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Startup Questions Answered by Jeff Hoffman

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

When Jeff Hoffman joined college, he was couldn’t afford the fees. The easy way out was to drop out but not for Jeff. He believes that if you want something bad enough, you must be willing to do everything for it. Think of that one thing or the few things that you have always wanted. How bad do you want it? How much are you willing to do for it?

There is a lot of concern regarding patents and fear of sharing ideas. This is partially because there are a lot of companies that are patenting ideas with no intentions of doing anything openly, just so they can sue people later. However, no one will fund, support or use your product if you don’t talk about it. If you feel like your idea is so simple and so weak that anyone can do it, find a better idea. The golden purpose is finding something to do with your life that you are uniquely qualified for.  Make a list of why you are qualified for.

You might not have everything when you are starting but you will have something. Patent your idea if you can. It is important to protect your IP. But then again, if the only reason why you feel comfortable about your product is because you have a patent, it is a bad business.

You are never as smart as you think that you are. The most important thing you can do as a founder is find the talent. Look for people smarter than you and convince them to join your team. Let them do their job and get out of their way. A great team is characterized by passion, hard work and resourcefulness. These are not on their resume; it is a culture. Find the best people you can. Build an environment that they would want to work in. You can’t do everything they ask but you get a lot of credit for asking.

How does a startup retain efficiency, innovativeness and flexibility as it develops into a larger company? It gets harder to manage and be efficient. Constantly subdivide the focus into little business so that people feel like their units inside the company. Give everyone equity. Instead of making them compete, let everyone benefit.

There is no luck. Be engaged in the world around you. The more people you meet, the more places you go, the more events you attend, the more you push yourself out of your comfort zones and be in the world, the higher your chances of standing at the right place at the right time.

One of the things you need in the entrepreneurship world with investors, employees, customers and co-founders is credibility. You win credibility by winning a gold medal in something. Everyone has something they were born to do. Find a path in life that favors what you are good at and be honest with yourself. If what you are doing is not to your best of understanding, leave it.

Relate to your relations on things they like, not what you want. Try to maintain customers that might leave. Build a relationship with customers to build loyalty. When asking someone on board, help them achieve their goals. There is no limit to what you can make in a startup. Sit down with people with the right skills and help them achieve their dreams.

05 February 2020

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