13 Startup Lessons Every New Founder Must Learn

Founding your first startup is no walk in the park. If it was, everyone would do it. There will be long nights of building your MVP and many times you’ll want to rip your hair out. But there will also be incredibly rewarding moments, and, chances are, you won’t regret taking the journey. If the thought of building your own business sparks a fire within you, it’s worth the hard work that goes into it.

Lessons Learnt

Are you ready to get started on your startup? Here are 13 startup lessons that every new founder must learn.

1. Failure is part of the equation.

The reality is that no one has ever succeeded without experiencing a touch of failure here and there. In fact, did you know that Walt Disney failed before creating Disney World? Thomas Edison tried to invent the lightbulb 10,000 times before finding success. Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, the list goes on. Don’t be afraid of a little failure - it happens to the best of us.

2. The leading cause for startup failure is a lack of market need.

This is a great lesson to learn early on. When approaching a new startup, your number one priority even before you think about building your MVP is business case validation. By dedicating some time to learning about your audience and the market you will be entering with your startup, you will increase your chances of success exponentially.

3. A majority of startups are bootstrapped.

Achieving funding at an early stage is almost unheard of in the startup world. If this thought makes you a bit uneasy, there is a solution: no-code. The no-code revolution is here and barriers to entry have been lowered. You can easily learn no-code and build your MVP with no-code technology in a matter of weeks at a very low cost compared to traditional methods. 

4. Your team is your best asset.

What’s that old saying? Right - two heads are better than one. Yes, your Big Idea is pretty important too, but if you don’t surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have complementary skills, your Big Idea may never see the light of day. Build a team that can collaborate and motivate one another on a daily basis. Investors will take notice of your camaraderie and want to be included.

5. You don’t need a team to begin.

Okay, okay, this goes against the last point. Well, sort of. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a group of mates or acquaintances you can build a team around as soon as you’re struck with your Big Idea, that’s okay. You don’t need to have your team established to begin. Feel free to validate your business idea, build your MVP, and conduct some preliminary user testing on your own. Just don’t give up on searching for your perfect teammates while you do this.

6. Work smarter, not harder.

In a perfect world, working hard would lead to success, but this world is far from perfect. Take every single opportunity you can to learn. Learn about your intended users, the market you will be launching into, your competitors, then apply what you’ve learnt. If you feel like you’re still hitting a dead end, consider a pivot. It doesn’t have to be major, but perhaps just the smallest change of perspective will do the trick.

7. No need to wait; you can start right now.

It is far too easy to fall into the routine of “I’ll start next week.” The problem with this is that “next week” quickly turns into next month, then next year. If you have a Big Idea, you can begin. Better yet, consider utilising no-code in the early stages to make your life just a bit easier. A No-Code Bootcamp will teach you how to use no-code, help you build your MVP and test it among real users, and even help you get funding for your startup, all within a few weeks.

8. Focus on one startup at a time.

Once you have your first Big Idea, the entrepreneurial floodgates are sure to open. Don’t stretch yourself thin, no matter how tempting it might be. Your second and third Big Ideas will still be waiting on the other side of your first, and you’ll have a much higher chance of success by focusing all of your energy into this one. As an added bonus, you’ll likely learn a great deal while building your first MVP and will then be able to apply your new knowledge to your next Big Idea.

9. Don’t take a mentor for granted.

If you are lucky enough to have a mentor throughout your founder’s journey, hold onto them tightly. A mentor is one of the greatest tools you can have throughout this time as he or she will be able to provide invaluable advice and see your startup from another perspective. In turn, your shot at success will become much greater.

10. Control what you can.

There are many components to the startup world that will be out of your control, such as what your competitors are doing and an unexpected economic crisis. However, there are many things you can control. This list includes the amount of energy you devote to your startup, who you bring onto your team, and who your target audience is. Focus on these internal decisions rather than worrying about external factors.

11. Be aware of your own biases.

This is a big one. You’re going to think your idea is absolutely brilliant, and behavioural bias is likely to lead you to data that supports your feelings. While you might be correct, take the opportunity to step back and analyse your situation with fresh eyes from time to time. What seems to be working might just be an optical illusion.

12. Receiving funding does not guarantee your success.

Funding is brilliant for many reasons and likely means your Big Idea has market potential. However, that funding does not make your startup invincible. You now have someone relying on you and hold much larger responsibilities than you did when all you had was an MVP app. Keep your ego in check and continue pushing forward.

13. Engage in your founder’s journey for one main reason: because you truly want to.

If there’s a will, there’s a way, and vice versa. The path to success is a difficult one, and only the motivated will reach it. You will likely fail a time or two and even reach a new level of disappointment. However, if you really want to build your startup and are willing to do everything possible to get there, you’re already on your way to success.

Apply These Lessons and Learn Your Own

No one has ever said that building a startup is easy. You must be determined to be successful, you must be motivated to solve the problem you identified, and even still, you might meet failure. These 13 lessons are just scratching the surface; embark on your founder’s journey to dive into the rest firsthand.