The Anti-want List: Things You Thought Your Startup Needed But Really Doesn't : Under30CEO The Anti-want List: Things You Thought Your Startup Needed But Really Doesn't : Under30CEO
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

The Anti-want List: Things You Thought Your Startup Needed But Really Doesn’t

| January 31, 2014 | 4 Comments

Startup Resources

What does a startup need?

A number of things, but the answers will differ depending on whom you ask. This particular list had me chuckling. It mentions sunny offices and windows that open, “democratically controlled music system,” beer Fridays, and soft lighting among the things a startup needs. Not sure if it’s tongue-in-cheek but going by the comments here, I’m not the only one amused. Or a tad bit annoyed.

Starting up is serious business which requires our focus to be on all the right things. It is, however, easy to get confused between what you want and what your company needs at this early stage, because there’s no end to the conflicting advice out there.

Here’s a simple way of determining what your startup needs as opposed to what you think it needs — get the basics right and let go of about everything else.

If that’s a bit vague for you, let’s look at a few things that your startup absolutely does not need in the initial stages.

Expert Advice

What does that even mean?

As someone who wolfs down self-help and management books like Sunday morning breakfast, I have to say paying for expensive consultancy makes very little sense in the beginning.

Having spoken to quite a few of them, I’m sorry to say that I’m almost disappointed to hear their “expert views.” Which were all very basic and came down to common sense more often than not.

I hear this is not a problem confined to management consultancies alone. You approach a professional nutritionist these days and at least in the first few meetings they will tell you the exact same things you have read in diet-related books, blogs, and journals a million times. Where is the new information? The cutting edge research? Revolutionary ideas for startups to take off and make a killing in the very first year?

Answer: nowhere

Every business is unique and so are the circumstances and factors that lead to its success or failure. Not saying that we know better than the experts, but if you are someone who has been following your field of business enthusiastically for many years, read industry blogs and magazines regularly, and have a few successful entrepreneurs in your network, you’ll find you can cut back on having to pay a hefty fee to a professional consultancy in the initial stages.

Mentors are what you should be going after (and with great zeal), not consultants.

Fancy Advertising and PR

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. You must get out there and spread the word. People must know about the new kids on the block and their great new services. This is quintessential stuff.

And there are many ways to go about it. Word of mouth still happens to be the best, especially for startups. Remember, people know nothing about you right now. You haven’t established your credibility. Fancy advertising and PR won’t help you at this stage. Or let me put it this way, you don’t need either of them when you are just starting out.

It’s better to focus on client acquisition, building reputation among these early clients with a solid job, and asking them for recommendations and good reviews. It will save you money and give you better results.

Getting Ahead of Yourself

Thinking big is good but there’s also something called becoming too big for your own boots.

Launching a business is a heady thing. When your initial experience is good and it looks like you’re in for a successful ride, it gets even headier.

Ideas about launching sister websites and other businesses start coming to us. You realize starting a company is not all that difficult, after all. It’s a bit like thinking about having another baby when your first one hasn’t even started to walk yet. I understand the joy and temptation but your focus should be dealing with your current baby. At least for the next couple of years, if not longer. All those fancy ideas of yours about newer businesses? Jot them down carefully in a journal, revisit them from time to time to see if they still interest you, but don’t act on them unless your first startup is entrenched firmly as a business.

Taking out Big Loans

Who doesn’t like the idea of receiving $100,000 in funding? But here’s the problem with those big dollars and SBA loans; they come with even bigger caveats. And an inability to pay them off on time may well signal the end of your business.

Don’t even go in that direction. Keep your loans small and manageable, no matter how confident you are about your plans and your ability to pull things off. A number of factors lead to the success of a startup, and not all of them are in our control. So don’t make life more difficult for you than it has to be by taking on unnecessary debt.

Mary Prescott is working as a community manager at WorkZone – A web-based project management software company. She is @MaryP_WZ on Twitter. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading fiction or hiking with her dog.

Image Credit:

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , ,

Category: Entrepreneurship

  • Pingback: Connect IMS - Integrated Marketing Solutions || The Anti-want List: Things You Thought Your Startup Needed But Really Doesn’t

  • Barron Advisors, Inc.

    A great advisor/consultant is interchangeable with a great mentor. It really comes down to how much of someone’s time that you require. If its more then a traditional mentor can provide then it is best to hire out that role. An advisor should challenge you to think about things in new ways. Having said that, there are a lot of “consultants,” “advisors,” “coaches,” etc. that you’ll just end up wasting your money on.

  • David

    Actually, who is going to best help entrepreneurs turn common sense into uncommon action to achieve what most only idealize about? And staying sane through the process, finding your own approach, “doing it your way” while getting on with things? I believe that a personal coach is actually a major addition to the equation, something that is often missing in early stage startup and for entrepreneurs. There can be a big difference in initial impact having a coach vs just reading books or having someone suggest how they would win at it (how do they know better actually?!). Advisors have an agenda and are paid for providing another way of looking at your situation (for the most part), while a high performance coach is going to
    help you find your own right path, be resilient through the process, put up the mirror for you, hold you to your highest potential, energize you and work through your clarity (and why) and productivity, your courage and influence, on heading where you dream to go.

  • Pingback: Four big mistakes business start-ups make |