We previously published this post in 2011 but thought that the pointers were worth sharing again!
We all make mistakes, but how many times do we make the same mistake before we actually learn from it? An interesting article by Alex Tausig highlights some of the mistakes that young entrepreneurs can easily avoid. Alex Taussig, a Principal with Highland Capital Partners, invests in startups which are tackling problems in some of the world's oldest and largest industries — energy, education, and machine automation. While his article: 15 mistakes young entrepreneurs make, but don't have to focuses mainly on entrepreneurs and the blunders they encounter along the way, we think it’s pretty relevant to all young sustainability consultants.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Spend your time wisely, don’t waste it on business plan competitions, just do it!
- If you do everything else right, fundraising will be easy. Treat fundraising like an end, not a means.
- It’s way easier to hire than to fire, consider short-term contractors rather than a long-term fit.
- Pick advisors wisely; focus on finding the best tactician rather than intellectual assistance.
- The best entrepreneurs are obsessed with proving that their “world view” is incorrect.
- It’s okay to say: “I don’t know”. Sometimes that is the best answer you can give.
- You should do as much due diligence on your investor as he/she does on you.
- Practice makes perfect. Don't delude yourself that you can wing it. VCs ask tough questions and will quickly find the holes in your story. Practice that pitch.
- Spend 30 minutes researching the free alternatives, before you pay for anything.
- There are many ways to get customers, but not all of them are scalable.
- You should be talking to your customers from day one, make sure that you get all the input you can. After all, it’s a product that you want them to purchase.
- Research you idea and make sure you understand what your competitors do and how they differ.
- Use the web to get users and don’t rely on a sample size that consists of family and friends.
- Make sure your product appeals to the non-college target market as well.
Interested in reading the full article? click here.
Having trouble getting your new sustainability consulting business off the ground? Learn more about our online sustainability training courses here.