Popular startup advice that is plain wrong

Image Credit: Studio Tdes/Flickr

Image Credit: Studio Tdes/Flickr

The biggest myths:
1) You’re too old to start a company: Life doesn’t end at 30. The most successful startups tend to founders with experience. I loved working on a startup when I was 20, but being 20 is not a requirement for success.

2) You need to be more passionate and work harder. You need passion. You need to work hard. But EVERY startup is working hard and cares about what they do. These are table stakes, but they don’t mean that your effort is providing any value. Focus on finding and helping customers, not on your “effort and passion”.

3) Great startups need outside funding. There’s nothing wrong with angel and venture funding, but funding should be strategic. If you can fund the work yourself and you know what you’re trying to do, just go for it. Fund raising is a big effort and can take a lot of time away from core execution.

4) Never give up. If you have missed a critical market window, can’t gain traction, or can pivot to a better idea, give up. There’s no startup award that goes to the CEO who went the farthest into debt or spent the most outside money. Going into debt or bankruptcy is hard and it sucks. It’s better to live and see another day.

5) Startups don’t need marketing. WhatsApp is the big exception, not the rule. For 99% of the world, you will need to teach other people how to use your product or service. If you have the killer billion-dollar product that requires no marketing, that is fantastic! But for the rest of us, marketing (and sales) are necessary and strategic aspects of our business.

6) Rely on experts and gurus. At the end of the day, you are the biggest expert in your company. Everybody else is giving generalized advice. They do not live and die with your company. Take good advice. Take a lot of advice. Do your homework. But at the end of the day, make your decision based on your best judgment.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What were the most ridiculous startup ideas that eventually became successful? (All bolding was added after)

Answer by Hyoun Park on Quora

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.