them that), I feel, would help a lot of young people make more sound and wise decisions.
Again, these are all from my personal observations.
Do not start a company while ‘finding yourself’
If you are in the middle of a quarter life crisis and still figuring out what you want from adulthood, being involved in a startup or ,let alone, leading one, is not the wisest decision.
The successful startups are led by people with a pretty good idea of what they want in life (and believe me, being just plain ‘rich’ or being the next Steve Jobs just does not count). They are often headstrong, but not stubborn. These are two different attributes and it is essential to be aware of the difference.
Starting a business means that people will look to you, especially if you are the CEO, for direction and the business will probably fail at being a leader has not gotten the got your company figured out, let alone their own life.
Money does not make the world go round
But it does pays for the bills.
You probably saw a lot of pictures of your friends who were part of Ideaspace 4 with those big ‘victory’ cheques. Well, the feeling of making it to top 10 was similar to probably winning the lotto, but the reasons for being elated were very different.
All of us (I hope!) understood that this money was gasoline for our business. It was a tool to fast track things internally that would would help us launch the product within a four to five month duration.
Although, even if founders understand the purpose of grants and funding, they sometimes fall into the trap of using the funds themselves for a lot of unnecessary expenses.
Unnecessary purchases or spending are expenses that the company may not actually need — but end up paying for anyways —and this oftentimes stems from poor planning.
Maturity is seen in founders who know what they are worth, andare smart enough to have thought of a financial plan for the business even before funds start coming in.
Hopefully the attractiveness of money/funding will not lure them into the habit of overspending.
In the beginning, do not work remotely
I am an advocate of working remotely or working from home, but for businesses that are just starting, I would have to say that it is crucial to meet face-to-face regularly.
Believe me, I have seen the difference this makes in a lot of scenarios.
For CEOs, or for the leaders of these startups especially, it is very important to be with the team often.
A wise friend told me once that the leaders or the founders of the “idea” would have an incomparable amount of passion that would be infectious and that would be enough for the entire team to function with gusto. I believe this to be true, as I have personally experienced this.
The result is I see that people draw inspiration from me. And in the businesses/startups that I am part of and I draw inspiration and energy from the founder of the idea.
Maturity is seen in founders who know when they need to be there for their team, and when to let go for the business and the team to grow speedily.
The unique selling proposition is not only the uniqueness of the idea
An idea can be the same as someone else’s but executed better.
But, a lot of ideas can be unique and totally different from anything else that you might have seen and encountered, but the pain point is not evident or the timing is off.
So, take a deep breath and think about what sets you apart — and why will people avail of your service and not that of the competition.
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Do not be scared to share the idea with the right people (research and look for people with experience and find peers who would be willing to give genuine advice). And when these experienced people provide advice, have an open mind about it, but also, think things through to apply the advice that will make the most sense for your business.
Maturity is seen in founders who embrace the concept of abundance (of ideas, advice, collaborations, information) and discern for themselves which of these information will make sense for their business.
You will fail many times along the way
And this means getting disheartened not only a few times. To be frank, it means getting dispirited an incredible amount of times.
I can’t count the number of times I have cried or the number of times I have not slept, but there were a lot. Understand that this is normal.
This is why it important to have someone by your side who truly understands what you are going through and can provide that essential support.
Maturity is seen in founders who know that hard times make them tougher, and the challenges are not indications that they need to quit, but indications that you need to step a little bit further from the business to see where improvement lies.
Focus on things that make sense now
I’m not sure if telling Millennials to ‘go for what they are passionate about’ and ‘strive to make a difference’ is still relevant, since it seems everyone is talking about this already. Plus, it seems that these come natural to this new generation.
But, what I want to harp on is to focus on what makes sense now.
Will it make more sense to gather knowledge as an employee then possibly start your own business later on? Or does it make more sense to start early and continuously learn along the way?
What about trying to building one startup with a friend and have a part-time stable job on the side? Will it make more sense to study more first to build confidence then start a business?
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Maturity is seen in founders who know that there are many decisions that you must make on the road to building your own business.
You make them after thoroughly assessing the situation, and ultimately, accept whatever the consequence of that decision is.
If you have thoughts about this that you want to share, or questions that you want to ask, please leave a comment below. Today is yet another busy day, but I hope that my moments of reflection and journaling helped!
This is an unedited version of this article, titled Business Lessons You should Know before you Reach 30 first appeared on the blog Mommy Ginger.
Photo courtesy of Ginger Arboleda
The post Serious business advice you should heed before you hit 30 appeared first on e27.
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