03/24/2015 11:16 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Lessons for Successful Entrepreneurs: A VC Perspective


Heidi Roizen has been on both sides of the entrepreneur funding divide, so her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is particularly potent. She's an operating partner at venture capitalists group DFJ, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford University and a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Last month, I interviewed Roizen at the Commonwealth Club in Silicon Valley. That interview led to many more questions about what it takes to succeed, especially the need to build meaningful relationships.

"When we study and meet with successful entrepreneurs, while each has a different path to success, they all exhibit similar mindsets," says Roizen.

I asked her to share her top five lessons for being a successful entrepreneur.

1. Don't accept the status quo.

Successful entrepreneurs seem to go through life looking at problems as things for which there can be a solution (i.e., they do not accept the status quo, no matter how ingrained).

2. Don't be afraid to fail.

Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to iterate or "fail" (i.e., learn from a mistake, course correct, and move on).

3. Be tenacious.

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be tenacious -- that is, they view the failures along the way as necessary steps in getting to success, not as indicators that they should stop.

4. Be a good storyteller.

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be very good at telling their stories, building a narrative about the problem, the solution, and what it takes to get there.

5. Find and motivate an awesome team.

Finally, successful entrepreneurs tend to know the importance of finding and motivating awesome people to join them in their journey.

Roizen also shared valuable insights on how to build lasting business relationships, successful negotiation, and finding a mentor. Find out more at Fresh Dialogues, and join the conversation on Facebook.

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