Market Overview

Four Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do

“You see a lot of people thinking they have an idea and can just outsource the development. It won't work that way.”

That's the advice of Patrick Ambron, Co-Founder and CEO of BrandYourself, a website that helps people control their own Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) search results. As a 24-year-old entrepreneur who turned down $750,000 from one group of investors because they weren't the “best fit” for his company, Ambron knows a thing or two about making tough decisions. And after finding another group of investors and taking in $1.25 million during BrandYourself's first round, Ambron knows how to raise money. Thus, when he provided Benzinga with some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, we paid close attention to what he had to say:

  1. “KISS – keep it simple. You should be able to explain any area of your business in one minute, from product, to business model to marketing strategy. If you can't, you aren't focused enough.”
  2. “Solve a specific problem. It's hard to be a Facebook. It's a lot easier to find a problem that people really care about and a solution people are willing to pay for.”
  3. “You need a technical co-founder. You see a lot of people thinking they have an idea and can just outsource the development. It won't work that way. You need to be willing to give up 50% of your company if you don't have the resources or expertise you need. You need that person as in it as you are, because contractors don't stay up until five in the morning when something goes wrong.”
  4. “Perfectionism can be crippling. The product can always be better. You need to get it in the hands of the consumer, or you miss your window of opportunity.”

That's not all Ambron had to say. Before starting BrandYourself, Ambron said that he did the following five things:

  1. “We put together the team of me, Peter Kistler and Evan Watson.”
  2. “We created a visional plan. We mapped out what we wanted to do and tried to visualize the product.”
  3. “We made sure that everyone was fully committed to the project. Pete and Evan took a leave of absence from school, and I made sure I didn't have anything to fall back on. We tried to make sure that it was all or nothing.”
  4. “We started a blog. We talked about what was going on in the space. It was important to build an audience in our niche while we were building our product.”
  5. “Finally, we identified things we could change to help average people dealing with search issues, and we mapped out ways to make changes.”

Looking Ahead

When asked what's next for BrandYourself, Ambron said that while the last 11 months have been all about development, “The next phase will be all about customer acquisition and getting this product in as many hands as possible.”

“‘Does less' is okay, but ugly or flaky is not,” Ambron insisted. “People often confuse my last point and the mantra of ‘lean startup' and agile development and launch things that are flaky. That's never okay. If you want to launch faster, make your product do less, but make that functionality the best in the field.

“It's better to be the BEST at one thing than pretty good at 100 things. Mediocre doesn't help your startup take off.”

Further, Ambron said:

  • “Only raise money when you need to. Don't raise money for the sake of raising money.”
  • “Only take smart money. If you can't imagine calling your investors at four in the morning with a problem, keep looking.”
  • “Only hire the best; don't settle. Hiring someone who isn't the best in a startup will cost you more in the end. Find the best engineers, marketers, etc., in your industry and pitch them like VCs. You need to offer the equity.”

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: BrandYourself Evan WatsonEntrepreneurship Success Stories Be Your Own Boss Startups Tech General Best of Benzinga

 

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