Top Start-Up Tips from the World's Most Successful Founders (infographic)

There’s never a shortage of people giving out advice for businesses on how they can be successful. It’s a whole cottage industry all of its own, filling magazines and bookshelves with often contradictory advice on what you absolutely should or shouldn’t do when starting up your own company. So it’s important to cut through the noise and listen to the right advice, which surely comes from those who have been there and done it already.

That’s why insights from successful founders are so crucial, because they speak from real experience. Headway Capital has collected 20 actionable tips from some of the world’s most famous and celebrated entrepreneurs to give you advice across the full spectrum of challenges any start-up faces in its early years. Here are some of the key tips:

Steve Jobs - “My model for business is The Beatles. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.

This advice from Apple’s iconic co-founder is all the more important because his own profile remains so high that most people would struggle to name a single other person at the company nearly ten years after his death. But Jobs knew that the success he helped bring to Apple came from the team he had around him and that every Lennon or McCartney needs a Ringo. He also focused on the balance, which is important to remember when assembling your Beatles, so try for a mixture of senior and junior staff to give you experience and innovation.

Kimberly Eberl - “Although there are educational entrepreneurial programs, nothing can really prepare you for the real-life hurdles of owning a business. Find a solid mentor to coach you, introduce you to people and bounce ideas off of.”

The founder of Motion PR, Eberl has achieved enough to be considered worthy of being a mentor herself, but hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she was starting out and where her best advice came from. Much like the founders in this guide, mentors are business leaders who have faced the problems you may be facing and know how to actually deal with them in real life, making their advice more useful and trustworthy than anything you might learn on a course.

Noah Kagan - “Don’t waste time or spend money on non-core issues when starting a business. In fact, don’t spend any money until you make some.

Kagan founded AppSumo and knows all about the risks that come with trying to grow a new business, which is why his tip is to avoid spending money on certain non-essential things as a start-up. It may be tempting when your first big contract comes in to splash out on a flashy office with a slide and a waterfall, but Kagan says you should only be spending on absolute essentials. These might be for creating a business plan, doing market research or hiring an accountant, rather than parties, perks or staff that you don’t absolutely need.

Laurence Bradford - “Instead of praying customers will find you, get in front of people in your space. Start a blog, podcast or create video content. Take advantage of social media. Attend in-person events.

Getting noticed is an essential part of any start-up’s journey. Bradford founded Learn to Code with Me and knew that customers wouldn’t just appear out of the blue, so her tip is to grab attention wherever you can find it, through proactive content marketing, social media and good old-fashioned networking. The more visible you can be to people who work in your space, the more chance you have of encouraging them to check out what you’re selling, so starting a blog or a podcast or finding the right events to attend can be key to getting your message out there.

Jen Kessler - “If you are exhausted and 100% monopolized by work, you won’t have the perspective and insight that you need. Sleeping, exercising, and having a life outside of work is critical for your endurance as a decision maker.

The image of an entrepreneur is often that of someone who considers sleep an unnecessary interruption to their day of relentless hard work. However, the reality is that pushing yourself too hard leaves you overstressed, overtired and unable to make the right decisions to take your business forwards. Jen Kessler is the co-founder of Bizzy but knows that being too busy all the time is no good for her, so she makes sure she has time to sleep, exercise and have a life, as well as committing to doing her best.

These are just some of the 20 top tips in the guide, so why not check out the rest of them as well as some actionable advice on how you can put them into practice for your own business.
Headway Capital hand-picked the best start-up advice from 20 successful leaders and researched why their tips work (according to studies).
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