Dear Female Founder,
I’m Lu, the founder of Blooming Founders.
I used to lead my life as a happy corporate soldier, working for the biggest and most respected companies in the world.
But 3 years ago, I got stuck in my corporate career and suddenly a feeling creeped up on me — a feeling that I could do more and better with my skills. That feeling overtook me and refused to go, causing me to leave my last employer.
I decided to build my own business and I thought I was equipped to do so. After all, I went to business school and I knew how to build brands.
Turns out, I had no idea what I was getting into.
So today, I would like to share with you my top 5 startup tips. Hopefully, I can save you some time, money and heartache in your journey.
1) Find the right business for you.
Finding the right business is very much like finding the right relationship. Starting one is easy and always exciting, sustaining one is very hard.
The dilemma is: You don’t know what you don’t know. There are a lot of things that you’ll only find out once you do it.
The trick is to get into action NOW and keep an open mind about it. It’s totally possible (and likely) that that you find yourself with a broken business model or clients that drive you crazy.
Once you do, pivot (startup speak for “change”) until you’ll find the right business for you.
I’ve recently come across the diagram below which explains the happy place of an entrepreneur beautifully.
I wish someone had told me that when I started. It would have saved me 1.5 years and a lot of mis-invested money.
2) Don’t hold back and get feedback on your idea.
It’s easy to dream about how our ideas could make a dent onto this world, but real life validation counts more than a detailed strategy in the early stages of a company life.
Get started quickly: map out your business plan on a Lean Canvas, get out of the building and talk to your potential customers. Also talk to your potential competitors.
Don’t hold back and think someone might steal your idea. Trust me, it won’t happen. You’re too small for anyone to care. I know this might be hard to accept, but it’s true.
Be open, humble and listen to the feedback you get. It is the only way to gauge whether you are on the right track or not.
3) Customers first, investors second.
Raising investment is now seen as a great achievement in the start-up world and you might think that you need to raise money too, if you want to be a great entrepreneur.
Last time I checked, success in business comes from customers and making revenue/profits.
So when in doubt, spent more time in the early days of your company with your customers than courting potential investors.
Once you’ve got customers and revenue, investors are much more likely to talk to you anyway—what a great coincidence!
4) Build your network and ask for help.
You might think that you are superwoman (and you probably are!), but reality is: No one can do this startup thing alone.
If you are not part of a tribe of like-minded people who can relate to your problems, then the journey can be very lonely.
So go out and connect with people. The startup community is typically very open and friendly. And once you found some good support networks, don’t just join and do nothing — contribute and use them.
Don’t feel bad about reaching out and asking for help. (Men never do.)
5) Be ready for anything and say YES.
Entrepreneurship is all about creating and embracing opportunities.
The logic is very simple: Nothing will happen, if you don’t put yourself out there. Of course, not every opportunity will lead into something great, but then again, you never know, if you never go.
Go through as many doors as you can and when a good opportunity comes your way, say “YES!”.
Don’t think: “OMG, can I do this?”
If someone asks you to do something, it typically means they believe that you’ll do a great job. Get over that OMG-feeling — quick!
Also don’t think: “Gosh, I’m so overqualified for this!”
As a startup founder, you need to be able to do anything — from buying snacks for events, to replying to any type of random customer request, to collecting receipts. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.
So take a deep breath and get in to action. You will only learn and grow and that’s never been a bad thing, right?
I hope that my tips were helpful for you. Let me know what you think in the comments!
All the best for your journey,
Founder & CEO of Blooming Founders