4 Tips For Young Entrepreneurs On How To Build A Company
By Ilya Gescheit, CEO and Founder @Mobifile, Advisor and Growth Hacker @cRoundCam, Consultant Innovation Evangelist @Roche, Avid Street Athlete, Designer and Blogger.
You’ve been taking online iOS courses, and been writing code for a while. You’ve built two or three mobile apps, and even published one of them on the app store. You now want to take your ideas and knowledge to the next level, and build real products that people use and love. You want to build your own company.
Building your own company and products requires you to be knowledgable and practice many fields include marketing, UX/UI, development, finance and more. Entrepreneurs who have years of experience in building companies say they are still learning new things every day. You obviously cannot become an expert in all these fields right away. You would need great amount of patience and persistence to learn throughout the years. You will gain experience only when you try and try and try again.
However, there are things that could help you accelerate your learnings and make the process of starting your own company and building your products much more efficient. I’d like to share with you four quick tips that I’ve learned along the way, that I wish I knew before I started working in startups, corporates and building my own products and companies (you can check some of the companies I am involved with Mobifile, cRound).
1. Find yourself a great mentor — I think that this is the biggest and most important advice I would give anyone whether he/she is 19 or 60 years old, and starting his or hers entrepreneurship adventure. Along the way you will encounter many questions, obstacles and dilemmas. The best way to face these is by having someone who has already dealt with such situations by your side. Questions like when to launch, what features to add, how to talk with investors and what to focus on. My advice is don’t pitch investors and angels to get their money. Pitch entrepreneurs, marketers and investors to get their advice and feedback. Build relationships with them and finally find yourself a personal mentor. Someone who has been there, done that. A mentor who you feel confident approaching and asking questions. A mentor who will walk you through your journey of entrepreneurship and believes in you and your vision.
2. Build relationships — In order to succeed and learn about your industry, your products and most importantly about your users, you have to build relationships with people who care and share your interests and aspirations. Go to meetups about mobile and web development, marketing, growth, UX , and entrepreneurship. Get involved in communities such as Product Huntand GrowthHackers. Get to know people there, collaborate! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and write comments. Go to hackathons! You can go alone and meet people there, or grab some friends and go as a group. I’ve mentored in two events for young entrepreneurs, and was overwhelmed by how much they learn and the amazing products and friendships they create. One of events is called Hacking Generation Y, a hackathon for young entrepreneurs. It is a global event so you may find one in your location, but I am sure there are other hackathons you could find in your area. These events are a great place to meet people who may become your future co-founders, mentors, as well as build and share your ideas and products with people who could give you real feedback, and help you learn and build it. Another event is called the Mobile Challenge Junior which will take place in 6 locations around the world, in which I will be mentoring in Tel Aviv.
3. Don’t stop building and experimenting — Another important advice I would give anyone building products is to keep doing, and building.Creating a product is like an experiment or a set of independent experiments. You need to define your goal or hypothesis of what you would like to learn from that experiment, implement it, and then analyse and iterate. If you continue this cycle of building things and then analysing them, you will understand that building your products is something you can get better at, and your products will constantly improve.
When I say building products, I am not only talking about app development or building your company website. This could be anything you do that is related to your business. It could be a blog post you write, a post on Facebook, a Twitter ad or even a meeting with a potential user or investor. Keep changing, experimenting and iterating your code and designs. And always be in a state of mind of learning and improving not only your product but also yourself and your team.
4. Read the The Lean Startup by Eric Ries — I am an avid book reader. I read mostly about psychology and business, but I had known about Eric’s book before starting building products, and building my own company. It is a source of knowledge I go back to every day, to make product and business decisions. I think this is a must-read for every aspiring entrepreneur out there at any age.
Don’t forget that building a business and a product is an adventure. It’s a long ride with ups and downs. Be prepared to get excited, get angry, smile, cry. It’s like a roller-coaster, so take your best friends to ride with you. It will be excitingly interesting. But no matter what, you’ll be happy you took the ride. Most people hop on it again and again.
CEO and Founder @Mobifile, Advisor and Growth Hacker @cRoundCam, Consultant Innovation Evangelist @Roche, Avid Street Athlete, Designer and Blogger.