In my work experience having worked for high-tech startups in Silicon Valley and Switzerland I have seen many approaches that led to winners or failures. Today I compare those lessons learned first-hand with what are common practices in startups I see. So here we go:
- make all employees co-owners. as mentioned several times in other blog posts I consider this as a rule that if you break it your chances of succeeding against others who do this right are nil. I repeat nil. so offer stock options/grants or whatever makes sense due to unfavourable tax laws like in Europe.
- validating your product and its competitiveness against current solutions should bring a 10x performance vs. costs advantage. if you don’t pack up and look for something new.
- timing is the number one reason for startups to succeed or not as per Bill Gross and yes it is a critical one. If it is not, one other thing is very certain too: you are not onto something really big as there is no competition threatening you to be first and taking away the market or you are too early or too late.
- go international. if you are in the US or China of course you have a huge market at your doorsteps and growing big is possible. If you are not in the US or China going international must be part of your planning early on as there is zero chance otherwise to become a global player ever.
- passion. if you are not entirely passionate of what you do then I recommend to not do a startup. without passion you will for sure run out of steam along the way as there will simply not be enough energy to cope with challenges. also the people you hire must be passionate and if you have the choice between a passionate hire and one that is less but seems more qualified I recommend to take the passionate one.