Your Startup Mentor: Practical advice about things you need to know before you startup

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They could be an expert in your sector or might have experience starting a business themselves. Ask yourself these questions:. Looking to develop your business idea further?

The LifeSkills Business start-up planner and handbook could help. Ever wondered what it takes to make an enterprising idea a success? Our Enterprise Idea Planner is the perfect tool for people who want to use their skills to develop a campaign whilst in education, an opportunity at work, or setting up a business. Our Enterprise idea planner is the perfect tool for people who want to use their skills to develop a campaign whilst in education, an opportunity at work or setting up a business. Deciding on your 'what next? From problem solving and improving your efficiency to revealing your creativity and hidden strengths, discover the skills and qualities that will help set you up for success.

Start your business with a business mentor Starting your own business can be really rewarding with exciting challenges. How do I find a suitable mentor? Ask yourself these questions: What is the next goal I want to achieve with my business idea? They give you exposure to professionals from a huge variety of industries. When looking for a mentor, try to find someone in the same industry or at least one similar to yours so you can benefit from their network and they can benefit from yours.

These programs provide free one-on-one mentoring and low-cost training opportunities for their clients in locations around the country, using a combination of federal funds, state and local government contributions, and private sector resources. SBDCs operate in more than locations, meaning the valuable coaching and guidance they provide is available virtually anywhere. Hillel Fuld , a prominent startup advisor and tech blogger, advises founders to forget secrecy. After all, chances are no one will be able to take your idea and run with it faster than you might.

And, in the unlikely chance that someone does, you still have the passion to out-execute them. Entrepreneurs are naturally independent do-it-yourselfers, but you don't have to go it entirely alone.

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Forming a relationship with a mentor is a key ingredient to the success of your startup, and it can help you avoid mistakes that newcomers naturally make. And who knows? If you find success through a program, you may find yourself mentoring a new business owner like yourself one day.

Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post. The inheritor profile calls for a management style that is not too entrepreneurial more conservative and the startup should have an incremental invention building on a previous standard. This profile is set out to be more successful in finding a business partner in a market that has a dominant design a clear standard is applied in this market. In contrast to this profile is the originator which has a management style that is highly entrepreneurial and in which a radical invention or a disruptive innovation totally new standard is being developed.

This profile is set out to be more successful in finding a business partner in a market that does not have a dominant design established standard. New startups should align themselves to one of the profiles when commercializing an invention to be able to find and be attractive to a business partner. By finding a business partner, a startup has greater chances of becoming successful. Startups usually need many different partners to realize their business idea.

The commercialization process is often a bumpy road with iterations and new insights during the process. Hasche and Linton [16] argue that startups can learn from their relationships with other firms, and even if the relationship ends, the startup can have gained valuable knowledge about how it should move on. When a relationship is failing for a startup it needs to make changes.


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Three types of changes can be identified according to Hasche and Linton : [16]. Startups need to learn at a huge speed before running out of resources. Proactive actions experimentation, searching, etc. With the key learnings from market validation, design thinking, and lean startup, founders can design a business model.

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However it's important not to dive into business models too early before there is sufficient learning on market validation. Paul Graham said "What I tell founders is not to sweat the business model too much at first. The most important task at first is to build something people want.


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Founders or co-founders are people involved in the initial launch of startup companies. Anyone can be a co-founder, and an existing company can also be a co-founder, but the most common co-founders are founder-CEOs, engineers , hackers , web developers , web designers and others involved in the ground level of a new, often venture. The founder that is responsible for the overall strategy of the startup plays the role of founder-CEOs , much like CEOs in established firms.

The language of securities regulation in the United States considers co-founders to be "promoters" under Regulation D. The U. Securities and Exchange Commission definition of "Promoter" includes: i Any person who, acting alone or in conjunction with one or more other persons, directly or indirectly takes initiative in founding and organizing the business or enterprise of an issuer; [19] However, not every promoter is a co-founder. In fact, there is no formal, legal definition of what makes somebody a co-founder. When there is no definitive agreement like shareholders' agreement , disputes about who the co-founders are can arise.

Self-efficacy refers to the confidence an individual has to create a new business or startup. It has a strong relation with startup actions. Entrepreneurs with high self-efficacy—that is, those who believe they can perform well—are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided. Iman Jalali, chief of staff at ContextMedia [23]. Entrepreneurs often feel stressed. They have internal and external pressures. Internally, they need to meet deadlines to develop the prototypes and get the product or service ready for market. Externally they are expected to meet milestones of investors and other stakeholders to ensure continued resources from them on the startups.

Coping with stress unsuccessfully could lead to emotional exhaustion, and the founders may close or exit the startups. Sustaining effort is required as the startup process can take a long period of time, by one estimate, three years or longer Carter et al. Sustaining effort over the long term is especially challenging because of the high failure rates and uncertain outcomes.

Some startup founders have a more casual or offbeat attitude in their dress, office space and marketing , as compared to executives in established corporations.

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For example, startup founders in the s may wear hoodies , sneakers and other casual clothes to business meetings. Their offices may have recreational facilities in them, such as pool tables , ping pong tables, football tables and pinball machines , which are used to create a fun work environment, stimulate team development and team spirit, and encourage creativity. Some of the casual approaches, such as the use of "flat" organizational structures, in which regular employees can talk with the founders and chief executive officers informally, are done to promote efficiency in the workplace, which is needed to get their business off the ground.

Some startups offer employees incentives such as stock options , to increase their "buy in" from the start up as these employees stand to gain if the company does well.

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This removal of stressors allows the workers and researchers in the startup to focus less on the work environment around them, and more on achieving the task at hand, giving them the potential to achieve something great for both themselves and their company. The failure rate of startup companies is very high. Sometimes these companies are purchased by other companies, if they are deemed to be viable, but oftentimes they leave employees with very little recourse to recoup lost income for worked time.

Failed entrepreneurs, or restarters, who after some time restart in the same sector with more or less the same activities, have an increased chance of becoming a better entrepreneur. Many institutions and universities provide training on startups. In the context of universities, some of the courses are entrepreneurship courses that also deal with the topic of startups, while other courses are specifically dedicated to startups.

Startup courses are found both in traditional economic or business disciplines as well as the side of information technology disciplines. As startups are often focused on software, they are also occasionally taught while focusing on software development alongside the business aspects of a startup. Founders go through a lot to set up a startup. A startup requires patience and resilience, and training programs need to have both the business components and the psychological components.

As startups are typically thought to operate under a notable lack of resources, [33] have little or no operating history, [34] and to consist of individuals with little practical experience, [35] [36] it is possible to simulate startups in a classroom setting with reasonable accuracy. In fact, it is not uncommon for students to actually participate in real startups during and after their studies.

Similarly, university courses teaching software startup themes often have students found mock-up startups during the courses and encourage them to make them into real startups should they wish to do so. To date, much of the entrepreneurship training is yet personalized to match the participants and the training. The size and maturity of the startup ecosystem is where a startup is launched and where it grows to have an effect on the volume and success of the startups. The startup ecosystem consists of the individuals entrepreneurs , venture capitalists , angel investors , mentors , advisors ; institutions and organizations top research universities and institutes, business schools and entrepreneurship programs and centres operated by universities and colleges, non-profit entrepreneurship support organizations, government entrepreneurship programs and services, Chambers of commerce business incubators and business accelerators and top-performing entrepreneurial firms and startups.

A region with all of these elements is considered to be a "strong" startup ecosystem. One of the most famous startup ecosystems is Silicon Valley in California, where major computer and internet firms and top universities such as Stanford University create a stimulating startup environment, Boston where Massachusetts Institute of Technology is located and Berlin , home of WISTA a top research area , numerous creative industries , leading entrepreneurs and startup firms.

Although there are startups created in all types of businesses, and all over the world, some locations and business sectors are particularly associated with startup companies. The internet bubble of the late s was associated with huge numbers of internet startup companies, some selling the technology to provide internet access, others using the internet to provide services. Most of this startup activity was located in the most well known startup ecosystem - Silicon Valley , an area of northern California renowned for the high level of startup company activity:.

His employees formed Fairchild Semiconductor immediately following their departure After several years, Fairchild gained its footing, becoming a formidable presence in this sector. Its founders began leaving to start companies based on their own latest ideas and were followed on this path by their own former leading employees Startup investing is the action of making an investment in an early-stage company the startup company.

Beyond founders' own contributions, some startups raise additional investment at some or several stages of their growth. Not all startups trying to raise investments are successful in their fundraising. Today, there are many alternative forms of IPO commonly employed by startups and startup promoters that do not include an exchange listing, so they may avoid certain regulatory compliance obligations, including mandatory periodic disclosures of financial information and factual discussion of business conditions by management that investors and potential investors routinely receive from registered public companies.

Attractive startups generally have lower " bootstrapping " self-funding of startups by the founders costs, higher risk, and higher potential return on investment. Successful startups are typically more scalable than an established business, in the sense that the startup has the potential to grow rapidly with a limited investment of capital, labor or land.

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