"I'm ready to get started, so now what do I do?" Whether people are coming out of university, work or various competitions, everyone seems to have that same question. Here's my answer in ten little pieces.
Over the past five years, I've accrued a lot of advice -- some of it invaluable and some not so much -- as well as lessons learned the hard way. I've also collected quite a few notes and reminders along the way.
Entrepreneurs not only provide us with critical innovation and keep us at the forefront of global markets, they also create ways to gain financial independence. So why has the percentage of start-ups in the U.S. dropped significantly in the last 35 years?
If you're a newer startup, then chances are, you'd love, love a pitch meeting with a big fish like Starbucks. But corporate titans like those are getting pitched all the time. Is there a shortcut to inking a deal with one of them?
The issue comes when your growth gets in the way of running your business correctly. It's hard to run any company, but there are specific challenges that are especially hard about running a fast-growth company. If you're not careful, these challenges can turn into hazards.
In many ways, an entrepreneur's career is like a football game. Both combine a swift pace with a highly competitive atmosphere. The "game" is divided into four quarters. In the first quarter you assess the other team's strengths and weaknesses based on your scouting report.
I'll begin where the majority of successful entrepreneurs begin--"follow your passion." It may be a shopworn phrase, but this advice is as valid today for how to succeed in business as it was a hundred years ago, and it has certainly proven true for me.
It's Winter Olympics time. I often flip past a channel that is showing the sport of curling, and curling is a beautiful analogy for startups -- or more pointedly, for the team that must surround a founder.
My only capital when I started Trans Pacific Traders in 1946 was my accumulated military pay. What I did have was a willingness to research, find opportunities, and make deals. Fancy furniture and a large office would have to wait.
The goal of most entrepreneurs is to win big! Unfortunately, most businesses fail or struggle for years before making money. Often struggling business owners skip over or ignore two important concepts that successful owners know.
The past year was a draining mental experience. It felt as if one day I woke up with a sensitive tooth and the next I was in dire need of a root canal. Six months into our partnership I finally came to terms with the fact that I'd made a mistake.
During the last 10 years as I have invested, advised, and founded startups in New York City. I have also spent a significant amount of that time patrolling its streets as a member of the Auxiliary Unit of the New York Police Department.
The first major difference between having an idea and a startup is how others react to you. You need customer feedback to understand if your product or service provides value in people's lives and what they like or don't like about your company.