Business Magazine

1001 Serial Articles for Entrepreneurs & Startups

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Martin Zwilling @StartupPro

cartoon_of_a_tired_man_workingAs of today, I will have published an article here for entrepreneurs and startups every day for the last 1001 days, since I started Startup Professionals Musings near the close of 2008. It’s been a great ride, but it’s now time to dial it back a bit, and focus on some other priorities. I still plan to publish on this blog occasionally, as well as more frequently on my blogs at Forbes, Huffington Post, and others.

In my traditional notational style, I’ve taken a nostalgic look back over the ground covered and lessons learned in the past almost three years. Here are ten key messages that I would like to leave you with:

  1. I continue to gain respect for entrepreneurs. After working with literally hundreds of entrepreneurs, I’m continually impressed with their vision, commitment, and determination to succeed, despite the obstacles. For all of you who live with an entrepreneur, my congratulations and my condolences. I’m sure you know what I mean.

  2. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Many believe that entrepreneurs are born and not made. But that is far from the truth! Studies show that anyone can be an entrepreneur, but many won’t be happy as entrepreneurs. Check yourself against this list from a while back “Ten Quotes Never Spoken By a Happy Entrepreneur.” Be happy.

  3. Finding funding for startups is a tough process. Too many people still believe the urban myth that you can sketch your idea on a napkin, and people will throw money at you. Fundraising is indeed brutally tough at all stages. The simple answer is that if you need funding, do your homework and start networking early.

  4. You learn more from failure than from success. It’s the learning; not success or failure, that makes the difference. Failure is a condition that all of us experience. It’s our reaction to our failures that distinguishes winners from losers. Wear your failure like a merit badge, and investors will love you.

  5. Social media is a huge resource for entrepreneurs. Sadly, too many entrepreneurs still think social media is only for play, rather than work. They don’t yet realize the low-cost potential for lead generation, branding, customer loyalty, direct marketing and e-commerce. It’s been essentially my only resource, and has paid off handsomely, for example, with almost 380,000 followers on Twitter.

  6. Blogging is a learning process as well as a sharing one. You may think you are an expert in your domain, but until you try to write things down in simple terms in a blog for other people, you don’t realize what you don’t know. Doing the research to clarify allows you to share effectively. I learn something new every day in blogging.

  7. Gen-Y has come a long way in the last three years. My own perspective is that the recession has been good for Gen-Y (Millennials), because it has forced them to face reality, often for the first time in their life. In the last few years, even college grads with advanced degrees don’t have job opportunities waiting. But I’m happy to report that I see more and more of them eschewing entitlement to become real entrepreneurs.

  8. Every entrepreneur should work first on his elevator pitch. The elevator pitch should be the first few paragraphs of your business plan, your executive summary, your investor presentation, and the first page of your web site. A different message everywhere is no message. You only have once chance for a great first impression.

  9. Don’t plan to get rich from your startup. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. On the average, the entrepreneurs I know are struggling financially. Remember, it takes about six years of hard work to become an overnight success.

  10. Successful companies are all about the execution. A startup begins with a great idea, but all too often, that’s where it ends. Ideas have to be implemented, good implementation requires a plan, and a good plan and good operational decisions come from good people. That’s why investors invest in entrepreneurs, rather than ideas.

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