What should all first-time entrepreneurs know before starting their first business?

Updated on : December 4, 2021 by Brennen Keith



What should all first-time entrepreneurs know before starting their first business?

It was February 2010.

Surprisingly, I remember it quite well, to be honest.

I was fired from my job in December 2009.

It was expected, since I was in the construction industry, and the economy was in a difficult financial situation, like my first year in college.

Forget about it, I was in a tough financial situation all through college.

The 6 years.

Anyone that ...

I was browsing Amazon looking for a book on motivation as I was depressed.

My degree was in Construction Management, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.

I clicked on a book title and instantly scrolled down to reviews, a

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It was February 2010.

Surprisingly, I remember it quite well, to be honest.

I was fired from my job in December 2009.

It was expected, since I was in the construction industry, and the economy was in a difficult financial situation, like my first year in college.

Forget about it, I was in a tough financial situation all through college.

The 6 years.

Anyone that ...

I was browsing Amazon looking for a book on motivation as I was depressed.

My degree was in Construction Management, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.

I clicked on a book title and instantly scrolled through the reviews, as I usually do.

According to the reviews, it was a book about entrepreneurship, not what I was interested in doing.

So I scrolled up the page and came across a video from the author.

I clicked play.

At the time, I had no idea how that click would transform my life.

But he did.

Here is the video;

Gary Vaynerchuk was my "gateway drug" to the corporate world.

I immediately bought the book.

Read them.

I loved!

Later that month, I bought my first domain, Sin City Trifecta.

A blog about women, living in Las Vegas, sports, etc.

He lived for more than 3 years.

In October 2010, I bought another domain, AMD Web Services, where I offered almost all digital marketing services under the sun.

For almost any business owner who needs it.

And in that moment, I really believed that EVERYONE needed what I had.

Boy, was it a mistake.

I learned the importance of having a target market.

And become a specialist and offer ONE solution, not a lot of services.

This is what I wish I knew then, almost eight years later;

  1. Have a Target Market - When starting out, it's very important to be really clear about your perfect customer / client / patient.

    ONLY problem for ONE specific person. It makes your marketing much more effective and profitable.
  2. Success is an inside game. I am convinced that business (and life) is 10% strategy / tactic and 90% mindset.
  3. Work on yourself every day - make time for yourself every day. I prefer first thing in the morning. Do what works for you.
  4. You do it - Don't worry about what others think / say / do. Your parents, your partner / spouse, your family, friends, neighbors or anyone else.

    This is incredibly difficult (for me) for many.

    You. Do. You.

    This is something I'm still working on ... eight years later.
  5. You will fail. It's okay, as long as you learn from it.
  6. You're not alone. Join relevant Facebook groups, forums, and online communities.
  7. Don't chase money, I did this for years. I finally found consistent success (money) and ended up being miserable.

    The high money finally vanished.
  8. Do not believe what you see on the Internet: it is very common to compare ourselves with others. 98.3% of the time is such an unfair comparison, like comparing apples to snowflakes.

    Don't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter 37.

    It reminds me of the Teddy Roosevelt quote;

    Comparison is the thief of joy
  9. Imposter syndrome is real - you'll feel like a fraud. I do it almost every day. That's normal. Do your best to block out those unpleasant, soul-crushing thoughts.
  10. The doubt is my kryptonia; I find that many, many people struggle with this. I've also found that ultra-successful people handle it better.
  11. Focus - I find the vast majority of entrepreneurs struggle with this. They chase after the "shiny and shiny objects"

    Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, both revealed the secret of success in one word. It was FOCUS.

    If two of the richest men in the world say the focus is "the secret," listen to them.
  12. It takes work: Many "entrepreneurs" look for the "easy" way or the shortcut.

    I know, since I haunted him for years.

    WORK is needed.

    It takes lonely nights / days / weeks / months / years (?)

    There's a reason less than 10% of the population are entrepreneurs.
  13. Consistency - This is the key to just about anything. Be consistent. Go every damn day, even if you don't feel like it.
  14. Ask for help - Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT a sign of weakness. This is a sign of strength.

    Especially us men. We are so proud / selfish that we do not like to ask for help out of fear that we will appear weak.

    It's bullshit!
  15. Learn Sales - This is something I've struggled with for years and still do. This is essential for entrepreneurship.
  16. Learn Copywriting: Copywriting is writing persuasively. Ideally, you should be working on this every day, in some way.

    Get good at this, and you can literally write your own ticket.

    Intentional pun
  17. GET THE WORK - As I said earlier, there are no shortcuts. It requires hard work, discipline, perseverance, perseverance, patience, courage, thick skin, and about 179 other traits.

I stopped at 13 and was finishing my answer. Another idea popped into my head.

Then another.

And other.

And other…

I could go on, but I'll stop at 17 (for now).

The 17 listed above are not just things I wish I knew in 2010, but also reminders for me now (in 2018).

Big question!

Hundreds of necessary things, actually. I'm going to recite some from the top of my head:

  • It is very difficult to start a business without a co-founder, money, or a product or service that you can sell for a profit.
  • Unless it's a hobby, it's a full-time job for everyone concerned. Part-time founders don't work
  • The stress of a new company will ruin relationships with a co-worker friend, spouse, or sibling, but it will create new friendships.
  • The life of a startup is not for most people. Most people do not have the disposition, life goals, or situation to work in a high-risk, low-paying profession. No matter how cool a sincere is
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Hundreds of necessary things, actually. I'm going to recite some from the top of my head:

  • It is very difficult to start a business without a co-founder, money, or a product or service that you can sell for a profit.
  • Unless it's a hobby, it's a full-time job for everyone concerned. Part-time founders don't work
  • The stress of a new company will ruin relationships with a co-worker friend, spouse, or sibling, but it will create new friendships.
  • The life of a startup is not for most people. Most people do not have the disposition, life goals, or situation to work in a high-risk, low-paying profession. No matter how good a candidate is, and how much money or property they offer, you will not be successful in recruiting, integrating, or keeping them if you don't have a start-up mindset.
  • CEOs get their job through competition and leadership, not by having the most money, stock, credentials, votes, or experience.
  • Once you have an idea of ​​the new companies, it is difficult for most people to go back to the larger companies.
  • Almost all startups that are ever successful have one or more near-death experiences, such as running out of money, being sued early, facing massive competition, a public relations disaster, or having a key person leave.
  • Get your legal setup and property in order, done by a competent attorney and in writing
  • You must study your market, your customers and your competition, and not try to create new fields in a vacuum. Almost without exception, anything worth doing has someone trying to do it. If you think you have no competition, either you are wrong or you are doing something that nobody wants to buy.
  • As a counterpoint to the above, it is best not to try to beat the biggest and best companies at their own game. You must invent your own game that they cannot play, serving the same customer needs ten times better, faster or cheaper, taking a different approach.
  • Almost everything can be copied. You have to be the best, not the first or the smartest.
  • Everyone needs adjudication or some other exit plan done in advance before it becomes a concern, not the moment it happens.
  • Never run a business without an accounting system
  • You cannot have "volunteers", unpaid interns, or people working on the site full time who are not treated as employees, subject to all labor laws.
  • Almost all cities require a local business license
  • It's easy to fall into legal and business traps when raising money. Get professional advice.
  • Some products and services are regulated at the state and national level; others are completely illegal. Think before trying to sell something.
  • In the beginning, there is no place in a company for someone unless they are indispensable and at the top of their game.
  • Later on, you need to make sure that anyone, including yourself, can leave and you wouldn't bring the company down. Building companies and increasing valuation is as much about eliminating sources of existential risk as it is about increasing market penetration or profits.
  • No amount of preparation or knowledge will teach you how to run a new business. The only way to learn is by doing.

I highly recommend David S. Rose's book, The Startup Checklist, for a step-by-step list of a few hundred other absolutely necessary things geared towards tech startups, including all the practical things like opening a bank account.

Small businesses develop the country's economy and provide people with workplaces. However, let's face it: we all want to have an independent source of income to meet our needs. At the same time, before one can fully enjoy all the joys of a lucrative business project, there is still a long way to go to achieve it. So what should a first-time entrepreneur know before starting their business? First of all, stop buying useless courses. Hearing about other people's success is not the same as making your own story successful. You should come up with a simple plan like this and

Keep reading

Small businesses develop the country's economy and provide people with workplaces. However, let's face it: we all want to have an independent source of income to meet our needs. At the same time, before one can fully enjoy all the joys of a lucrative business project, there is still a long way to go to achieve it. So what should a first-time entrepreneur know before starting their business? First of all, stop buying useless courses. Hearing about other people's success is not the same as making your own story successful. You should come up with a simple plan like this and get to work:

  • have a requested idea;
  • analyze potential prospects and development directions;
  • study the most successful books on entrepreneurship (for inspiration and some tips you could use in the future);
  • fully perceive the legal responsibility of the project in charge;
  • get acquainted with financial problems;
  • understand how crucial advertising is.

If you've finally decided to embark on building a successful business, prepare to go through hard work. To reduce the degree of concern that you will encounter, let me present you with a short informative guide on getting started on your business.

Ideas and activities

Most of the time, beginning entrepreneurs do not have a special economic or managerial education and naturally have no idea where to start. These entrepreneurs should focus on the idea of ​​what exactly the newly created organization will specialize in. They can be goods, services, production.

Write all your thoughts on a piece of paper. If there are several attractive areas of activity that are currently in demand, it is worth pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each idea. Eventually, you will have a couple left to make a final decision.

Prospects and development paths

Apart from the idea, each new entrepreneur must have a goal that can be expressed in the desired turnover. Depending on the expected result, it is necessary to analyze the existing conditions for its implementation.

The mechanism for the sale of products or services is impossible without the availability of material resources, employees, as well as various assistance tools. Also, think about what investments will be necessary to secure each of the components of the process.

Books for Beginning Entrepreneurs

Novice entrepreneurs must find the right motivation to start the process. Books on entrepreneurship written by qualified professionals who have achieved success on their own are an ideal aid.

Here are the top five books for a must-see acquaintance:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People - D. Carnegie
  • Rich dad, poor dad - R. Kiyosaki
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth - T. Harv Eker
  • Think and Grow Rich - N. Hill
  • Trump: How To Get Rich - D. Trump

This list of books for new entrepreneurs is presented in simple language, plus positive energy. It is highly recommended to familiarize yourself with these writings for inspiration and additional information.

Legal matters

Novice entrepreneurs can register their businesses as sole proprietorships or as an LLC. For accounting, you need to study the possible tax options and choose the best one. It will allow you to avoid penalties at the beginning of the activity.

Don't get into excessive perfectionism. Your operating process will slowly slide you into the tax payment plan. For the resolution of legal problems, it is better to consult a specialist so that unexpected circumstances do not interfere with the increase in sales. For the convenience of accounting, it is recommended to open a personal bank account and choose the best rate plan.

Brand promotion

When all the legal and accounting issues are resolved, it's time to make your business work for you. Modern information technologies provide numerous tools. Unfortunately, most beginners don't always know where to start.

Today, novice entrepreneurs can choose how to promote goods or services to online users. A gigantic advantage compared to offline businesses is the scale of the audience and the opportunities to reach it. Of course, it is possible to place advertisements in newspapers, print brochures and flyers; At this stage, all means are viable and the more original the presentation of the company, the faster the first clients will appear. Creative promotion is a direct avenue to successful lead acquisition.

In the case of the online business (I opted to launch an internet casino business), things were quite similar. The only important difference is that I hardly participated in the organizing process. I hired a professional guide company called Rosloto to make sure my business runs smoothly. The turnkey solution was a perfect offer, and the entire gaming platform started generating the first net profit in 5 months. I hope you also find your perfect business and develop it as well as I do!

Here are some of the most common tips I give to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs:

Recognize that you are signing up for multiple jobs. As an entrepreneur, you are trying to do at least two things from the beginning: produce and / or sell a product or service and run a business. The "running a business" part is a completely separate skill set from producing and / or selling a product. You must acknowledge that you are signing up for multiple jobs, and one of them is something you've probably never done before. Make sure you take them both seriously (just be good

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Here are some of the most common tips I give to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs:

Recognize that you are signing up for multiple jobs. As an entrepreneur, you are trying to do at least two things from the beginning: produce and / or sell a product or service and run a business. The "running a business" part is a completely separate skill set from producing and / or selling a product. You must acknowledge that you are signing up for multiple jobs, and one of them is something you've probably never done before. Make sure you take both of them seriously (just being good at sales isn't enough).

If you are married or in a committed relationship, make sure your partner agrees. I cannot stress this enough. I don't mean that your partner is involved in the business, I mean that he or she supports your endeavor. There are two reasons for this:

  1. When you sign up or set out to be an entrepreneur, you are making decisions and sacrifices that have a significant impact on your life and the life of your family. It is unfair to make these decisions, and particularly the sacrifices, without your support. They are going to go on this wild journey with you, whether they are directly involved in the business or not.
  2. Entrepreneurship can be exhausting. You will find a lot of evidence. You are going to be beaten, trampled, worn down, and your ego destroyed by the avalanche of rejection that comes from trying to convince people (customers, investors, employees, etc.) that your vision of the future is real and possible. The last thing you need is to go home to a partner who doubts, suspects, and criticizes your efforts. You need someone to support you 100% and encourage you when you are ready to quit.

I know this is a limiting factor for some people, and some will disagree with me, but I am convinced that this can make or break an entrepreneur.

Focus, focus, focus. You will have many ideas and opportunities to try many things, but the key to success is concentration focused on doing one thing really, really well. Amazon is a great company now that it does a lot of things, but they started by selling books online, that's it. Facebook was a directory for college students: they had no videos, groups, live messages, etc.

Ford made the Model T. General Electric grew out of Edison's light bulb company. Don't try to emulate what these great companies are today, emulate the way they started, with focus.

Failure is part of success. As much as has been written on this subject, I will not continue talking, but there is no success story that does not involve failure. Don't accept it, embrace it. It is part of the process. The only real failure is failure with no learning involved.

Invest in yourself. John Maxwell's "The Law of the Cap" says your company will not grow beyond your own growth as a leader. Make sure you develop yourself personally and professionally in a way that benefits your company. Read, study, learn, eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest (including a long rest every now and then), because being the best version of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your company.

Working a lot of hours with 40% effectiveness (due to lack of rest), or without intentional learning and growth, is a myopic approach. Not only is it bad for you, but it is actually bad for your company, your employees, and your customers.

My nickel bag of sense:

1) Knowledge / education is the key
If you like to read, read up on it. If you are a conversationalist, attend those networking events, talk to entrepreneurs, learn about mistakes. It is important that you are attentive, not necessarily that you master the topics. Knowledge and research are an entrepreneur's best friends. Have multiple mentors for your personal life, your business, your finances. Knowledge is only acquired by revelation or experience.

2) Market
Make sure there are people who buy your product or service. No matter how good or bad what you are delivering, if there is no

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My nickel bag of sense:

1) Knowledge / education is the key
If you like to read, read up on it. If you are a conversationalist, attend those networking events, talk to entrepreneurs, learn about mistakes. It is important that you are attentive, not necessarily that you master the topics. Knowledge and research are an entrepreneur's best friends. Have multiple mentors for your personal life, your business, your finances. Knowledge is only acquired by revelation or experience.

2) Market
Make sure there are people who buy your product or service. No matter how good or bad what you are delivering, if there is no market, forget it. Take surveys, ask people, who is your competition. And make sure your market or your customers can survive an economic slowdown. Take this into account in your forecasts.

3) It is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Go for the gold.
If you are a 9-5, look for a part-time job that is compatible with your new company. During the first 7 years, your business is statistically at risk of dying from cash flow problems, even if it is profitable. You don't have to worry about burnout, running out of money, or other worries just because you launched that company.
Many start their business with 2 years of savings, thinking that it will be enough. It could be, but have a plan B.

4) Team spirit
Partners or employees, they need to be able to surround themselves with people who complement their weaknesses, but who adapt to their style. Consider your own personality. You've heard that pros built the Titanic and amateurs built the Ark. This means that the right players on a team are better than the best players. Make sure those you team up with complement your knowledge, leadership style, and technical skills, so you can get things done in the most fluid way.

5) Money Cash
flow will be your biggest problem. pay attention to it.
To borrow or not to borrow? Ideal world makes you grow organically because it keeps you slim. Too much money to start with prevents you from spending wisely. Profit = Income - cost. If you were nine to five, consider yourself contaminated by the world and wait at least 2-3 years to decontaminate. The boot camp strategy is to live on a third of your salary for at least 9 months.
At the end of the day, avoid debt until you've tested your market and shown that your organic growth is healthy. Only then will debt drive the business. Debt should boost your COGS, sales, and / or amortization

Many people jump into entrepreneurship because of what it can accomplish. They have a clear view of the end point, but everything in between is dark and hazy.

Actually, it's those confusing parts that are the true challenge of entrepreneurship. It's not your idea. This is how you bring the idea to life.

Here are some things beginners should keep close to their heart.

It doesn't matter how small you start. We all want to go big or go home. It is the type of society we live in. If you don't give it 120%, don't even try, right? While this is true, it is confused with compiling

Keep reading

Many people jump into entrepreneurship because of what it can accomplish. They have a clear view of the end point, but everything in between is dark and hazy.

Actually, it's those confusing parts that are the true challenge of entrepreneurship. It's not your idea. This is how you bring the idea to life.

Here are some things beginners should keep close to their heart.

It doesn't matter how small you start. We all want to go big or go home. It is the type of society we live in. If you don't give it 120%, don't even try, right? While this is true, it is confused with building the biggest business as quickly as possible. That only works in movies and in Silicon Valley.

Most of the world's companies are not based in Silicon Valley, which is probably a good thing. This is the reality, companies take a long time to grow. Five years is a drop in the bucket when you think about the next 100 years.

I'm talking about a company that you can leave for your grandchildren. When you make eight or nine figures of income, no one will remember that it took ten years to earn a million dollars.

After reaching a certain point, there is no difference between the people who arrived in one year and the people who arrived in ten years. They all fight for the same goal.

Customer development may be the most important thing you do. Your idea is just that, your idea. It will not be perfect for the market you are in. People will want changes and additions to be made all the time.

It is up to you to discover, through customer development, what will help your business grow and what will hurt you in the long run. It is not always an obvious distinction. That's why companies have to turn around, they made the wrong decision at some point, and they are bleeding to death.

Ruthless prioritization is a bonus. Friends, family, clients, investors and colleagues will take you in a million different directions. How do you decide where your business should take when everyone is saying something else?

You understand where you are going and you say no to (almost) everything else. It will be difficult at first, but it definitely gets easier. When you're out of survival mode, you can relax a bit and look for more ideas and angles.

Your relationships will collapse and burn. Well, at least the ones that are not essential. Building a business is like raising triplets. It will demand all of your time and attention for years and still you will not be satisfied.

Once he's old enough to fend for himself, he'll forget that it was you who changed his diapers. Because it takes so much time, energy, and attention, you won't have enough for the other people in your life and they will drift away.

It is known to break up marriages, separate families, and destroy friendships. Are you ready for that?

There are three main things that I would say that a founder of a new company should know before starting his business. These are three qualities that differentiate the successful from the less successful. Ask any successful entrepreneur and this is what you will hear from them.

  • You can't do everything alone.

Most entrepreneurs will start out and think they are an army of one man and one woman. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you start with this mindset, sooner or later you will be overwhelmed. The fact is, you need a team. A group of people who can help share your burden.

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There are three main things that I would say that a founder of a new company should know before starting his business. These are three qualities that differentiate the successful from the less successful. Ask any successful entrepreneur and this is what you will hear from them.

  • You can't do everything alone.

Most entrepreneurs will start out and think they are an army of one man and one woman. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you start with this mindset, sooner or later you will be overwhelmed. The fact is, you need a team. A group of people who can help share your load and provide the necessary skills. You cannot start a marketing consultancy alone; You will need someone with experience in product development, someone who knows market research, etc. It can be great for people to buy a product, but what about the other aspects? That's why you need a team.

  • You must stick with your idea and believe in it.

Most people will start by telling you that you won't be able to do it. Or that it is not a stable income method. If it is not decided, they are right; It's not a fixed income, but what they don't tell you is that if you work hard enough, you could earn MUCH MORE than any regular 9-5. If you have an idea, stick with it. Don't let the opinions of others keep you from doing something that brings you joy. It is best to consult an expert so you don't waste your time and effort.

  • Know the difference between a company and a startup

A company and a startup, most of the time, are not the same. The latter can become the former, but only in specific circumstances. Knowing this difference can be vital to your success. A company aims to make money from the start, while a new company does not have such an aggressive agenda. If a business is not making money, there are important questions that need to be answered. Whereas a start-up hides behind the fact that it is just 'a start-up'.

Striving to be a business from the start is an aggressive but very fruitful way to start your business. Try to be creative but realistic, and profit at the top of your priority list from day one.

It doesn't matter if it's the first or the third time. There will be a deep-seated anxiety that flares up from time to time.

When I left Corporate America; I really had no idea what to do next. Every script, self-esteem, and phenotype of what success is supposed to be slowly dissipated as I sank deeper.

You see, I attached my self-esteem, respect, and status to the amount of money I was making.

My first realization was that I no longer had the security of a paycheck.

Okay, so what should you know as a first-timer?

  1. Overnight success probably won't happen.
  2. You winning
Keep reading

It doesn't matter if it's the first or the third time. There will be a deep-seated anxiety that flares up from time to time.

When I left Corporate America; I really had no idea what to do next. Every script, self-esteem, and phenotype of what success is supposed to be slowly dissipated as I sank deeper.

You see, I attached my self-esteem, respect, and status to the amount of money I was making.

My first realization was that I no longer had the security of a paycheck.

Okay, so what should you know as a first-timer?

  1. Overnight success probably won't happen.
  2. Your winning "idea" probably already exists somewhere.
  3. Spend money to earn money.
  4. The world is getting so much bigger.
  5. Constant worry about how and where to earn money.
  6. La frustración y el lento y doloroso progreso que estás haciendo.
  7. Loneliness. You are on my own and there’s no one to really talk to.

Let me tell you a short personal story.

I started 3 different businesses before I came up with a successful one. In my own agony of painstaking 6 months of testing different business ideas, there was always a need to fast-track.

Let me tell you, don’t fall into that trap.

Business takes time. It requires patience and consistency to see things through.

My first failed business was reselling gift cards(1 billion+ market).

That idea crashed and burned after a few weeks.

I realized two important lessons:

  1. big companies are already dominating
  2. the smaller players had too many risks( scammers have ingenious ways to swindle your money)

I quit after 3 weeks and had no shame appearing to be a loser.

My second idea was a little better.

I spent a few weeks researching this idea; learning the ins and outs. Within a few days, I had my first E-bay dropshipping store.

To-date, I’ve earned over 5000+ in sales. Not bad for a few hours of work every month. :-)

My last business idea was the winner. I’ve cleared 100k last year.

The business model is called Airbnb Rental Arbitrage. From this business model, I’m earning 10k+ a month consistently while only working a couple of hours a week.

Actually, that was the most amount of money I’ve ever earned. I was able to achieve that because I took the first-step.

Learning to become an entrepreneur.

I hope this helps!

P.S. I help entrepreneurs start a profitable Airbnb business at Passiveairbnb.com

While I think many people have already provided excellent answers, I'll take a stab at this while throwing out some advice:

  1. Understand what type of entity to incorporate and talk to several experienced people before paying legal fees. LLC or C-Corp (often in Delaware) will be likely options, but still find out for sure what is best for your future business. (read expert blogs in related fields - lean on Quora)
  2. Find out what types of funds you will raise (convertible debt, equity, etc.), what your business model looks like, and what types of stocks (preferred, common) you and
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While I think many people have already provided excellent answers, I will try this and give some tips:

  1. Understand what type of entity to incorporate and talk to several experienced people before paying legal fees. LLC or C-Corp (often in Delaware) will be likely options, but still find out for sure what is best for your future business. (read expert blogs in related fields - lean on Quora)
  2. Find out what type of funds you will raise (convertible debt, equity, etc.), what your business model looks like, and what type of shares (preferred, common) will be issued to you and the co-founders.
  3. Be as knowledgeable as possible with all legal aspects - note terms (valuation cap, discount %, how PPS is determined) Do hypothetical calculations if you plan on raising $ and not bootstrapping so you can visibly understand dilution (yes, it is inevitable, but its still important to note.)
  4. Don't build a solution you think people need, nail down a problem that undeniably exists and figure out how you can solve it better than anyone else.
  5. In re: to business plans: some people will tell you "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail," others will say its completely bogus to make up a business plan because until your product hits the market, you have know idea what's going to happen. This really all depends on what type of company you're starting and if anything currently exists you can benchmark off of. At the very least, I would suggest going to a platform like Gust and using their Executive Summary as a template for what you should have down on paper.
  6. Study all "lean startup" principles
  7. Read "Built to Last" by Jerry I. Porras and James C. Collins - know what it means to "preserve the core" and "stimulate progress" (by studying the successful habits of visionary companies you can learn many great philosophies without reinventing the wheel.)
  8. Read "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie - I'm biased because I came from a sales background, but I believe so many people struggle with just being a "people person." In this game the more people that like you, whether; investors, employees, co-founders, customers, (the list goes on) the higher your chances are for success.
  9. Stay true to your roots and follow your heart. The only difference between winners and losers isn't failure. It's that the winners never gave up despite all the "no's" and setbacks that were put in front of them.
  10. Not everyone can be a great entrepreneur, but a great entrepreneur can come from anywhere. The world needs innovation more than every before and the next great minds don't have to be people with MBAs or Ivy League degrees
  11. I wanted to end with 10 but... live by this quote, "If you are not making someone else's life better, than you're wasting your time."

Waking up to the legal realities of operating a business:

I am astounded at how many individuals, partnerships and even companies lack a basic understanding of the legal frameworks needed to successfully operate in their respective economies.

Employers (and the general public) view attorneys as what we like to call "damage control." It is only when you are faced with litigation or disputes (such as intellectual property or company disputes) that you suddenly think about how an attorney can help you. After working in bankruptcy and insolvency law (the "back-end" of the legal industry)

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Waking up to the legal realities of operating a business:

I am in awe of how many individuals, companies, and even companies lack a basic understanding of the legal frameworks necessary to operate successfully in their respective economies.

Entrepreneurs (and the public in general) view Lawyers as what we like to refer to as "damage control". It is only when you are facing litigation or disputes (such as intellectual property or partnership disputes), that you suddenly think about how a Lawyer can help you. After working in bankruptcy and insolvency law (the "back end" of the legal industry), you begin to develop an appreciation of how to incorporate this knowledge into your "front end" work (Shareholders Agreements, Partnership Agreements etc).

Some words of advice for first time entrepreneurs:

Preventing Director Deadlock - We see this situation all too often. Two friends, the best of mates, decide to become 50/50 partners in a new venture. The friends decide that they will both be Directors of the company and equally own 50% of the issued shares (the partners). After 3 or 4 years, the business is starting to turn revenue, and the partners cannot agree on a fundamental strategic decision. This inability to agree leads to unrest, and the partners start to resent each other, and their business. Here’s how to deal with this:

Plan from the start and realise that you are going to have issues with each other’s’ strategic vision at some point or other during the business. Make sure that you do one of the following:

  • Have a dispute resolution clause in your Shareholders’ Agreement; or
  • Don’t appoint an even number of Directors’;
  • Have a trusted advisor that “steps” in when important decisions need to be made and there is Director deadlock.


Make sure that you think through all scenarios when you plan your business and incorporate your company. You should at least consider the following:

  • What happens if you want to mutually part ways?
  • What happens if one partner wants to leave the business
  • What happens to the assets of the company if you part ways
  • How will the business be valued if you need to separate ways, buy one party out, or sell the business altogether.


Discuss your personal protection, as well as your company’s protection – all too often people rush ‘heads on’ into Agreements for a new business before considering the implications of signing personal guarantees, or what being a Director means for them under the Corporations Act (or relevant jurisdictional legislation).

It is a necessary conversation that needs to be had. If you have a family, how do you protect them from being caught up in your liability? If you have a partner, how do you protect them and their income? Unfortunately, being a firm that has vast experience in insolvency and bankruptcy, we see the hard truth of reality and what corporate or personal insolvency can do to personal well being. Get it sorted, before it’s too late.

Get your company structure correct, now – there is no time like the present. If you want to be successful, then plan for success. All too often we see clients who have been operating a business for 1 – 2 years without a company structure that will sufficiently help them plan for a prosperous future. Remember once you start operating a business you start to develop goodwill, intellectual property and value. Plan for success. No one want to go through a corporate restructuring unnecessarily.

You're going to fail ... before you succeed.

It sounds very negative, I know and for many readers it is a sign to move on. Also, I would think it is not a good name to use when trying to sell tickets for my "Start Your Own Business" course, but since that is what is going to happen to you, I would rather equip you with the necessities. skills, knowledge and attitude to mitigate and take advantage of those failures to produce their eventual success.

I know there are plenty of business gurus who attract the gullible and hopelessly hopeful who walk into auditoriums to hear the guru's long-winded pacific.

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You will fail ... before you succeed.

It sounds very negative, I know and for many readers it is a sign to move on. Also, I would think it is not a good name to use when trying to sell tickets for my "Start Your Own Business" course, but since that is what is going to happen to you, I would rather equip you with the necessities. skills, knowledge and attitude to mitigate and take advantage of those failures to produce their eventual success.

I know there are plenty of business gurus appealing to the gullible and the desperately hopeful who file into auditoriums to hear the guru's neatly packaged (3, 5 or 10) guaranteed secrets of success, but I would rather teach first time entrepreneurs the secrets they will really need to know - the Secrets of Failure. Managing failure is a uniquely entrepreneurial competency that few people teach you about because it's not what clients want to hear or believe as this cartoon so elegantly portrays ...

While most entrepreneurs in the past failed completely before finding their success, these days we are learning better how to incorporate failure as a learning pathway to avoid making the fatal failure - liquidation. Recent developments in entrepreneurship by Steve Blank with his Customer Development Process and Eric Ries with the Lean Startup both talk about managing your small failures (iterations) and major failures (pivots) as part of the entrepreneurial development process to save you from a fatal failure that has been the hallmark of most entrepreneurial journeys. You see it's not about avoiding failure altogether but rather embracing failure as part of the process so that your failures, while inevitable, are not fatal.

The best analogy I can give is in online gaming. No matter how many instructions you get from the best players, you are still going to fail many times over until you discover your strategy that leads to success and you will continue to fail in the process of climbing to higher levels of achievement. Strangely we accept failure as a learning approach in gaming but somehow think that we don't need to fail to succeed in something far more complex with greater unknowns and with limited expertise ... starting a business. First time entrepreneurs, just like first time gamers, need to learn the Secrets of Failure.

The Secret to Failure is:

  • to understand that failure has a unique role and purpose in entrepreneurship
  • that failure needs to be built into your customer/business development process
  • that some decisions you will make are specifically targeted at an affordable loss mitigation strategy
  • knowing how to avoid decisions that are fatally flawed
  • that you need specific metrics to uncover failure early enough in your business development to allow you to pivot to a new business model
  • that you need to overcome the social stigma attached to the concept of failure that has been created by those people that Theodore Roosevelt described as "cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat”.
  • that you need to treat failure like fire. You need to control and manage your failure so that you can benefit from its good properties (learning & insights) without being consumed by its lethal force when mismanaged through ignorance or lack of appropriate mitigation strategies.
  • that you need to accept failure as your new teacher. Learning its lessons well, will give you those unique insights and innovations that will underpin your competitive advantage over those who were too afraid to be taught by such a painful but highly effective teacher.

Now first-time startup failure can occur at different times, for different reasons and to different degrees.

  • Different times - Many first-time entrepreneurs fail fatally right at the start simply because of the complexities involved in building a successful business. It's not unreasonable to say that it requires about 10,000 decisions across multiple disciplines to build a successful business. And you will be required to make sure that a high % of those decisions are the right ones, because you will have very little backup to cover the fall-out from the bad ones. Some entrepreneurs survive the foundation phase only to discover that they have built a business that does not scale and barely makes reasonable wages let alone a return on their financial investment. These businesses fail from entrepreneurial boredom (exploring other interests), or partnership breakups or investors withdrawing support. Then again, you just may have been lucky enough to have turned your first business into a success only to discover failure by trying to replicate that success in a second store, an expanded product range or to a different market. Ideally you want failure to be built into the development process and managed in the same way that you would any other potentially lethal process.
  • Different reasons - The possible reasons for failure of first time businesses could fill multiple books, particularly if one wrote a chapter on 'how to make the right decision' for each of the 10,000 mentioned above. This is why it is far more effective as a first time entrepreneur to spend time understanding the Secrets of Failure than it is the secrets of success. Failure is the process that you need to deal with and work through in entrepreneurship, while success is the outcome of managing this process well. Here are a few failures I outlined for cafes - Why do most café startups fail?
  • Different degrees - First time entrepreneurs have very little experience in evaluating startup business development risk because you only get that experience from taking startup risks and sometimes failing. In this process, you learn where the edge is because you pushed it too far on some occasions and fell off. The key is to know that failures will happen in a first time business and having strategies to mitigate them (i.e. affordable loss testing, backup plans). See there is no sustainable business model for the first time entrepreneur in the completely risk free zone. That space is already dominated by well resourced incumbents who will defend their 'turf' vigorously. So the vast majority of new businesses/startups are pushed by existing market forces into the operating space at the top end of the risk scale - somewhere between high risk, failure (learning) and critical failure. You are going to have to learn how to manage the high risk/failures (learning) that ultimately leads to success but do so without crossing over into critical failure where the outcome is complete business closure and liquidation.

Entrepreneurship is about risk management rather than risk avoidance because risk is the flip side of the innovation /discovering new markets coin. So while entrepreneurs should embrace risk they also need to understand that risk management is about accepting both the possibility and reality of failure and knowing how to manage the reality of failure when it occurs. The key is to ensure that the failure is not fatal/critical like it is for so many first time entrepreneurs who were not schooled in the Secrets of Failure.

First time entrepreneurs have usually had very little previous experience with failure and they often see it as the thing to avoid ... the enemy of success. But when Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, was asked about the formula for success he replied;

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simply really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that’s where you’ll find success.”


Here is more that I have written on this topic: Redefining failure – an Entrepreneurial Perspective

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