Say's Jack Killion

3 minutes reading time (535 words)

My 10 Commandments for Start-Up Entrepreneurs


Since, over the past decades, I have evaluated a thousand or more proposed #start-ups and early stage companies plus started 8 of my own new businesses I want to share 10 “Must Haves”  that entrepreneurs need to pay attention to when they head off to launch their own start-up ventures. They are, MAKE CERTAIN:


  1. You have the stomach and personal qualities to be a successful entrepreneur. I have seen too many start-ups and early stage companies fail because the Founder really was not cut out to be on her or his own and belonged with a bigger organization working for someone else.
  2. You have unqualified support at home from your family. Your chances of succeeding launching a new business, if your spouse or significant other isn’t 100 percent in your corner, are pretty dim.
  3. Your product or service really has a market, i.e. enough people will buy it. I have seen many, many new ventures fold because their product or service really wasn’t important to the target market. It is amazing how often this happens.
  4. To be creative funding the new venture. There are lots of sources and ways to fund the launch and early pre-revenue stages of a new business besides selling equity and taking out personally guaranteed loans. Think outside the box.
  5. You are prepared personally to sell for your new company. Too many #entrepreneurs, particularly “techies” start their new companies thinking they don’t have to get involved selling. Wrong! At some point, you will have to be your best salesperson.
  6. You have clear, unwavering passion for launching and trying to grow your new business. If you don’t love every aspect of your new venture, don’t even start. Being an entrepreneur simply takes too many hours and too much energy, dedication, and sacrifice to try building something you are not totally committed to and passionate about.
  7. You can handle risk. A large percentage of new ventures fail. Are you mentally and financially capable of handling that risk? Can you sustain yourself until the new ventures breaks into cash flow positive?
  8. You can attract a talented team. Being an #entrepreneur is a lonely, energy draining, tough lifestyle. To have any shot of success you need to surround yourself with quality advisors and quality team members which is not easy given the limited resources you have available to attract them. You need great leadership skills to develop a winning team for a start-up.
  9. You have a viable business plan and business model and the timing is right. Among other things, this means creating multiple revenue streams for your new venture. Sometimes a new company’s timing is off. It’s possible to be too early before a market has been established. It’s also possible to be too late to market and the competition is too well established. For Uber and Airbnb the timing was perfect.
  10. You anticipate everything taking longer and costing more than you planned and expected. Assume almost any key aspect of your new business is going to take a year (at least) to happen which includes finding the right partner initially, putting together critical strategic alliances, finding the funding needed, developing your product or service and recruiting and building your winning team.


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Tuesday, 31 March 2020
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