I just returned from Collision Conference 2016 in New Orleans. This was my first time at the international tech and startup conference, and I must say I enjoyed myself! Each day, I got to see many big leaders, investors, CEOs and the like speak on 1 of 4 stages. I’ve compiled my top 5 quotes to help startups grow. Enjoy!
01. “Make sure the truths that you operate your company on are still relevant.” – Julia Hartz of Eventbrite
Hartz spoke about the whens and hows of company growth. When her and her husband first started Eventbrite, they wanted to create a “simple, innovative, powerful product that’s easy to use”. They did just that, and 10 years later, they are still going strong, evolving to accommodate new and easy to use products and services needed in the events industry.
Whether you know it or not, it’s extremely important to stand back and evaluate your company’s mission and goals. Make sure they still hold true. No company can be successful with outdated goals.
02. “Names are just vessels. You have to fill it with meaning.” – Joshua Reeves of Gusto
This one liner pretty much sums up branding, even though that wasn’t the topic of Reeves’ discussion. Many startups don’t fully understand the importance of branding, which probably stems from an unsteady definition of what branding is. How would you know how important something is, if you don’t know what it is.
The first step in having a successful marketing campaign or business in general, is a clean, identifiable brand. Often times people spend countless hours naming their company, but the name is just the beginning. After you name your business, your service, or your product, you literally have to “fill it with meaning”, by defining your company. Sure there’s a name, but what should that mean to the customer? How should they feel about your company? What should they assume or relate to your products? These tidbits are the building blocks of branding.
Just remember, everything we know about big brands, was taught to us. New products don’t just pop on the shelves and we suddenly know everything about them. There’s commercials, marketing collateral and a host of other mechanisms that teach us about this new brand.
03. “Work with people that see your vision. Don’t try to convince people who don’t.” – Phil Krim of Casper
Oh Phil, my sentiments exactly. If people don’t see your vision, leave them be. Don’t try to force them to see what you see, especially when looking for investors. Think about it, like-minded people have disagreements all of the time. Can you imagine the strain on a business relationship between two people with differing goals and visions? It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Even if you happen to convince someone to see things your way, after countless presentations and harsh persuasion, the trust still may not be strong enough to support your business’s success. Why, because they don’t understand your vision and feel like you coerced them into doing something they still don’t understand. Choose your investors and business partners wisely.
04. “Passion is like vision. It’s necessary but not sufficient.” – Ravi V. of New Enterprise Associates
Passion is innate. It cannot be taught and no one should be more passionate about your business than you. With that said, I agree with that passion simply isn’t enough. Ideas start a business, branding and marketing help establish it, but a business mind is needed to truly grow a successful business. Some founders may not have what it takes to run a business beyond the startup stage. I don’t have guidelines as to what makes a founder a good CEO, but I’m sure any investor will let you know if you have what it takes. Regardless of the circumstances, founders have to be honest with themselves and their business skills. Sometimes you may have to hire a CEO to take you business to the next level.
05. “Innovate in a way that disrupts yourself.” – Julia Hartz of Eventbrite
This idea of disruption was a pretty popular term during this year’s Collision Conference. The term disrupt in the startup and tech realm refers to going against social norms and thinking way…way…way outside of the box. New ideas make the world go around; although we live in a time, when most ideas aren’t new, but simply modified and evolved for better use.
How to know if your idea is disruptive:
- You present your idea and people give you blank stares of intrigue.
- You understand the end product, but aren’t sure how to get there.
- You truly haven’t heard a rendition of this before.
- Your idea upsets or confuses a good group of people who hear about it.
All in all, there were so many business industry leaders offering a wealth of knowledge and experience at Collision. I have pages of pages of notes on a plethora of topics, but these quotes were by far my top 5 for startup growth and management and are essentially the true basis of a successful business.
Have you come across any inspirational quotes to help startups? Please share them in the comments.