What should all first time entrepreneurs know before starting their very first business? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
You can't do it alone. The idea is only 1% of success - after that, you need employees, investors, customers, and many others to join you to bring the idea to life. All successful entrepreneurs need to figure out how to inspire and motivate others to help, in the most efficient way possible.
Know what you're good at, and where you need help. This is essential for how you build your team - especially your founding team. If you are an engineer, find business people to work with. If you don't know the industry well, partner with people who do. Catalog your abilities and find others who bring bring complementary skills. This is the basis for healthy teamwork and a good company culture.
Related: Know that you need to share with others transparently in order for them to help you. Sadly, I often see first time entrepreneurs hesitant to share their ideas with investors, candidates, or others... perhaps it's because they think someone will steal the idea or that their pitch or traction won't impress. But if people don't know what you do, then they won't be able to help! Silicon Valley is fundamentally collaborative. Many dozens of people have helped me in my businesses and I have passed on help to many more. It's a great sign if people like you and your idea enough to offer some help. And remember that if your idea is so simple that someone can steal it after an hour together at Blue Bottle, then it probably won't thrive in a competitive market later on!
Even while engaging others, know that no one but you really holds the answers for your company. Consider that in a very short time, you will be the world expert in what you do. You're the one living and breathing the company every day. You're the most in touch with the data. You're in the meaningful conversations. Have conviction about your understanding of the business and market and trust your decisions and judgment. Having worked a bit "on the other side of the table" mentoring other startups, I can say that the combination of confidence, while still knowing when to ask for help, is a quality that goes very far in leading the new venture.
Finally, know why you are starting the company. Are you doing this to change the world? Make money? Just to "start a business"? There isn't one right answer to this - but making sure you know what YOU want will help you be aligned with your potential co-founders, investors, and others, and make the journey a lot more fun and successful.
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