This is my first blog post for Startup Insights. If you are an entrepreneur, are working in a startup, or are interested in starting your own company you may find some interesting insights in this blog. My name is Jorden Woods and I have spent most of my career either as an entrepreneur or working with/for startups. As a result of my 15 years of experience in this world (primarily in Silicon Valley), I have picked up some wisdom that I would like to share with you.
This first post will be about the entrepreneurial experience in general. This overview will enable you to benchmark what you are experiencing and see if it is in line with the general path for what it takes to be successful. I would like to make this an interactive blog, so if you would like me to comment or post my thoughts on a specific topic, let me know.
Like you might already know or maybe someone told you, founding a startup, especially a high-tech startup, is one of the most challenging undertakings you can ever enter into. Businesses, successful or otherwise, require a lot of different skills, hard work and dedication. Many of these skills you probably didn’t learn in school, skills like sales or marketing or negotiating a lease for office space, and so there is a lot of learning that takes place in a compressed time period.
You might know that 90% of new businesses fail during their first year. It is even higher for high-tech startups. A high-tech startup, unlike a franchise or small business, often deals with technology, concepts, or products that no one has ever seen or thought about before. As a result, there may be very few people who might understand it right away, have had experience with it, and who will understand what you are trying to do. Entrepreneurs not only go it alone a lot but they also need to do a lot of educating, convincing, and evangelizing.
Startups generally start small, but the ideas are big, so the hours are long (60 hours+ per week) and everyone needs to wear a lot of hats. As a result, titles and hierarchy don’t mean much in the early stage because everyone needs to work in areas outside of their job description. For example the CTO may be part of the sales team and the CEO may code the web site or clean up the office at the end of the day. This may be self-evident to many of you, but it is surprising how many first-time entrepreneurs don’t realize that this is totally standard (in essence, nothing special).
Most people feel that because they are inventing a new product or pioneering a new technology that everything needs to be invented from the ground up. You might remember the ‘new economy’ during the dot-com boom. The interesting thing, even though it may not be evident immediately, is that there is actually a methodology to running a startup successfully. Though it may seem boring at first, it can actually be quite comforting to know that you can apply a framework or a methodology to your business that will improve your chances of being successful.
In my immediate follow-on posts I will comment on this framework and things you can do to give yourself an ‘unfair’ advantage in the race to achieving your dreams.
Have a good day and I’m looking forward to sharing some more thoughts again soon.