3 Important Advice That Most Startups Ignore

Sometimes we ignore advice because we think we know better. After all, we are the misfits, the outliers, the ones who dared to be a little different from others.
Why should we listen to what others say?

There are, however, some advice that we really shouldn’t ignore.

From my experience in running my own startups and helping others with theirs, I’ve consolidated the top 3 commonly ignored advice that are really good for you.

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1. Know who is paying and how much they are willing to pay
You may think There are many startups out there with zero paying customers and no business model! The startup success stories that you know (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) all had zero paying customers. The founders got a good break, get a giant sum of money and lived happily ever after. Why should you bother with finding paying customers? If you start charging, will anyone still use your products or services?
Why you shouldn’t ignore this We mistake success stories like this as the norm rather than the exceptions. Let’s face it: Investors are not running a charity. Companies do not acquire startups for fun. Your startup has to be revenue generating (with ready, paying customers) or be the best of its kind in the world so that investors are willing to back you without a current business model. Now tell me, which is more feasible option for 99.9% of the startups out there?

2. Find a niche area instead of catering for everyone
You may think Why should I be artificially limiting the reach of my products and services? If my idea works for everyone between the ages of 16 to 55, wouldn’t I be guaranteed of high scaleablity?
Why you shouldn’t ignore this Imagine opening a public chatroom with the subject “Talk about anything under the sun” vs one that says “Let’s discuss the most memorable horror movie you’ve ever watched”. Chances are, the former is going to get a couple of “Hi” which quickly give way to “Is anyone still here?” before quickly turning into a ghost town of a chat room. Meanwhile, the other chatroom would get a slow but steady stream of people reading and then sharing their own experiences. By being inclusive, you are stripping your startup of any personality or character that your audiences could identify themselves with.

3. Don’t partner with a friend. Friend a partner.
You may think Does this advice mean that I should work with a complete stranger? I trust my friends more. After all, we have been friends for over 5 years! We know each other very well and we can work well together.
Why you shouldn’t ignore this Business partnerships are always shrouded in micro-conflicts and debates. There is nothing wrong with this as it shows that the partners do care deeply what is going on in the business. However, as Asians, we tend to value interpersonal relationships strongly, leading to conflict aversion when your partners are also your friends. If your partners cheated your clients, disappear from work, didn’t so their tasks timely, ask yourself this: Would you dare to raise issues with them without fear of harming your prior friendship?

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