A few weeks ago, Corey, one of my two partners from ExchangeHut, and I were asked to talk about our experiences with ExchangeHut for the Entrepreneurship Deli, an event put on by Wiscontrepreneur and the Office of Corporate Relations at UW. It was a “speed dating” format where young entrepreneurs from companies like Flying Cart, Powered Green, Sconnie and Brazen Careerist talked to people from the community about our experiences starting and running companies.
We were tasked with talking about boostrapping and the lessons we learned as college entrepreneurs. I created this list from our list of hundreds of lessons we learned during our three years of running ExchangeHut.
Here’s my list:
1. Don’t be afraid of the competition
2. Research, research, research
3. Don’t overestimate sales, market penetration or adoption rates: take your projections and cut them in half. Then cut them in half again.
4. Stay Focused: do one thing extremely well, rather than many things poorly
5. Legal work is essential: an hour of advice now will be worth weeks of hassles later
6. Know who you are dealing with: do your due diligence on all aspects of your business
7. Don’t do business with unethical companies or people: a quick buck now will bite you much harder later
8. Make a plan, then execute it
9. Mixing business with friendship seems great, but doesn’t always work
10. Give credit to employees when the going is good, take the blame when its not