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"That was easy..." & Other Successful Start-up Myths

Starting up a company and building it into a successful company is not so easy; indeed, there is no easy button that I am aware of. Yet people are always looking to shortcut the distance from start-up to success. As an executive coach, it is true that I can frequently accelerate the footsteps of the executive and crosswalk them to avoid potholes as I help steer them in the right direction; however being a coached CEO does not mean that all the work is done nor decisions made for them. Being a founder start-up CEO is exciting and challenging work...

So this morning, while trolling Twitter for some management quips, I was inspired and amused by a 2011 blog by Jason Cohen, and I have complied a list of some of his most important things that startup founding CEOs never say... along with a few contributors to his original blog. Enjoy!

10 things I’ve never heard a successful startup founder say


  1. I built this software for myself, and then it turned out a million people wanted it exactly how I originally envisioned it.

  2. After hiring a few people, being the CEO became a lot easier, and I was able to focus on high-level strategic plans instead of fighting fires.

  3. I wish we had spent less time talking to prospective customers before designing interfaces and writing code.

  4. The decision of whether to form an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp made a significant difference in my startup’s success.

  5. Selling the company was an easy decision, and everyone in the company was on the same page.

  6. We were so good at acting that our first few customers never knew we were a new company with no employees and buggy software.

  7. Thanks to a software patent we filed, we never had a serious competitor.

  8. Our most effective marketing campaigns were the ones filled with buzzwords and non-specific claims.

  9. My lack of an MBA degree made building a company from scratch harder for me than for others.

  10. I wish I had spent more time reading and weighing the pros and cons of various philosophies instead of just jumping in and doing what I thought was morally and financially sensible.

These were exceptional observations.... there is no easy button. Here were a few of the other salient comments appended to the original blog:

"Filling up the management team with my untrained relatives and acting on their advice over other employees' made all the difference in ensuring our success" James Barnes

Those arguments about the name, logo, and design color were critical to our eventual success with Enterprise customers! CliffElam

Our success was entirely based on a couple of mentions in the tech press Dave Churchville

I hired fast and never fired anybody. Greg Hluska

I don't know what the big deal is, raising money is the easiest thing we've ever done. If you build it, they will come! Greg Martin

"Spending nine months to write our business plan before actually starting to do anything was the best decision we made. When finalized, the plan had solutions for every problem we encountered, and our eventual success was inevitable just by executing the plan step by step." Anonymous Entrepreneur

I sure am glad we started dividing up the percentages of ownership when we came up with the concept. LynxTo

I spent all my effort watching my competitors and copying them. markee174


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