Two years ago I walked into a relatively small co-working space in Melbourne, dragged tables aside and put the room together for my first Startup Grind event. I paid for the space, I had a small audience, and I don't think I had a single sponsor.
2 years later on receiving the photos of my last event I noticed how far I had come,now backed by the biggest brands in global business I thought it would be nice to share what I have learnt.
In no particular order...
1) Be Genuine. Anything else is just too hard to maintain.
2) Have time for people. A couple of times I have been told about how important the person was I had skipped over and kicked myself.
3) Enter from the top (via Marian Gazdik Startup Grind London) "The most effective way to enter ANY social circle is from the top. This will save you a huge amount of time. Identify key influencers and leaders, meet them or get introduced to them as soon as you can".
4) Always ask how you can help someone else (and mean it) You will not get far asking everyone for favours, plus you will come across as a dick! Help other people not just because it might come back, but because it is just good business. All the greats spend a lot of time helping others.
5) Remember the Monkey Bars. If you need to get to a target meet someone close to them or someone that is close to someone that is close to that person. Remember the monkey bars and swing across. It might take time but you will get to who you need. I do this with brands, speakers, mentors, you name it!
6) Dress the part - forget the startup bullshit. Unless you have a billion in the bank you cannot dress like a bum.
7) Have a great product. Design and Experience all the way. What is the experience for your customer, what are the 'touch points' customers come in contact with your brand? Make them all remarkable.
8) Share your ideas. Ideas get better with sharing, it takes a tremendous amount of work to steal your ideas so don't even worry about it.
9) Find Mentors / Create a support group. The entrepreneurs journey is hard enough, do not do it alone. Surround yourself with people that all wish to excel. The support of others will help you to go far, and with the help of people that have done it before you can go even further.
10) Asking people for money changes everything (via Derek Andersen our Founder). Can't make it any clearer! Also raising capital is a distraction - if you are kicking ass, the money will come to you.
11) Having raised capital is not success. Don't tell me you just raised $5m that means you gave half your business away - tell me how well your business is doing and your plans for the future, I will have much more respect for you.
12) There are no shortcuts. If you feel like you are in over your head everyday - then you are in the right place. Keep hustling. Keep making moves - failure is not an option. The term 'failing fast' has nothing to do with giving up!!
13) Persistence Pays. You have to be a bulldog with a bone, keep fighting for what you want until you get it. I have tremendous respect for the guys that keep coming back with different ways to sell me on the same thing and I do the same with my own business. Your hard sells will become your most loyal customers!
14) Focus on what makes money. I make the mistake of spending countless hours on shit that doesn't make money- Take a step back now and then to assess where you should actually spend your time and do not get distracted by the shiny things that catch your eye from time to time. Focus and discipline. You want to get rich? Cut out the shit you are too proud to let go.
15) Align yourself with brands that make you look better, and then keep improving those brands. Don't worry about the dollar figure to start.
16) Create Competition. Don't be afraid to let other people know you have a few people asking you to dance, competition will get you more - but when the deal is done, it is done, remain 100% loyal.
17) Partnerships are a relationship. Give more than you receive. Make sure you are doing a good job of taking care of their needs.
18) The most important people are at home waiting! Remember that. If whatever you are doing is not truly helping someone or putting money in your pocket go home. Work Life balance does exist - Mikkel Zvane the founder of Zendesk told me he goes home at 5pm everyday! It can be done.
19) Separate business and home. It is hard when you have your own business - but life is about sharing time, remember to share it most with those that matter.
20) Always ask for more than you want. You just might get it and if you don't, you might still get something more than you actually wanted. Always set the baseline above what you want. This works in business and in life.
21) Find Mentors in life. Mentors are not just good for business, find people that have the life you want - the happy family, role models, and ask how they do things - never stop learning.
…...That's it - get to it!:)
In the words of our founder...'Keep Grinding'.