Startup Best Practices from 15 Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs

March 9, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

w_efac02c8An entrepreneurs’ life is filled with risks and challenges. Our goal is to know as much as we can in order to make better decisions and reduce our risks. This is why I love reading “How I did it” types of books of successful individuals. These books give you a peak of what they faced and the actions they made to achieve success. I love the opportunity to benefit from other people’s experiences and the lessons they have learned from being an entrepreneur.

Recently, I came across the free eBook “Startup Best Practices: Conversations with Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” by Cees J. Quirijns. The eBook is an interview of 15 Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the most important business lessons they have learned. The author chose Silicon Valley because “it has produced an unparalleled number of entrepreneurial success stories as well as entrepreneurial failures. If there is one place in the world where startup do’s and don’ts are concentrated, it is California USA.”

The eBook is full of insights on how to start a business, from looking for funding, dealing with investors, hiring the first employees, getting their products to market, being open to feedback among others. I really enjoyed these entrepreneurs’ candor and openness about their experiences in starting a business, particularly coming from the perspective “What could I have done better? What did I learn? What will I do differently?”

Here are some of the tips and advice of the entrepreneurs featured in his eBook:

On Your Purpose

The most relevant advice I can give to entrepreneurs is to ask yourself why you are doing it. Is your purpose clear and does it make sense? You’ll be surprised how often this is not clear. If the answer is because you want to make a lot of money, then you’ll likely be disappointed because that has a low probability.

– Peter Laanen, Founder of Laanen – The Brand

On Creating Your Product

First and foremost, it’s to solve a problem and making certain that your product is the most appealing solution. That doesn’t mean it has to be the best technology or have all the greatest features, but for a product to win, it has to be the most appealing.

– Chris Boone, CEO of Coveroo, Inc. and founder of Cimbal Inc.

On Hiring Your First Team

“Re the first people you hire if you’re the founder and you’re thinking about founding a company, be extremely careful. The tendency is you want to get some energy and momentum around your company. The temptation might be to pull in people that you know, but those may not be the best people.

– Eileen Gittins, Founder,

On Choosing Your Board

“The first one, which is not always possible for the entry level entrepreneur, is choose your board very carefully; I inherited a board and investors in a company before Blurb. As a first time CEO, I realized I had different values than they did; their goals for an early exit, for a different kind of exit, were different than I had.”

– Eileen Gittins, Founder,

On Funding:

“We preach that if you can fund your company yourself, do so. Not just bootstrapping it out of your pocket, but actually finding a product that makes money in the market soon as well. The most successful companies in the long run are those who can get products to market that make money quickly.”

– Idarose Sylvester and Jan Grotenberg, Founders of Silicon Valley Link

On Selling Your Product

You learn that you have to knock on doors until you drop dead before you sell your first product. It’s difficult to sell your product as a small company, especially if you are in competition with the likes of IBM as we were. That requires creativity and a lot of perseverance.

– Peter Laanen, Founder of Laanen – The Brand

As small business entrepreneurs, we need to learn as much as we can from how other entrepreneurs did it. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel – we just need to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes as they did.

Download this free eBook “Startup Best Practices: Conversations with Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” now.

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  1. tina lloyd says:

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