4 tips for entrepreneurs who enter the startup ring

If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, you’ve seen the startup scene dominate the business world. The days of Fortune 500s setting the precedent for growth and innovation in this country are long gone.

The companies bringing cutting-edge technologies to market aren’t Fortune 500 companies — they’re startups. The companies creating the jobs aren’t Fortune 500 companies — they’re startups.

In fact, the latest book by Roger Blackwell, Ph.D., “Saving America,” which I highly recommend you pick up, focuses on this profound shift in American business from large publicly traded corporations to startups. That’s where real innovation is happening. That’s where sustainable job creation is.

The reality is that since 2008, Fortune 500s are at a net loss in job creation. What many don’t understand is that over the last seven years, the nation’s jobs have come from small business — and the data indicates this trend is here to stay.

OK, we get it. The startup scene is the place to be in the business world. But if you are new to startups, what do you need to know in order to create and scale a successful business?

There are hundreds of best practices to master, but here we’ll focus on four. If you hope to throw your hat into the thriving startup ring, don’t miss these.

Your business must solve a problem

Many believe starting a business around an interest or talent is sufficient. What happens when you take this route is you end up needing to convince people to want your product. Whereas if you recognize and then solve an existing problem with your product, you are making something that people will naturally want. This limits the convincing you need to do — a much wiser path.

Surround yourself with the right people

What all successful entrepreneurs agree on is the need for the right team. Don’t try to take this difficult journey on your own. Your odds of success are dramatically limited rolling solo. We’ve all heard the saying: two plus two equals five; that is no truer than in the startup space.

Have an impeccable work ethic

Each day in the startup world is like a month in a large company. So much happens — and quickly. Expect to grind every single day. Anticipate working longer hours than your friends with jobs. Never grow complacent.

Effective fundraising is about timing

Raising capital is important, but not until you establish a foundation, gain traction and, thus, mitigate initial risk. Don’t approach a venture capital firm with an idea on a cocktail napkin. Be smart and strategic about how and when you approach investors. Understand the companies they fund and learn how to speak their language. It’s worth the effort and investors will appreciate it.

If you recognize these realities and implement these tips into your business approach, not only are you well on your way, but you also will have a much easier road than your peers who simply shoot from the hip.