10 Best Startup Tips You'll Ever Read
Read this and go start your business.
Every entrepreneur in the world thinks that he or she knows how to launch a startup. When Bob Know-it-all experiences any degree of success, he may even suspect that what worked for him can work for everyone.
Then there are the entrepreneurs who provide a generic set of tips because they don't have anything better to say. I know this going into most interviews. But I still ask for their tips anyway, hoping for a gem that will provide us with invaluable information that no aspiring entrepreneur should be without.
Now I have finally found that "gem" -- 10 of them, to be exact -- from Michael Browning, director at MOBI and Bluefish Wireless.
"Bluefish and MOBI represent our largest investment of time and resources," Browning told Benzinga. "However, all the partners are very entrepreneurial at heart and thrive on being a part of startups. Our headquarters in Indianapolis also serve as an incubator of sorts for other four other ventures we're involved in. We've also made a number of angel investments in early stage companies; those have been great learning experiences for us as well."
Browning described one of his two primary companies, Bluefish Wireless, as a firm that helps enterprises "design and execute wireless mobility programs."
"The foundation of our solution is a software platform, which allows companies to configure everything from procurement policies to reporting and analytics," said Browning. "We support our client programs with device fulfillment and logistics services, a world-class help desk, and specialized systems integration."
Meanwhile, MOBI started as a spinoff from Bluefish. "While Bluefish focuses on the largest, most complex, often built-from-scratch-type programs, MOBI targets the mid-market with similar offerings as Bluefish," said Browning. "MOBI is simple to integrate, robust in its capabilities, and meets the requirements of 95% of the enterprises we consult with. MOBI is offered as a software as a service (SAAS) model."
Browning said that over the past several years, the "fundamentals" of the wireless industry have changed substantially. "When we first started, wireless was primarily a consumer solution," he said. "Businesses who used wireless were considered on the cutting edge of the technology front. It has become a mission critical technology that has changed the way companies do business."
Drawing upon his years of experience, Browning provided Benzinga with 10 invaluable tips for new and aspiring entrepreneurs:
Launching a Startup
When asked for tips or advice in launching a new company, Browning provided the following list:
- "Business plans never end up working the way you intend. Do your homework first, but find a way to just get out there and do it."
- "Especially when working with partners, creating a strong operating agreement is critical. Hire the best lawyer you can afford to draft these documents."
- "Hire the smartest people you can find. Incentivize them with part ownership in the business; it's a great way to help keep them around long-term. We attribute a lot of our success to a few key hires we made early on."
- "Be diligent about your accounting practices. If you don't have the internal skill set to manage it well, hire the best firm you can find. It will seem expensive but it will be important as you grow in helping you understand what your true costs are and ultimately what models work and what don't."
- "If you ever hope to be acquired or raise real capital down the road, give serious thought to paying for an accounting audit each year. It will give your numbers and your story more legitimacy if a third party ever needs to evaluate your business."
- "Be as lean as you can in the beginning. Only spend money on absolutely critical needs for your business. Raising new money is hard and will ultimately cost you your equity."
- "Try setting up your shop in a bullpen-type office layout. You'll see and hear what everyone is doing each day. It makes it easy to throw an idea out to the group and get immediate feedback vs. setting up a more formal meeting."
- "Talk to as many people as you can in your industry. Ask friends and family to help put you in touch with anyone and everyone who may have relevant advice. Don't be afraid to share your ideas and ask them to poke holes in your theories."
- "Compensate for being small by delivering extraordinary service. Companies won't care about your size if you take great care of them."
- "Don't be afraid to change course if you see you're on the wrong path within your industry. One of the best things about being small is the ability to adapt faster than your bigger competitors."
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