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5 Things You Should Do as Founder of a Startup

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The process of finding and running a startup is full of ups and downs, and the downs don’t mean that you’re failing or that there aren’t more up days ahead even though it can feel that way. Any risk worth taking is going to have challenges along the way. At the same time, you can sidestep certain pitfalls by avoiding some common mistakes, including the ones below.

Watch Your Personal Finances

With your eyes on the company finances, it can be easy to lose sight of your personal finances, but it’s essential that you don’t make this mistake. A surprising number of startups fail because founders just don’t have any more money, and even if this does happen to your business, you don’t want it to happen to you personally as well. It’s important to track your expenses, have a budget, build an emergency fund, and maintain good credit.

There may be times when you are tempted to set these rules aside. If a family member or someone else close to you asks you to cosign on a student loan, it might seem reasonable to say yes because it can seem like a simple solution to help someone pay for their education. However, you need to consider several things, including how cosigning a student loan will affect your credit. Keep a watchful an eye on your personal finances as you do on your company finances, and don’t be rash with what you have.

Stay Focused

When you are starting a new business if your startup is starting to get attention, it can be easy to get caught up in that. You may be meeting with investors, attending conferences, going to dinners, and even getting press coverage. This can keep you very busy, but it can also distract you from your main purpose, which needs to be doing whatever it is that your company is supposed to do. If you’re a tech startup, that means you need to be writing code. You also need to be talking to your users, customers, or clients about their needs and preferences. As much fun as those dinners and networking opportunities can be and as much as it can make you feel like a success, keep in mind that it’s all just smoke and mirrors if you don’t have a robust product or service to sell that people want.

Know When to Say Yes

Setting boundaries and turning down things that will consume your precious time with little to show for it is important, but it’s just as important to know when the answer should be yes. It can be a way of stretching your abilities and finding out what you’re capable of if you’re asked to contribute to a project that is beyond your comfort level. Critical networking opportunities can also arise because of saying yes at the right time. You might find yourself in a fruitful collaboration with someone you would not have imagined working with, or you could find an important new direction for your company. Think of “yes” as being a more open and creative way to view the world and opportunities around you.

Get Feedback

It may not always be a pleasant experience, but getting as much feedback as you can and learning how to accept feedback is critical to figuring out what you’re doing wrong and knowing what your customers want. In fact, you should be trying to collect feedback not just as you’re getting your startup going but throughout the life of your business. Early on, if you’re meeting with investors, try to get feedback from them about your pitch. They have heard hundreds of them, so they are great sources on what’s wrong and right. Later, make a point to listen carefully to your employees and your customers.

Know When to Stop

This isn’t about when to stop your business, with any luck, the answer to that will be “never”, but when to stop obsessing about every little detail. Yes, it’s important to be conscientious about your work, but spending days or even hours hung up on the size of the lettering in your logo is just not a good use of your time. You simply can’t give this level of attention to everything about your company, so accept that while excellence will be the only standard for certain elements, other things can be just good enough.

Jean-Pierre is a polyglot communication specialist, freelance journalist, and writer for startup.info with over two decades of experience in media and public relations. He creates engaging content, manages communication campaigns, and attends conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. He brings his wealth of experience and expertise to provide insightful analysis and engaging content for startup.info's audience.

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