Friday, November 1, 2013

unCon 2013 Session: Startup Mistakes to Avoid unConference Blog - Caitlin Cheng

In this session, attendees engaged in a lively discussion about a few startup mistakes that every entrepreneur should avoid. The conversation flowed fluidly, incorporating key advice from experienced entrepreneurs, quick tidbits learned from past failures, and even intriguing questions asked by aspiring entrepreneurs- all of which were sparked by Jeff Solomon’s first and foremost advice: Figure out what you’re doing.

All in all, the session was very much focused on the participants’ interests and questions regarding the do’s and don’ts of basic start-ups, really tackling our curiosity and pinpointing what exactly to avoid. Some key takeaways from the conversation were:

There is no “right” model. When starting your company and dealing with the company’s finances, your decision really depends on what your company requires and what best fits the structure of your company. This may entail that your startup would best fit a C corporation, as opposed to LLC or S corporation; or that you choose whether or not to hold shared equity among your employees.

Know your employees. The hiring process should not be regarded any less significant than any other processes that you must undergo. Even as early-stage startups, it is crucial to hire reliable people, whether they were closely referenced, or found through contract-based sites such as Elance or LinkedIn. Your employees represent and maintain your company so you want to develop that personal relationship early on.

Firing. Make it as quick as possible.

“Dream big, execute small.” As vital as it is for the CEO to always “think big”, equally as important is the team’s stability. Keep small but clear milestones along the way to keep your team focused. It’s all about working effectively to achieve the ultimate goal. Remember, failures only exist as a result of bad execution.

Find a mentor. You don’t get second chances with venture capitalists. 

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