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Sep 02, 2021 11:50 AM EDT

10 'Founders' Tell Us: The Best Advice For Startups

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10 'Founders' Tell Us: The Best Advice For Startups

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As a student or graduate, it is difficult to know where to start when considering starting a business. "Does University really prepare students for the 'real world', or the 'world of work'?", is the cliched question. 

Even after a cursory investigation, it is obvious that University does not and cannot truly prepare the graduate for either 'worlds', for it is neither. A University is a seat of learning, whereas the real world is a complex nexus of, yes learning but also, wisdom, experience, opportunity, psychology, and personal relationships. 

The step from student to professional can be challenging in any area of economic activity, but none more so than in Entrepreneurialism and Business Startup. To help, we have collated the top 10 pieces of advice from company founders and business leaders, to support graduates' transition from student to entrepreneur and business startup guru. 

1. Be honest

"Be honest with everyone, always. If you say you're going to call the next day, call the next day. If you tell someone "let's have lunch," reach out to them to schedule it. You will earn people's trust this way and build up your own confidence in your word as well!"

2. People do business with people, not companies. 

"The first initial start-up capital for Amazon.com came primarily from my parents, and they invested a large fraction of their life savings in what became Amazon.com. And you know, that was a very bold and trusting thing for them to do because they didn't know. My dad's first question was, "What's the Internet?" Okay. So he wasn't making a bet on this company or this concept. He was making a bet on his son, as was my mother."

  • Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

3. Don't be afraid of mistakes, learn from them

In business, no matter how hard you try to avoid them, mistakes do happen. You've just got to make sure you learn from them! 

4. Set achievable goals

"We may not have the power to create the world we want immediately, but we can all start working on the long term today."

  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook (who famously set personal goals annually from 2009-2020)

5. Be adaptable

"It's our job as founders and developers to constantly change our companies based on technology available today that helps build our business for a better tomorrow."

6. Embrace competition, and don't presume success

"Embrace competition, we've got some fantastic competitors in the FX markets and it keeps us on our toes.", "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose. I would rather be kept on my toes"

  • Matt Wright, Founder of YLDFX

7. Work to opportunities, not for the sake of work

"You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing."

8. Believe in what you are doing, and keep going with it

"In times of despair, you may believe the cynic who tells you that one person cannot make a difference. And there are times when it may be hard to see your own impact. I beg you to remember that it is not possible at this time or any time to know the end results of our efforts,"

9. Surround yourself with good people, lead by example and never take no for an answer.

Surround yourself with positive people who can build up your business. It's important to lead by example and others will follow, and finally, never accept a no when you are starting out.

  • Duncan Kreeger, Founder of TAB

10. Build a business based on relationships and opportunities

"Build a business thats core is focused on relationships and opportunities that deliver results both your clients and for your brand partners. When you devote your full attention to your clients' projects all whilst supporting and nurturing your team, your business will look after itself in the long term."

Andrew Selby, Co-Founder of 84 World

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