I had originally posted this in another blog of mine earlier. The learnings are so relevant that I couldn't resist cross posting.
I am at the Tiecon 2007 conference, attending the "Entrepreneur's path to success" panel. Panelists are all tremendously accomplished people with a wealth of experience between them. Some gems from the panel:
- Successful companies are born of great people. (Sumant Mandal, MD, Clearstone Venture Partners)
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you (Talat Hasan, ICC, ex-CEO Sensys)
- A successful entrepreneur must have passion, an ability to take risks, and be realistic about it (Jai Rawat)
- Let the idea take over your life,
- Dispassionately look at the results you're achieving,
- The average entrepreneur succeeds after 2.2 ideas (Dean Drako, Co-founder and CEO Barracuda Networks)
- The business, People, Culture, Focus and Execution, iterate on the above.
- Ability to identify a big enough market, have a relentless need to make it happen defines a successful entrepreneur (T.M. Ravi, Mimosa Systems)
- Identify your own skills and assemble a team that balances your skills.
- An entrepreneur is constantly selling - whether to VCs, customers, employees, or partners
- Talat Hasan on work-life balance: Identify the top 3 things that are most important to you, and drop everything else. Focus on priorities and make sure it's covered.
Mistakes the panelists made with their start-ups:
- Obsessing over competition and as a result, making the same mistakes as the competitors
- Not making a plan and holding yourself accountable to it
- Being too cautious and afraid of failure
- Failure to maintain documentation and poor record keeping
One "Do" and one "Don't" for entrepreneurs who just started their business:
- Do follow your instincts
- Don't assemble the wrong teanm
- Do focus, believe in your vision and put everything behind it
- Don't give yourself an alternative strategy or a back-up plan
- Do find a customer before building a product
- Don't be a solution looking for a problem
- Develop the right culture within the company
- Don't spend all your time trying to raise capital
- Do monitor progress
- Don't be afraid of failure
- Once again, do focus, and validate that focus!
- Don't ever losing your integrity.