By Yashika Sharma. 30 September 2020
10 Startup Founders Tell Us: The Best Advice I've ever received

When you're thinking about starting a business, or first in an entrepreneurial trench, every nugget of advice you can get from someone who's been there before is like gold. But as time goes by, you will realize that some of these tips are better and more important to your business than others. So, to get you started on the right foot, no matter where you're on your start-up journey, we asked 10 founders to weigh in on the very best advice they got when they founded their businesses.

1. Get Comfortable With the Unknown

You're never going to know enough. You will still be pressured to make a decision without completely knowing what's going on. As a creator, that's just something you need to be comfortable with.

2. it’s not just About You

The best advice is not to give you too much credit when times are good and blame too much when times are bad. When you know that chance plays a necessary role in performance, it makes you both humbler and more optimistic at the same time.  

3. Show, Don’t Tell

'Show, don't say' is a dynamic axiom, but it's a strong one. For a startup, being proof of the value proposition is big. Instead, talking about what your organization does and has done sets the tone for your vision in a way that is honest, and far less high-faulting. Always be a value maker, so that you can illustrate current and translatable evidence of what you can actually do towards what you strive to become.  

4. Know When to Let Go

As a founder  or everyone who feels proud and near to the product he or she creates  you're struggling to get the right perspective on your company. It's quick to get too close, and it can be distracting. Here's the good and the bad news: nobody is looking at your job as closely as you are. So, note that when you're on hour four, you're asking about the shade of navy blue that fits best with your logo. Yes, specifics are important. But at a certain stage, you've got to let go and move on to the next thing.  

5. Know the Startup Hierarchy

Think of the startup culture as a high school: you have a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, a senior, and then a teacher and a team. When you first join the group, whether you're a founder or an employee, you're a freshman. Build relationships with mentors and more senior, seasoned individuals, but also develop relationships with people just one or two steps ahead of you. Ask them the 'stupid' questions and the stuff that seems stupid or small; soon enough, you'll be the sophomore or junior, and you'll be dragging the newbies up the ladder with you.  

6. Find the Balance

Give it to the group before you get it. Do deep research on your ideas, but trust your intuition. Actively seek guidance, but know the advice is always contradictory, so you need your own conviction. With the commodity, think expansively, and then transform it back to basics. Be proud of what you are creating, though there will never be perfect. Be mindful of competition, but don't think about competition. Be frank with your staff, but still kind, empathetic, and self-conscious. Understand that the world does not need your idea, so know when to move on. Luck and endurance are just as critical as ideas and talent. Don't trust your own press, either good or poor. Don't take yourself too seriously, even though you are trying to change the world. Never lose sight of the important things: love, friends, family.  

7. Do Anything and Everything

The best advice I've ever got was from Stacy Blackman, who runs a popular MBA consulting firm: 'Definitely do anything and all. No coffee or meeting, no speaking engagement, was too tiny when I began. A lot of people were wondering what gave the most leads. I've had hundreds of alliances and marketing campaigns, but our success has been accomplished. I had collaborations that I figured would be the one big thing.  

8. Don’t Worry About the Noise

Ignore the speculation you see in the news for another startup. Usually, it's a pack of lies, and all of them will be dead in a year. Focus on building your company to make you the one left standing.  

9. It's Your Company—You Decide

We've been blessed to have a lot of amazing mentors on our road to building Ever True. But these mentors also offer contradictory advice. 'Go for the big accounts! 'Go after the tiny accounts! 'Go B2B! 'Mentors have a point of view based on their professional experience and a narrow perspective on our industry and customer base,  I realize that while input from mentors is incredibly important, we ultimately need to make crucial decisions ourselves.  

10. Don’t Seek Risk

The best entrepreneurs are not looking for risk. They are trying to minimize the risk.