The startup journey is not an easy one! Not only is Blox aimed squarely at startups and SMEs, but we are a startup ourselves, so we speak from experience!
We asked founder, CEO, and Chief Bloxer Simon, what were the three things he wish he knew before embarking on the startup journey with Blox!
You can check out his 75-second video here, or read on for his top three things he wish he knew before launching a startup!
1. Learn How Fundraising Works
"Don't just do what I did, and rock up to a pitch event thinking you're going to raise money in three weeks. It's not gonna work, so learn about how fundraising works first"
Simple on the surface, but with a lot of complexity, whether you're pre-seed, seed, Series A, or beyond, make sure you have all your ducks in a row when fundraising. From knowing who your likely investors are, to knowing what your valuation is (and being able to justify it!), preparation is key.
The sheer range of funding options can be overwhelming for a new founder; from bootstrapping to angel investors, incubators to VCs, loans to grants. Understanding the types of startup funding, and how much equity you're prepared to give away to achieve it, can be confusing for a first-time founder.
One Month's Mattan Griffel has a good piece on The Different Stages of Startup Fundraising over on his blog.
2. Having a Network is Important
"When you're building your startup you're not earning any money, plus you're paying people to build stuff for you. You need to be able to pick up the phone and ask somebody when you've got a really complex question, so have your network ready beforehand"
As Tim Sanders famously once said, “networking is your net worth”. Whether you need access to mentoring and advice, practical skills, valuable introductions, or just people to have a laugh/cry with at the end of another week in startup-land, a strong network is essential. I find myself constantly networking, keeping my ear to the ground, and making a note of things that can help my business.
I recommend this article from Startups on 5 Essential Networking Skills to Cultivate.
3. Sales and Marketing is Hard
"Be ready to spend a lot of time a lot of energy and money on sales and marketing. If you're a product founder like me you're probably just thinking okay I'm going to build a great product and people are going to come bash down my door to use it! That doesn't happen; you've got to make it happen"
Where to market my company, when to market my company, sales and marketing for startups is full of difficult learnings for even seasoned pros, let alone those from other backgrounds such as product. And in a very noisy world, getting your message seen and heard, let alone engaged with, is the biggest hurdle for new startups.
Check out this blog from Entrepreneur on Sales & Marketing Tips for Startups.
I am loving the startup journey. Launching a startup is fast proving to be the most rewarding action of my career, and if I can do it I really believe you can do it too! We'll be sharing more "Diary of a (Startup) CEO"-style content in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow Blox on your favourite social channels!