50 Things Every Startup Should Know

With so much noise out there relative to what’s important in startups, here are 50 things every startup should know, in no particular order.

  1. Just do it
  2. 99% of decisions aren’t permanent
  3. Be slow to hire and quick to fire
  4. Measure what you manage
  5. Competition isn’t as important as the customer
  6. 95% of startups shouldn’t raise money
  7. Join a startup peer group
  8. The biggest challenge with growth is keeping everyone aligned
  9. Price differentiation doesn’t last long but customer service does
  10. Market timing is the most important factor for homeruns
  11. Empower customers to help sell new customers
  12. Create the best environment you can for your team
  13. Asking good questions is more important than guessing the answer
  14. Build relationships before you need them
  15. Always consider the best alternative outcome before beginning a negotiation
  16. Consciously balance time working in the business vs working on the business
  17. You only get one first impression
  18. What you start out doing isn’t likely where you’ll find success
  19. Get the corporate culture right and everything will fall into place
  20. The best exit strategy is to not need one
  21. The biggest enemy of websites is the browser Back button
  22. Recurring revenue is the best form of revenue
  23. Don’t burn any bridges as it is a small world
  24. Build a niche brand and curate all aspects of it
  25. Pivoting and iterating is healthy in a startup
  26. Always ask for a discount
  27. Your idea isn’t unique
  28. Sharing your idea with others will lead to benefits you can’t predict
  29. Keep it as simple as possible
  30. People identify with companies more so than products
  31. It’s worth paying a professional (lawyer, accountant, etc) to do it right the first time
  32. Set goals and adapt to changing information
  33. Storytelling is more powerful than marketing
  34. Most startups initially price their product/service too low
  35. Make time to think
  36. Focus on rhythm, data, and priorities
  37. Develop offline analogies to describe your startup
  38. Companies aren’t just about profits
  39. Celebrate the small victories
  40. Play to your strengths
  41. Be opinionated about your product when considering customer suggestions
  42. Know why you’re different and clearly articulate it
  43. Don’t develop products in a vacuum
  44. Regularly communicate with employees, customers, investors, and the community
  45. Remove friction for all stakeholders
  46. Absent information people make up reasons
  47. It is difficult to concentrate on more than three things at any one time
  48. Employees are the most important stakeholder
  49. No plan is perfect
  50. Consume the startup but don’t let it consume you

What else? What other items would you add to the list?

26 thoughts on “50 Things Every Startup Should Know

  1. Love the post. Item 34 about pricing too low is something I’ve experienced a couple of times now… have to remember to be greedier! (meaning, believing more in the value of my own services).

  2. “constantly redefine your product” — with every piece of information that you learn from customers, employees, investors, etc, sometimes your thoughts are out of sync with what you are building — it helps to redefine the vision and the ‘archetype’ customer so you can stay focused and consistent.

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