Last week, StartupSmart asked six successful Australian entrepreneurs and startup community leaders for the best piece of business advice they’ve received.
The response to that article was so overwhelming that we’ve decided to ask six more entrepreneurs for their best business tip:
Niki Scevak, Blackbird Ventures
I think the best piece of advice I received was around how to receive advice itself. Make sure you understand who is giving the advice and why they might be giving it to you. Much like in poker, play the player not the cards. Understanding the context always gives the advice much more richness and usefulness.
Also, when someone, even if they’re rich or smart, gives you advice, unless it ‘chemically reacts’ with you, don’t feel bad about throwing it away and not using it. You’ll only be successful by being the best version of yourself.
And as always, test the advice with customers for the final verdict of whether it’s good or not.
Pete Cooper, SydStart
Two important ones for me:
Keep asking yourself what is the most leveraged activity you can undertake. I got this from Ash Fontana (Angel List, originally from Sydney) when he spoke at SydStart last year.
Don’t pour money in (or quit your day job) until you look like getting product-market fit (i.e. until customer interviews or pre-orders show you have something people want to address a real problem).
Laura Mariakinaite, Startup Grind Australia
Have you got a business idea? Talk it out. And I mean it, open your mouth and let other people know. Pitching to yourself in your mind DOESN’T COUNT.
Chances are you won’t be able to verbalise your idea properly the very first time you talk about it.
And if the first person you mention it to is a potential investor, co-founder, channel partner or a customer, your one minute elevator pitch might become a mess full of “hmm”, “you know”, “maybe”, “I just want to”.
That’s dismissive. If you want anyone to join your journey, let your assertive skills shine.
Moreover, every single time you talk to someone about your idea, you may receive some invaluable feedback and questions that will help you shape your pitch further! That’s a bonus.
I have pitched different things in the last year, from Startup Grind sponsorship, to “Hey, if you like windsurfing, check out this new Vic Wind app”, to approaching media to gain interest in Zen Thermostat that’s being successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo at the moment.
Now I’m working with retailers to help them reach out to local office workers using Equiem portals designed for commercial buildings. Is it challenging? Yes, it is. But with time you become more familiar with what works and what doesn’t.
Finally, I was once told that if you are from overseas and have an accent, find someone local to do sales and pitching for you. That’s a myth. But that’s another story. Trust yourself and let the world know about your idea.
Paris Buttfield-Addison, Secret Lab
I think the best piece of business advice I’ve heard is to learn about tax, accounting, and budgeting for your company early on.
Don’t leave it to the last minute, when things could go wrong – understand how money works in a business from the get-go, and plan your products and business from there – if you don’t at least attempt to understand this sort of stuff from the beginning, you’ll run into big problems down the track.
David Mah, Blue Sky Shopping
The best advice I’ve ever received was “focus, focus, focus”. Sounded simple when I first heard it but now I understand the critical importance of focusing relentlessly on a smaller set of high priority tasks and doing them really, really well.
As an entrepreneur with a million things to worry about, it’s easy to get side-tracked and distracted by ‘new and shiny objects’. Learning to focus and say no to distractions has transformed the way I run my startup.
Steve Orenstein, Zoom2u
My best piece of advice is to just get out there and do it. It’s easy to waste a lot of time planning and talking about an idea. In just a few months, I’ve gone from having an idea to developing the unique technology to make it happen. If you have an idea, get out there and do it.
Image credit: Flickr/laughlin