Advice to startups, from startups

Danish Kasper Hulthin

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     Henning Hjorth   |   Startups     🕐 11. Jul. 2018

Launching a startup is a steep learning curve for anyone. There are so many moments to learn from, as well as things that went well. Different entrepreneurs have different perspectives on what is important, based on their own experiences starting out.

Do not wait too long
Sillas Poulsen, co-founder of Bello, believes in the importance of getting your company out there as soon as possible. “You have to launch your product fast, even before you think you are ready,” he said

Even if there are issues to iron out, the sooner a company is launched the quicker it can grow. Holding off on a launch may seem like a safer option, but there is great value in launching quickly. Once launched, a company can build a customer base and a following, even if there are still elements of the business that need fixing.

There is a risk that waiting until everything is perfect before launching means that a company never gets started, or that when it does it discovers that the concept is flawed and could have been fixed earlier, which would have saved them a lot of wasted time and effort.

“It feels weird to release something that barely works, but the feedback is much more useful than spending months polishing something nobody wants”
. Poulsen said.

Be open to collaboration
Right from the start, it pays to think collaboratively. One should be aware of the possibilities of cooperating with others, and be open to the potential that a collaboration could bring.

“You should not optimise a partnership or a cooperation only to your own advantage, if you want it to last”
, Christian Birch, CEO of Shopgun said to VD Tidningen. “you must think in terms of creating lasting value for your partner too”

Do not get stuck in the details
Pavia Rosati wants startups to know that while being detail oriented is good, getting stuck in the details can be destructive. “No one is looking at your work as closely as you are,” she told magazine The Muse.

It is common for people in startups to struggle to maintain a broad perspective, because they are too close to everything and too critical. This can have an effect on productivity, too. It might take someone too long to make a decision because they are stuck in the finer details, hindering progress. “At a certain point, you have to let go and move on to the next thing”, Rosati said.

Think big
When starting out, it is one thing to dream big, but another thing completely to factor in scalability to your startup. Kasper Hulthin, one of the co-founders of Podio, explained how, even in the very early startup phase, the team always thought on a global level. 

This governed some of their decisions, such as their decision to make every communication, every piece of writing, in English. “We knew that one day we would have to hire a team that were non-Danes”, Hulthin said. “So we quite deliberately…saw it as a global business”.

It is hugely valuable when startups share their stories with each other, both their successes and their failures. There is so much to be gained, as long as one is open to listening to and learning from others.

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