Bri Manning

Startup Advice

December 2, 2014

A friend recently asked for my advice on startups. I’m not sure I’m the best qualified to give advice and there’s already a plethora of information available, but I wanted to give it a shot. And given I’m in a NyQuil stupor and feeling a bit contemplative and lofty, some of this is in the clouds.

There’s always going to be too much to do. And there’s never going to be enough time. Pick the things that provide the most value to you and your fledgling company. That’s the hard part.

No one is right and no one has any real clue what they’re doing. It’s obvious why it worked or failed after the fact, but no one knows what’s working during the process. To pretend otherwise is fooling yourself. Use that to your advantage and move forward through your mistakes.

Be a business from day one. That’s what separates startups that become companies and startups that become LinkedIn bullet points.

Solve a problem you know about or have. Solving a problem for someone else means you’ll never fully understand that problem. Embrace and understand that problem from many angles.

Work on something you can’t pull yourself away from. Having a good work ethic only goes so far. Being driven by success only goes so far. Passion isn’t the right word because it’s too close to being irrational. You should work something that’s stuck in your head to the point of distraction.

Start. Work. Go. Do. Take action. Make steps and progress every day in one way or another. Thinking, planning, and dreaming should happen but they’re secondary to doing.

Leave the world a better place than you found it. Businesses and the principles behind them are only truly good when they’re doing something good. They’re powerful tools for change and while you don’t have to be fully altruistic, make sure you’re creating, not destroying.

Believe. Even when you shouldn’t. Especially then. Believe not that your business will be successful or that you’ll be successful. Believe that you’re forging ahead in that direction regardless of if you make it there.

That got crunchy. I blame the NyQuil, tiredness, and optimism. Especially optimism.