This year almost comes to an end, and so it is time for a good old throwback. This year, we have spoken a lot about successes and all of those times, we concluded that to become successful, you have to make mistakes to learn a thing or two. With this in mind we have decided to make ‘FUCKUPS’ the subject of our last event of the year. A very interesting subject as the turnup was great! So.. what have we learned?
First of all, know what the company needs. When you know what the company needs, it is easier to make the hard decisions. You need to be realistic about this from the beginning. A lot of startups start as friends. Either someone from your close group of friends, a colleague, a family member or even your boyfriend or girlfriend. It always seems like a good idea because when you are good with someone, you can run a business with them right? WRONG! Do not try to force such relationships into a business relationship! Two of our speakers also lost their friends because they started a company together. What you do need, is someone to strengthen you. Know what you are good at and what you suck at. Then find someone to fill in the gap.
Same goes for employees. Of course the worst thing about a hiring process is that EVERYBODY lies on their resume, so try to make the process as flawless as possible. Make sure you know what kind of employees you need. Not only in skills, but also in contract. Sometimes it is great to work with a freelancer. They build something amazing for your company and afterwords, they are just done. Other times, you really need a loyal employee. But than again: consider whether you need an entrepreneur who prefers to work alone or someone who really fits in the team culture. You might also think about hiring more experienced employees rather than cutting costs by hiring a less experienced employee. This saves you some fuckups.
Now of course, hiring an employee costs money which we do not always have. Another thing we have learned is to be a bit creative. You do not always have to put them on the payroll. For example: You could reward them with a promise. When the company becomes valid, they earn their share in the company. It may seem to you that when you do not have the money to pay someone, you should not hire an employee. This could be so, but as a startup, you probably need investors to set up the business. As you know, a startup is build from a problem to which an entrepreneur finds a solution. To get investors on board, you need to show them that people are willing to spend time on your solution with you. Also the problem which you solve should be a serious pain to which the investors actually want a solution.
The next fuckup of the evening, which I think it is fair to say almost everybody can relay to, is that you need to keep ‘Ego’ outside the door. Of course, you are proud of what you have done and you want to scream it of the rooftops, but do not exaggerate. It will annoy your team and it does definitely not give you a head start with customers. Be aware of your ego and keep it in check. People do not buy your product or invest in you because you show off, they do so when you deliver the promise.
Last but not least: Do not bother to keep thinking about your regrets and do not let them guide you. Keep in mind that you need to go through things to value them. When the value turns out to be low, at least you know!
We called it the night at the successes. The speakers all are very successful so do not be afraid, be bold, take a risk, make some FUCKUPS and become successful.
Renske de Bruine of Winkler
Erwin van der Vlist of Speakap
Wybo Wijnbergen of WeWork
Matthijs van Schendelen of Endeavour Group