What startup advice do you hear that is just wrong!
Trusting your own instincts and guiding yourself while listening to others is key for any entrepreneur, so let me share a few pieces of advice you should avoid at all cost:
Here's a few from my article:
1. Being passionate about your product is critical to your success.
Yes you should care and love what you are doing, but it's not about you, or your product. It's about your customer, not you.The whole passionate schtick is like the self help/Secret end of this business, as if just being passionate will get it done.
While investors want to see you really care about the business you are creating, the true path to success is seriously caring about the customer. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to solve their most important problem and understanding that most of your audience really doesn't know they have the problem.
It's about the problem you solve, and you should be passionate about solving that problem. Everything else flows from that, even your products will change and adapt to the market.
Be passionate about your market, your customer, and the single most important problem you solve for them.
Love the problem, not the product. Sometimes passionate people think it's all about them, and as a leader of a startup you do need to inspire. Yet passion, like happiness, is momentary, and it's in those trying moments that passion fades and true entrepreneurial zeal kicks in - meaning don't quit, don't whine, and keep finding the best fit for your customers.
2. You should be younger than 30 to get funding and succeed.
While the bias in Silicon Valley might edge towards this scenario, entrepreneurs of all kinds and ages are starting businesses. While I haven't seen mentors give this advice towards being young, it is a clear in most of what you read that it's a young person's world.
In the past 17 years, new groups of entrepreneurs have arisen, displacing the dominant stereotype of a startup with a new, leaner, and more practical business driven by more opportunity than jobs offer today.
In the Kauffman Foundation's Entrepreneurial Activity Report 2014, the two sectors that have shown the most growth between 1996-2013 are Hispanics and people 45-54.
Nowhere is this more true than in the startup space, where the drive to startup businesses isn't just because of funding for tech projects - it's because many people who are not traditionally thought of as entrepreneurs are leading the way.
3. You'll figure out marketing once you succeed.
Startups love to leave this part out. They have a charismatic leader, hopefully a good tech and UI person, but the marketer? They don't value that and it's easy to advise someone to neglect this and focus no product.
Maybe it's because the movie The Social Network painted a picture of building a fast growing company and then integrate advertising and revenue generation.
What happens if you're not Facebook?
Most startups die because they have no idea how to market or monetize their business, even down the road, and leave it up to chance. The subtle judgmental attitude towards marketing often shows - almost like it's beneath the person to even consider this at such an early juncture.
Good advice is to realize how important marketing is every step of the way. Sure you have to have good products or services to succeed, yet if you ignore marketing and expect you're greatness will get people talking - that's simply not good advice.
This is usually where the passionate people implode. Take a chance and at least look into marketing your business each step of the way.