For Entrepreneurs, There Are Few Wrong Answers, Lots of Killer Mistakes
Teaching Startup wants to keep you from second-guessing your own decisions
One of the riskiest truths about building a business is that there are a lot of
“right” answers that gloss over easy ways to make big mistakes.
The first question we answered in this week’s issue of the Teaching Startup newsletter had to do with handing out titles and defining roles at the very early stages of a company. By early stage, in this case, going from a bunch of friends working together to a formal, let’s-divide-the-equity legal entity. But it could be at any stage.
Like most questions about starting up, there is no 100% perfect right answer to that question. The short answer is you can hand out titles and define roles however you like. The longer answer — the one I gave — covers a few simple-to-make mistakes that can wind up costing you dearly in the future. I know. Because I made them.
No one is going to be able to tell you exactly how to achieve success as you define it. Furthermore, even if you and I are defining the same success, even if it’s success as base and quantifiable as “I want to make a buttload of money,” what worked for me and my company might not work for you and your company.
I don’t have the right answer. You do. But I can get you there.
The second question this week had to do with gaining enough customer trust as a new company to open wallets for purchase. Again, there may be no wrong answer there, so we brought in a payments entrepreneur to throw out some options to help the asker find the right answer for them.
It’s a blessing and a curse that, as a startup leader, you have total authority to try new ideas, implement unique strategies, and make the decisions that are best for your company. It’s a blessing because you have complete freedom. It’s a curse because you will always be second guessing yourself, no matter how much experience you’ve got.
That second guessing is something many entrepreneurs never get past. That’s one of the reasons why Teaching Startup exists — not to give entrepreneurs a surefire map to stratospheric success, but to help them frame their own decisions, develop their own strategies, and execute their own ideas.
We do this by pulling back the curtain on some of the more objective, actionable aspects of building a company. For a lot of questions and decisions in startup, there’s more than one right answer. So instead of telling you ours, we help you find yours.
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