Top 10 facts about running a start-up: MEST guest lecture series

MEST, Tuesday March 6th 2012

Each year at MEST, 4 times in a year, guest lecturers (mostly global entrepreneurs and business executives) fly to Ghana  to share their experiences - both successes and failures with the MEST community.  Last weekend (2nd  & 3rd March 2012) we were privileged to have had 3 entrepreneurs in the persons of:

- Mr Ravi Agarwal - Founder of 2 multi million dollar software companies

- John Hoffmire, Director of Säid Global Entrepreneurship Network, Oxford University

- Jorn Lyseggen, CEO & founder, Meltwater Group

In no particular order, this post is a collection of some of the most tweeted about 'tips & lessons learned' shared by our speakers from the MEST community during last weekend's guest lecture... I hope you enjoy them and let's know what you think :)

1. Resource management: Founding members may have to go without salaries for sometime, with or without funding – managing resources is critical.

2. Idea execution: Ideas are not worth much, EXECUTION is everything!

3. Sales: Get beta customers! and find out if you can use them as references for real customers later on.

4. Sales: All founders need to  sell - no sales person may have as much passion as the founders would for their product.

5. Staffing: If you have to ‘let people go’, do it early, don’t wait too long. By letting people go early, you save each person the time and resources.

6. Staffing: You shouldn't fire somebody until you make him or her feel there's a possibility for him or her to be fired.

7. Value proposition: Have a very clear value proposition. What problem are you solving? Painkiller vrs Vitamins, which of the 2 describes your product best?

8. Team: Have a contingency plan if things do not work out between co-founders.

9. Culture: With the right culture, you can tap into other people’s capabilities.

10. Experience: Worthwhile things (such as starting a company) are never easy to do.