At our MC Sampler: Foundation event, three startup founders, John Harthorne of MassChallenge, Jim Miller of Fire+Ice, and Anna Callahan of ZoomTilt, had a chat with a crowd of entrepreneurs on founding a company and seeing it through to success. Here's some founding advice:
John Harthorne: "You can launch a startup to make money. But you need to have values at the core of what you do if you're going to succeed!"
Strategy changes, value does not. Throughout the entire lifespan of the company your core values – the values that caused you to start the company in the first place – have to stay intact. Never compromise on your values in order to make a quick buck, for strategy should revolve around the value - not the other way around.
Jim Miller: “No matter what, always stay on top of your game”
When seeking funding for your fresh new startup, you're always going to have to be a at least one hundred steps ahead and at the same time, always present. One simple answer to a question from an investor could mean the difference between getting funding and getting kicked out of their office for wasting their time. From friends, to mentors, to potential investors, be constantly mindful of what they are saying because hidden within their questions could lie the key to success.
Anna Callahan: “Tell everyone!”
You have a new startup! It's exciting and fun and if it's something you really believe in, you should be telling everyone about it. Great ideas will galvanize the people you tell into participation. They'll want to join the team, mentor, or even invest. Unless it's some matter of national security, don't keep anything about your startup under wraps, if the idea is good enough no one will steal it because half of your idea is the execution of it.