Been thinking a lot about the future start-up which I want to build in a few years time. Have distilled many ideas, thoughts and experience of failure into a set of guiding principles for my own consumption.
1. The business must have a direct transaction model, i.e. the consumer pays direct to the company for a purchase of the product.
2. If you control your distribution, you control your brand. Try as hard as possible, not to partner anyone from the very big to the very small unless it gives you a 10x in revenue growth.
3. Stay private as long as possible, i.e. try not to take investors’ money and focus on building revenue streams. Pay dividends to investors. Inspiration: SurveyMonkey, IKEA, Koch Industries
4. We focus on quality and product. I want to build a product that people will spread by word of mouth than to waste time to build a product to attract the wrong audience.
5. Scale means starting to make your first 10 customers happy, then your next 100 customers happy, then your next 1K customers happy until all the way you make 1M customers happy. Focus on customers who you can deliver value to them and they mean something to you.
6. Hire really slowly and build a great culture. Yes, you should hire but the right person with the right culture. Do not listen to anyone who says otherwise.
7. Balance life with work and make sure that it follows from me to everyone in that company.
I will iterate these guiding principles from time to time. As of this day, I am not ready yet for that startup I want to build.
Photo: istockphoto credits © Chris Lamphear