This is a good list. I particularly like “temper theory with reality”, which advocates working in the industry that you plan on entering with your startup before you take the plunge. Zwilling says:
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There is no substitute for domain experience. No matter how well-educated you are, and how certain you are that you understand all the nuances of a business area, it is a good idea to work in a similar business for a few months to get a feel for the market and observe the unwritten rules before taking the plunge. This is especially true for students tackling their first venture.
Or just first time entrepreneurs in general. With TenthRow, I got into two things that I didn’t understand as well as I thought I did:
- Working in the music industry in general – working with bands, labels, and publishers (I was actually least prepared to work with bands, who tend to be less much less Type A than I am).
- Producing concert videos – there are a million things that can go wrong that are beyond your control (the band has a bad night, the crowd isn’t great, technical problems with the band’s instruments or the venue’s PA system, problems with your own recording gear, etc.).
Had I worked in the music industry and/or produced concert videos before starting TenthRow, I would have much better understood these things and adjusted the business model accordingly. The other approach, which probably would have been better in my case, would have been to bring on a concert video producer as a co-founder very early in the process. If you haven’t worked in the industry yourself, make sure that someone on the founding team has.
Anyway, I also really liked “find and use top-notch advisors” (this is one thing I did pretty well) and “manage your time” (this is one thing I didn’t – I was doing way too much…should have delegated more).
The whole list is definitely worth checking out.