Steve Woods, Caitlin MacGregor, Roy Pereira and more share their best words of encouragement and guidance.
Entrepreneurs are bound to hit a few snags on the road to success, but it's those snags that teach them the most about scaling a business. Learning where successful entrepreneurs went wrong (or right) can help new founders avoid common pitfalls and get a valuable leg-up on the competition.
With that in mind, we asked seasoned business owners to share their best entrepreneurial advice. After careful consideration, we narrowed our selection down to the 10 you'll find below.
“When you're an entrepreneur, you're often tempted to look at other early-stage businesses to see how they are doing, and compare to how you're doing. That's always a risky move as everyone presents an 'Instagram' view of their business where everything looks amazing and successful. The reality is, every single business is hard and is going through challenges. Don't be too rough on yourself when your internal reality is imperfect. It's that way for every single business.”
- Steve Woods, Co-Founder and CTO
“Clearly define your goals. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to tick them off and measure how you’ve performed.”
- Caitlin MacGregor, Co-Founder and CEO
“There will always be people who will question your abilities. Negative people aren’t worth your time so don’t let them slow you down. On the other hand, it’s really important to surround yourself with honest people who tell you the truth — reward that.”
- Anna Hu, Co-Founder and CEO
“Anyone can get an idea. Even your great idea isn’t unique. The winners find problems that have a large growing market and execute solutions found by listening to that market.”
- Roy Pereira, Founder
“Tune out the noise. Time is the ultimate equalizer, so play the long game and don’t be distracted by what seems like a big deal today.”
- Elham AyoubZadeh, Founder, CEO and Creative Director
“The best type of funding comes from customer revenue. Not only does this help fund your business, but also shows that customers see enough value from your product/service, and is undeniable market traction that attracts investors.”
- Rich Emrich, CEO
“Too often entrepreneurs spend energy building a product instead of a viable business model. From day one, focus on customer development over product development. Talk to prospective customers. Discover what is really painful and how much they are willing to pay for the cure. Use these findings to refine your model.”
- John Kennedy, Co-Founder and VP of Engineering
“Listen to your customers. Generating honest reviews is the most powerful feedback. No matter how spectacular and cutting-edge your product is, that gets you nowhere if it's not what your customers are looking for. Let the customer be your guide.”
- Hamed Abbasi, Co-Founder and CEO
“Be very selective of who you hire into your company early, as they’ll reinforce the right values as you grow.”
- Jeff Mann, Founder and CEO
“No matter how successful you get or how big the company grows, always keep the mentality of ‘being scrappy’. Restraint fosters creativity and that’s one of the most important things in business.”
- Kevin Kliman, Co-Founder and CEO
Want to be included in the next roundup? Submit your response by filling out this short questionnaire. If you've got your own advice to share, post it in the comments section below!