I started my first company over 30 years ago. I was just a kid. Since then I have been involved in every aspect of business creation including taking ideas from conception to launch, sitting on the boards of companies I believe in, advising new startups and everything in between.
There are pros and cons in every startup scenario. The trick is balancing them so you can stay sane and move your idea forward. People who get focused on the pros will get surprised by all the hard work involved; those who get stuck in the cons will burn out before they have a chance to take off.
My advice to any person wanting to work with startups or launch a startup is to learn the balance of the lifestyle you are about to engage. That balance is going to come with its own learning curve, but it will be worth it in the long run. Here are some tips:
Learn to Control Your Schedule
It will be easy to get bogged down in everything that needs to be done – especially if you are passionate about what you are doing. Learn how to manage your time so you get the breathing room you need to be creative. For some this will mean blocking hours of the day to focus on the tasks at hand. For others it will mean placing a hard cut-off at the end of the day to walk away from work until the next morning.
Choose Your Team Wisely
Your team should strengthen your idea and fill in the gaps of what is needed. Find people that are better than you are at aspects of your launch and business. Free up your time to focus on what you should be focusing on by delegating. If you are good at creative ideation, find the finance people to back you up with the details. If you are great at strategy, get the daily go-getters that will put that strategy in action. Choose your team wisely and build your team intentionally around what is needed in your company – today and tomorrow.
None of us can do everything, all the time. Learn to prioritize based on what needs to get done. Know what is needed for the next phase of your launch or development, understand what affects all working parts of your idea, and plan to make the impact you need, when you need it. Take your time to strategize and move steadily through that strategy. Employ the old adage, “Work smarter, not harder,” because there is nothing worse for a startup than spinning your wheels 100mph and not getting anywhere.
Derek Rundell, is a successful business leader, operator, and serial entrepreneur. Derek has founded, managed and sold businesses in the technology, media and finance industries. He sits on several boards and serves as an advisor/investor to numerous established businesses and startups. Startups are Derek’s real passion, and in addition to building his own portfolio of technology, media and financial ventures, he invests in and mentors startups and entrepreneurs. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping other businesses succeed.