Ultimate Advice For Startup Founders

Ft. Warren Buffett, Troy Carter, Reid Hoffman & Ben Horowitz

Keys To A Successful Business Startup (iQ3)


In a world in which the lines between global and local are rapidly blurring, there are sound reasons to envision your global expansion early so as to be in a better position to seize opportunities. Because for most winners, ultimately, it's all about the quality of their strategic moves.

Legendary entrepreneurs, founders and leaders make the best business “moves” and (ethical) decisions. And despite the myths, they are as risk and loss averse as they are highly competitive visionaries and investors.

Except, they are super driven, “ludicrous mode” big thinkers/doers with deep pockets. Or the sales and persuasive acumen to get financial backing on the fly.

This is why Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk insanely outperform even their billionaire counterparts.

Moreover, Warren Buffett beautifully sums up both the challenge and caveat:Enter Harvey Firestone.

His breakthrough idea, enough agita for entrepreneurs too fond of the “lack of capital” crutch:So while Scott Belsky can get you started, Firestone, to my mind, offers the ideal challenge and strategic critical thinking, competitive edge and mindset that leads startups and well-run organizations to suddenly leapfrog the competition and go from 0% market share to strategic preeminence.

That's why in this edition, Steve Stoute confronts Ben Horowitz with the best questions I've ever heard about how great founders navigate complex business, ethical, leadership, management and HR challenges as they build successful companies, making and rebounding from countless mistakes.

The above discussion is further illuminated throughout the article by LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman, Atom Factory's Troy Carter and further below by Ben Horowitz' second appearance.

You're in good company if:

You're starting a business for the first time ever, and failure is not an option

You're already running your own business but failing, and want actionable insights

Or, if, you failed before, or a number of times, are back at it, but — as one of my friends put it — consider yourself and that business as being “in crisis mode.” Aren't we all.

Yet startup founders determined to draw inspiration from successful entrepreneurs stand much better chance at succeeding, if they arm themselves with a broader perspective. Case in point:The financial, regional, geopolitical and human chaos from the UK's Brexit vote has been a good warning to leaders in the habit of executing in the absence of best laid plans.

Sure, you're trying to build, measure and rapidly learn as you validate, search for a business model and hopefully, scale. Yet a good founder, unlike Brexit's scheming politicians never loses sight of the human/HR element. And how they treat their employees.

Get the latter wrong, and the business can't efficiently run itself. No matter who the customer is.

Prior to EU accession, there were those who felt Croatia got lucky. That it was illiterate, in business terms. A sentiment later confirmed by Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Hrvoje Marusic, who said: “We didn't prepare well enough for being economically competitive in the European market.”

Were it a startup, Croatia would have failed merely for not being sufficiently prepared.

Fortunately, Reid Hoffman (below) expatiates on his oft-misunderstood definition of an entrepreneur/founder. Namely, that: “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.

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Many entrepreneurs are more interested in the ideas inside their heads — however poorly researched — than they are in market, business and customer realities and demands.

Yet in the long run, planning and well-timed execution backed by a great product, solid data analyses and merciless real world testing is what counts. And here, billionaire Warren Buffett has excellent advice for entrepreneurs DETERMINED to get it right.

As above, I subscribe to the Warren Buffett school of thought. Which says, “I study failure. My partner says all I want to know is where others died so I don't go there.

Notice too that like Sam Altman (in iQ2), Mr. Buffett links the critical importance of long-term planning and strategizing to entrepreneurial success. And all legendary founders/entrepreneurs I know who overcame enormous hardships as they built their businesses, practiced, and sought to perfect the abovementioned disciplines.

In the case of Troy Carter who famously said: “Six years ago, I didn't know what a venture capitalist was”, his journey, failures, ingenuity and persistence is particularly enthralling. Watch.

When Steve Stoute and Ben Horowitz (above) talk about there ALWAYS being “a right move” whether one knows it or not, Troy Carter's entrepreneurial moves, more than any other I can think of — albeit one can throw in Dr. Dre à la Apple/Beats, or Jay Z à la Apple/Tidal, etc. — is most poignant.

The entrepreneur/founder in name only who isn't willing to grind, shouldn't even entertain the idea of a startup venture. Because the passion you bring is THE competitive edge that will spell success or failure.

Great founders, apart from being great storytellers as seen so far, not only surround themselves yourself with a Growth Mindset, but are adept at HR. Which is to say, they are adept at, and keen on building great teams of competitive, “whatever it takes” mindsets constantly churning great ideas. Big ideas actually turned into profit-making products and services.

For this reason, Plato rightly cautioned: “As there are misanthropists or haters of men, so also are there misologists, or haters of ideas.”

Assemble the wrong team, and you're bound to fail.

Be sure to checkout the Top Reasons Startups Fail. Or revert to Part 2 of the series if you missed it. But not before you hear Ben Horowitz one last time on getting management right.

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Images HyperlinkedBreakthrough Ideas for July 2016




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