All startup lessons

When a team takes ownership of its problems, the problem gets solved. It is true on the battlefield, it is true in business, and it is true in life ~ Jocko Willink

An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage ~ Jack Welch

Networking has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business. Who you know really impacts what you know ~ Sallie Krawcheck

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else ~ Sam Walton

Business is all about the customer: what the customer wants and what they get. Generally, every customer wants a product or service that solves their problem, worth their money, and is delivered with amazing customer service ~ Fabrizio Moreira

“The strategy is to first know what you don’t know, the tactic is to grind, and the value is to remember: there are plenty of places to innovate.” –David Friedberg, founder of Weatherbill

“The product that wins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap.” –Aaron Levie, co-founder of Box

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect ~ W. Clement Stone

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude ~ Zig Ziglar

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless ~ Thomas A. Edison

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure ~ Colin Powell

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best ~ Theodore Isaac Rubin

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing - Thomas A. Edison

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison - Attempted 9999 experiments before inventing bulb

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” – Paul Hawken.

” A leader is the one who can outline the broad vision and the direction, and say here’s where we are going to go, here’s why we need to go there, and here’s how we are going to get there. A manager is the one who actually gets up under the hood and tunes the carburetor.” – Mike Huckabee

“Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you need to cut your losses and move on.” – Howard Schultz

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” –Henry Ford

“Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goeth

If you create incredible value and information for others that can change their lives - and you always stay focused on that service - the financial success will follow - Brendon Burchard

“It’s not about trying to crank everything you can into the article. It’s about delivering value and persuading people that you can solve their problem in as few words as possible.” -Tim Soulo, Head of Marketing and Product Strategy at AHREFs

“In order to engage on social, in order to attract customers, regardless of what kind of customer you have, you have to build trust.” -Lindsay Scarpello, Strategic Communications Director at OBI Creative

“When you are first getting started on social media, you really need to do your research… don’t just choose a channel because Facebook owns the world or because everyone’s doing Twitter.” -Celeste Mora, Social Media Manager at Grammarly

“Where we always start is: What’s the user’s itch? What’s their pain point that occurs frequently enough to build a habit around?” -Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

We can’t do a lot of motivating with copy, but you can take someone’s motivation and turn it into something - Joanna Wiebe, Creator of Copyhackers and Co-Founder of Airstory

If you love what you’re doing… that will make it so much easier to actually sit down and create content, inspire, entertain, and educate. That’s what’s really important - Jeff Bullas

“We not only need to understand the demographics of our customers, but we need to make sure that we create content for each of these different stages of the buyer’s journey.” -Kyle Gray, Founder of Conversion Cake

“If you just help your customers, or help your buyers buy, and answer the questions that they have in that journey, then you can really succeed.” -Michael Brenner

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” -David Ogilvy

“It’s hard to target a message to a generic 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two. It’s much easier to target a message to Jennifer, who has two children under four, works as a paralegal, and is always looking for quick but healthy dinners and ways to spend more time with her kids and less time on housework.”

“Branded content is created for a company. A content brand is created for a valuable company.” – Drew Davis

“The best way to engage honestly with the marketplace via Twitter is to never use the words ‘engage,’ ‘honestly’ or ‘marketplace.’” – Jeffrey Zeldman

“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” – Sara Blakely, SPANX founder

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” -Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

“Before dreaming about the future or making plans, you need to articulate what you already have going for you – as entrepreneurs do.” -Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

“All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” -Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.“ - Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

“If there’s something you want to build, but the tech isn’t there yet, just find the closest possible way to make it happen.” - Dennis Crowley, Foursquare co-founder

“The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” - Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA founder

“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” - Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine founder

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” - Ryan Freitas, co-founder

“To Build A Long-Term, Successful Enterprise, When You Don’t Close A Sale, Open A Relationship.” – Patricia Fripp

“The Difference Between A Successful Person And Others Is Not A Lack Of Strength, Not A Lack Of Knowledge, But Rather A Lack Of Will.” – Vince Lombardi

“You Don’t Need A Big Close As Many Sales Reps Believe. You Risk Losing Your Customer When You Save All The Good Stuff For The End. Keep The Customer Actively Involved Throughout Your Presentation, And Watch Your Results Improve.” – Harvey Mackay

“Approach Each Customer With The Idea Of Helping Him Or Her To Solve A Problem Or Achieve A Goal, Not Of Selling A Product Or Service.” – Brian Tracy

"Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business." – Zig Ziglar

“If your sales have tanked, maybe the issue is not your lack of sales skills, but you are rushing the knowing and trusting aspect of the buying process.” – Leanne Hoagland-Smith

“Customers don't care at all whether you close the deal or not. They care about improving their business. It’s easy to forget this in the heat of a sales cycle.” – Aaron Ross

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” –Carlos Castenada

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” –Chinese Proverb

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all what the world needs most are dreamers that do.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” – Simon Sinek

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” –Tom Freston

Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy. Profit from folly rather than participate in it. – Warren Buffett

Everyone has the power to follow the stock market. If you made it through fifth grade math, you can do it. – Peter Lynch

The markets generally are unpredictable, so that one has to have different scenarios. The idea that you can actually predict what’s going to happen contradicts my way of looking at the market. – George Soros

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well ~ Jeff Bezos

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency ~ Bill Gates

The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows ~ Aristotle Onassis

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” - Socrates

"Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once." --Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox

"What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed."--Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's

Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started."--Lindsay Manseau

We all have ideas, but translating those ideas into something tangible -a product or a service- is what separates doers from thinkers. Facebook was not the first social network, the iPhone was not the first smartphone, Google was not the first search engine and Stripe was not the first payments processor in the world.

Details make the difference. But getting infatuated with details too early leads to disagreement. Nail the basic first and worry about the specifics later.

If you offer a quality user experience with a high value proposition and low friction, you can grow your app or website

People and situation changes. You can't be everything to everyone. Companies need to be true to a type of customer more than a specific individual customer with changing needs.

Smart companies make something that's at - home good. When you get the product home, you're actually more impressed with it than you were at the store, and you tell your friends, too.

If you choose a niche market and focus so tightly that your product become the best in class, members of that niche will have no choice but to use your product

Sales success comes from fulfilling existing needs not creating new ones ~ 100 absolute laws of business success

The law of service: Your reward in life will be direct proportion to the value of your service to others.

To succeed in a competitive marketplace, a product or service must be specialised to perform a specific function and be excellent at satisfying a clearly defined need of the customer.

If you wish to increase the quantity of your reward, you must first increase the quality and quantity and quality of your service.

No product is perfect, no idea fully formed. You will make assumptions, and you should trust your instincts, but the only real way to prove your product is by testing it on real customers. So, don't be afraid if the first cut of your product isn't perfection. It will invariably change over time." – Adam Friedman

Everybody says they are trying to get their piece of the pie. They don't realize that the world is a kitchen. You can make your own pie ~ Terry Crews

Ability to prioritize, the product manager needs to map the product strategy down to the individual features, and prioritize them in the right order across product development stages so as to maximize the winnings.

Growth hackers think not only about gaining new customers, but also how to increase lifetime value of a user and where is the 'aha' moment of the product.

“Every day that we spent not improving our products was a wasted day.” - Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange CEO

“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.” – Jay Baer

“Build out your company story and team pages. These days, consumers want to connect and support not just a product, but the company and mission behind it.” – Joanna Lord BigDoor

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin

“Your top of the funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.”- Joe Chernov, Hubspot

“The best way to build a brand is to pay attention to customer needs, create better experiences, and then let the customer say how great those experiences are.” – Brian Clark, Copyblogger

It's better to make few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy ~ Paul Graham

Startup don't win by attacking. They win by transcending. There are exceptions of course, but usually the way to win is to race ahead, not to stop and fight ~ Paul Graham

What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts. - Ray Eames

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Good design means never having to say "CLICK HERE" - Shawn Leslie

"Don't find customers for your product. Find products for your customers" - Seth Godin

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell - Seth Godin

The customer's perception is your reality - Kate Zabriskie

“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” - Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” - Anthony Volodkin

“If you can recognize competition as a destructive force instead of a sign of value, you’re already more sane than most” - Zero To One

People don't buy bigger Jackhammer, they buy deeper holes - Think about it.

If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place - Seth Godin

If you believe it will work out. You will see opportunities. If you won't believe it won't you will see obstacles

The #1 energy source for entrepreneur is their passion for the business. It's why 2 guys in a garage can compete against fortune 500 company with unlimited resources - Dan Martell

Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.

If your content isn't driving conversion, you are doing it wrong - Dane Roth

If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value

In order to market your product or services always follow this principle Marketing has always been about the same thing—who your customers are, and where they are?

“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

You will make money on this problem if you find a perfect solution and sell it to the right people. If the idea behind your business is not bringing any value to people, it won’t last long. Entrepreneurship means to live a life of daily motivation.

If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” –Howard Schultz

The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” –Chris Brogan

“Successful companies in social media function more like entertainment companies, publishers, or party planners than as traditional advertisers.” - Erik Qualman

“Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them and they may come and stay.” – Seth Godin

User habits are a competitive advantage. Products that change customer routines are less susceptible to attacks from other companies. A classic paper by John Gourville, a professor of marketing at Harvard claims that for new market entrants to stand a chance, they can’t just be better, they must be nine tomes better.

Users who continuously find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it. Frequent usage creates more opportunities to encourage people to invite their friends, broadcast content and share through word-of-mouth. Hooked users become brand evangelists, bringing in new users at little or no cost.

“Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included.” “…people who observe someone being rewarded for a particular behavior are more likely to alter their own beliefs and subsequent actions.”

How you treat your customers is vital to your future success. You have to really listen to what your customers needs are, instead of assuming you already know what they want. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to have an connection to your clients. You can't build a trusting bond with cold impersonal transaction

The best way to identify disruptive technologies is by creating a graph with performance improvement demanded in the market vs. performance improvement supplied by the technology,

Customers follow the "Buying Hierarchy" depending on the maturity of the market. The phases, in order, are: functionality, reliability, convenience, and price.

Being a first mover is an advantage when developing disruptive innovation, and indifferent when acting in an established market ~ The Innovator’s Dilemma

The evidence from the disk drive industry shows that creating new markets is significantly less risky and more rewarding than entering established markets against entrenched competition ~ The Innovator’s Dilemma

Sustaining technologies focus on growing existing technologies by enhancing their performance, mostly through extended functionality or increased capacity. Disrupting technologies changes the landscape of an entire industry, or spark a new one altogether, because they solve a problem in an entirely new way

The competition is irrelevant. Taking a Blue Ocean approach means your goal isn’t to outperform the competition or be the best in the industry. Instead, your aim is to redraw industry boundaries and operate within that new space, making the competition immaterial ~ Blue ocean strategy

Startups today are actively pursuing innovations and technologies which assist in easing many of the operational activities. From automated finance management tools to phone systems, learn how and when to take advantage of these innovations.

It’ll take lots of effort to get your clients to trust you; however, make one error and you'll lose them all prior to even being able to explain. Irrespective of your reinvention, expansion, or growth, high quality customer service needs to be permanent. Your people ought to have the ability to do their job.

Once you’ve identified what is working, start to trim the fat. Identify all expenditures in the business which are not generating results and reallocate these resources to what’s working, or to a different project.

The path to success is mostly paved by failure. It’s nearly impossible to succeed without having to fail first. It’s possible to learn as much from your failed project as you’re able to from a successful project, yet the most important thing you can learn in regard to failure is how to get back up on your feet

Always attempt to bring something fresh to the table. There will be enough startups out there taking the road of least resistance; therefore, by doing things somewhat differently you may discover an entirely new, exciting niche within your field.

Email marketing is an essential strategy for attracting customers to your startup for little or no cost. Once you have a prospect or customer's email address, you can send him or her emails to promote your startup. To take advantage, you must first collect prospects' email addresses. Try placing email signup form.

Alibaba, Tinder & Airbnb – physically traveled to their first customers. From 5,000 to 15,000 users; Tinder used sorority girls to sign up on the spot. Dropbox – word-of-mouth worked for them. Learn more

To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospect s learn about and shop for your products. Learn more

You will never know enough. You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you have to get comfortable with.

The best advice is to not give yourself too much credit when times are good and too much blame when times are bad. Once you realize that luck plays a necessary role in success, it makes you both more humble and more self-confident at the same time.

Ignore the hype you see about other startups in the press. It's usually a pack of lies, and half of them will be dead in a year. Focus on building your business so you can be the one left standing.

Having first mover advantage is over-rated. MySpace was a first mover. It’s more important to have an idea BEST than have it FIRST. There is always room for disruption. Constantly better yourself to stay ahead of the game.

You have a viable business only if your product is either better or cheaper than the alternatives. If it’s not one or the other, you might make some money at first, but it’s not a sustainable business.

The key aspect for entrepreneurs today is either to identify extraordinary opportunities or go very fast and build as many possible barriers of entry as they can imagine.

Without customers, you have no business. The sooner you figure out how to acquire customers and scale, the greater the chances are of your company making it. Once you identify different acquisition channels, work on optimization to lower your costs.

The best way to convince investors is to start a startup that’s actually doing well, meaning growing fast & then simply tell investors so.

A great product manager has the brain of an engineer, the heart of a designer, and the speech of a diplomat.

Instead of bludgeoning the public with ads or dominating the front page of a newspaper to drive awareness, Growth Hackers use a scalpel, precise and targeted to a specific audience.

Isolating who your customers are, figuring out their needs, designing a product that will blow their minds — these are marketing decisions, not just development and design choices

The process of iterating, adapting and fine-tuning not just the product but also the messaging to customers is a key fundament of growth hackers. Achieving product/market fit is the very first and most important goal for a company.

Ask your customers questions, too: What is it that brought you to this product? What is holding you back from referring other people to it? What’s missing? What’s golden? Don’t ask random people or your friends — be scientific about it.

According to Bain & Company, a 5 percent increase in customer retention can mean a 30 percent increase in profitability for a company. If you lack growth you don’t need to invest in more marketing, but rather in refining your product and or service to make your customers happy.

Too many startups focus on increasing vanity metrics like site traffic instead of looking at the KPIs that really drive growth. Instead of trying to increase site traffic, try to increase your conversion rate. Look at your site traffic and understand where your qualified leads are coming from.

The best advice is to not give yourself too much credit when times are good and too much blame when times are bad. Once you realize that luck plays a necessary role in success, it makes you both more humble and more self-confident at the same time.