Really appreciate that someone has addressed all the responsibilities of a business owner.
It's often said people start their own businesses so you can "be your own boss". This is laughable. I have more bosses as a startup owner than I'd ever have working at a company.
* My customers are ALL my boss
* My employees are my boss
* In some cases, my suppliers count as a boss
* And on it goes...
Nice work, Jason!
Awesome article. This article is a must read for any person staring at the entrepreneurship cliff and contemplating jumping into it.
Jason, this is a great article. I completely agree with you on the "big vision" point, one that we have heard time and again, or I should say, one that has been missing time and again from pitches I have heard. Thinking of how your company, The StartUp Digest, started and how it continues building, is an excellent illustration of what you presented here. Many thanks on this great post.
Thanks, I needed that. For years our company has been a small business, started out a side project. Now we are moving into being start-up/ high-growth business and you are correct, it is a completely new playing field. I'm able to take this step now because of the exact points you mention.
One thing that is tough is moving from a comfortable business where people have been handing over their dollars to us for years, to something NEW.
You don't mention it, but one thing we have had to do is get new partners, because the original partners did not sign on for something this risky. That is okay, and we did it amicably, but it is a point to recognize, that the people who were happy to be with a side project/ small business might be too risk averse for a start-up.
Great points. I especially like the responsibilities. It's easy to say yes to everything else.
Great post! The timing for me was impeccable. Just started getting the word out on my project to help families organize their home finances. Taking the leap is scary, yet exhilarating. Thanks!
Great article. Hit a nerve with me, as we struggled to get that first paying customer; Google Ads excluded.
It took us 3 years of starvation to getwww.linktomeet.com
off the ground and running.
Good piece but I think the content doesn't fit the title. "You have a responsibility to employees", "Are you ready to be selfless" a valid considerations, but I would not classify them as indicators that a project is ready to be a start-up.
Perhaps something like "Considerations on transitioning from project to start-up" would be more appropriate. All valid points though!
Adding one more responsibility: Making "Right Choices" includes making choices that will reduce the likelihood of future disputes (dispute avoidance) and/or costly legal battles. Make sure your contracts are comprehensive, that you have appropriate marketing content and notices, and obtain legal and tax counsel BEFORE you "need" to. Failing to seek such guidance, almost always proves to be more costly than the advice and preventative measures.
Very insightful, and so true.
Thanks for this excellent and encouraging article.
Great essay! However, did anyone notice that Facebook likely has failed test #2 which is "you are making revenue" at its very early days in the dorm room ? I guess if we stuck to #2 in evaluating whether to go all in, Facebook would have remained a side project. I suggest that it should be revised to say that you know you can turn on "a switch" to start making revenue with the current venture or are already making revenue.
Thanks for sharing the realities of running a venture.
The difference between those who own their own job, and those who run a business is very much defined by the 'selfless' factor you have so clearly explained here.
It's not always pretty, but what you gain in growth makes it all worthwhile.
Good advice for startup entrepreneurs. Most startups go with the idea making lots of money. It is not the case with the startups. Entrepreneur and his/her team should learn to serve customers, suppliers and stake holders of the company and need to show value before a $ in the bank.
SERVE, SERVE, SERVE...
Great article, especially the responsibilities part.
Waiting now for the next in series: "How To Know Your **Main** Project Is Ready To Be A Startup"...
As others have already stated, perfect timing. I've been debating on when's the perfect time to throw out the full-time day job and go full blown into my LtL Freight Rate Comparison program. As Jason as stated, I definitely have the vision and passion for my product and how it'll help companies across the country. I am scared though about being responsible for not only myself and my family, but to other people as well as the company will get bigger. But I think that will drive me more to make sure I don't screw up.
I do worry about being careless/reckless/irresponsible?.?. Here I currently have a full time job that pays me well and I'm just going to walk away from it when other people can't get a full-time job.
But I believe in my product offering, how it'll benefit so many companies, create so many jobs, and it's something that I truly believe in.
Keep up the great article writing Jason! I really enjoy reading them and eventually it'll inspire me to give back and help others.
Very nicely put! Although most of the points are 'cliches', but it has been written with a new perspective
Nice Article Jason! Thanks for articulating and sharing your thoughts.
"The difference between zero dollars and one dollar is huge."
This is true !
Nice article, having a business model that is scalable is a must. If you had 10 times the business you currently get would you make more profit or would you have to pay huge outgoings to cope.
Very insightful and timely advice for the would-be entrepreneurs! The ' Difference between zero dollars and 1 dollar is huge' is the best insight that really hits the nail on the head!
There are really more difficult times than good times.
I'm not sure you need a Big Vision out of the gate. You just need a vision that's big enough to support your business in your target market.
Sometimes it's easy to have a Big Vision and easy to see it from the beginning; oftentimes they evolve and become more clear as the business develops.
I posted on this subject on my blog here
Terrific - a potent message to make you think. The lightbulb moment of responsibility is rarely commented on in business. Thanks for the inspiration.
I may be missing some context here. As I see it, if you have employees, investors, customers - you're not on a side project, you're already on a startup.
If the context is to help first-timers and young engineers to recognize one or a few compelling inflection points, then I'm in agreement here.
The challenge is meeting all of these 8 steps. The article is great I was just wondering what order should they be done? What order do I take to get the ball rolling or should I do all of the steps at the same time?
Great read. It's a scary process when you are doing it all on your own.
I'm not sure it has to be a flip of a switch. You can keep a side project a side project until it's grown to be the size you need it to be for it to be your full-time job. This kinda has to be the way you do it if you're a bootstrap startup
Great article, really helpful for entrepreneurs about to take the leap! I think the first point is the most valid because if the going gets tough its a lot harder to throw in the towel when you have a passion and love for the company. One thing I would mention though is Market research
Although you love your idea, you need to make sure that the potential customers and clients do too!
Interesting how all these "great post" respoonses are actually just trying to post links to their own junky websites!
I think it was very inspirational. Sometimes, you lose motivation but when you read stuff like this it reminds you that you can do it. And you should (stolen from nike) Just do it without caring what else anyone else thinks.
Very well writen article,useful and inspiring !
This article clearly outlines the difficulties and amount of effort that needs to be put into a startup. Thank you it was very helpfull!
I disagree that your employees are your boss. You are the boss, employees are hired for talent, vision, execution, and more but they are not the boss.
Own your decisions, and own your company. Don't play the win as a team lose as a team game. Win as a team, lose as an entreprenuer. it's your name on the investor sheet, not your employees.
I think a lot of smart yet inexperienced people start things they believe in but aren't ready to manage. Thinking of your employees as your boss is more comfortable for a new business owner bucause if it fails you don't have to take the full responsibility, but it is the path to failure. Own your failures, OWN your business. Take responsibility, but give praise and engouragement. Anything less in business is kidding yourself. There's a pilot and co-pilot in airplanes for a reason, but only one of them is steering the craft at a time. You can't fly a plane by committee.
Thanks for this post! It kind of made me think about the project I'm currently working on and whether I would be ready to run it as a startup. And to be honest I wouldn't. But guess that is some sort of eye-opener for me. Still got a long way to go :-(
Great thread. I think that the point about revenue is key. You have to be able to show traction ... it is step one. If customers or users don't care enough about your product in a way that generates real money, then you don't have a business yet, you have a working experiment. Keep working on your experiment until you have signs of a real business.
Wow! real eye opener. "The difference between zero dollars and one dollar is huge."
Good one Jason.
I am in full support of your notion that entrepreneurs need to be accountable and responsible for someone other than themselves. For example, my daughter and I are co-inventors of our new product. If I am successful, she is successful.
I hang out with my daughter all the time - I pitch, she catches on our ladies fastball team (where the invention came from). In fact, we are going to pitch to the Dragons in Ottawa on March 5th!
Nice one.....I really do agree with u and also believe that love wat u do, dont do anything jst for d sake of doing it, as if something goes wrong its not only u yourself who wud be affected, but many, many more people lined with u.
Excellent comments for any start up - software or otherwise. I just watched several hours of back to back Dragon's Den episodes and can see the application of many of the points you make. Well done!
Really a fantastic one!
Even though it might be projected that big success has come accidentally, I agree with you that those folks would have definitely had big vision about the same.