This is the second in our three-part series revealing 42 Powerful Startup Laws You Need To Know. Read Part 1.

Why 42 Laws? You’ll have to read through to the end to find out.

So, let’s get straight down to it.

Law #15: Get clarity about your Vision and Purpose

Martin Luther King did not say: “I have an idea, which will get 1% of the market.”

JFK did not say: “I have a value proposition, but I just need $1m to build it.”

Both were driven by their vision of a better future. And they visualised their better future finished before giving any thought to how it would be achieve.

Have a vision of your finished business. This focuses your efforts on the distant horizon – not the challenges right in front of you.

Your vision and purpose – your why – are critical. They give you power and strength to do the hard tasks and keep progressing.

Often, they are the only things that keep you going when you feel like you want to quit.

Your idea is just that – an idea – but your vision encompasses how your idea will change the world for your customers.

Law #16: Better to delay the start than start to delay

Why do most startups fail? The founders reach the end of their personal runway before they discover a path to profit.

Founders get paid last from profit. No profit = no salary.

When founders hit the wall at the end of their runway, they have to quit.

Our advice? Delay the start. Spend more time building your reserves before quitting your day job.

Or make sure you have other income sources coming into your bank account after you quit your day job.

Horizontal phone concept showing like button on blue background

Law #17: Not all metrics matter – and no vanity metrics do

I haven’t yet found a bank where I cash a cheque of views, likes and comments. They are only a useful form of measuring engagement and participation.

Real traction comes from:

  • Users and customers.
  • Repeat purchases.
  • Referrals.
  • Low churn.
  • High stickiness.
  • Strong month-on-month growth. 

Think about what you are trying to achieve. Are you painting a picture-by-numbers or building a great business?

Law #18: Success is not measured by the amount of money you have raised

Getting external funding for your startup reflects your capacity to engage investors. It shows you can tell a story about what success will look like.

A great idea will always find money if you can learn to share a compelling story about a viable vision.

But if you’re a great business, your customers and partners will be telling me about it.”

Law #19: Authenticity and Passion matters

It’s easy to demonstrate passion and commitment if you have lived the problem you are solving.

Making your story personal is the best path to real engagement with fans, followers, funders, evangelists, and clients.

Lightbulb glowing with word mentor.

Law #20: Find 10 mentors who can commit to you

Mentors are not your mentor unless:

  • They are emotionally invested in your success.
  • They have already walked the path you are on.

The Richard Bransons of the world are not your mentors until they have you on speed dial.

You must be able to get “belly-to-belly” with mentors – and they must have a track record of success.

Law #21: Your networks are only worth something if you work them

You are one degree of separation from every resource you need in the early stages of your venture. You only have to learn to ask.

Every fan, follower, founder, investor, partner, customer and early stage hire you need to succeed is known by someone in your network.

By becoming an authentic person, your network will trust you enough to introduce you to people they know.

So, your opportunity is to learn to ask.

Law #22: Hope is not a strategy but there is no strategy without it

Building a venture requires faith in your vision – even when everyone else thinks you might be crazy.

Perseverance is a critical element to your strategy. You will discover the path forward by maintaining belief in yourself, your vision and your purpose.

Hope is the single most important element to keep you moving forward. It’s also been the single biggest driver in the progress of the human race.

Business exit plan concept.

Law #23:  Always have an exit strategy

Know your milestones, waypoints and your go/no-go points – and stick to them.

If you agree to achieve X by Y date and, six months later, you still haven’t hit your targets, re-evaluate them.

It’s possible you might not be able to get where you thought you could from where you are, or with what you have. So, being clear about how to get clean is important.

Equally important is getting back into your profession.

If you are clever, you’ll have built a store of knowledge which is valuable to a lot of organisations. This can be leveraged into your exit strategy.

Law #24: Your best source of guidance is your spouse if give them the script

Spouses have an important role to play in lifting you up when you need external motivation. But beware.

Using spouses as a scratching post for every pain point or problem is like trying to cut stone with a kitchen knife. The stone will be unaffected, and your knife will be blunt when you need it most. 

Daniel Mumby

However, used correctly, the stone sharpens the knife. So, use the right tool for the right job.

Mentors and advisors are best to guide you through the daily challenges. Spouses have the most to lose or gain from your long-term success, so show them how best to help you.

Law #25: Celebrate your successes – even the small ones

Learn to bring home the trophy and share the success – even with small wins. Make a point of recognising people – your team, co-founders, friends, supporters – who go above and beyond to achieve your mission.

Share those successes widely with positive behaviours.

Learn to stop occasionally and turn your face to the warming sun.

Daniel Mumby

Celebrations don’t have to involve elaborate events or ceremonies. Sometimes it’s just about being grateful to yourself.

Law #26: You will get knocked down on your journey – getting back up again is what matters

Resilience is not something you can measure on a scale. You either are or aren’t dictated to by what you do.

An ancient Japanese proverb, roughly translated, describes this as:

Get knocked down seven times, get back up eight.”

Ancient Japanese proverb

Law #27: Share the upside with others on the journey

Seek to create an abundance mentality – where everyone benefits relative to their input into creating success.

This focuses you on a bigger, better outcome, and allows others to engage with you and share the journey.

“Fighting with others about how much you are giving away is always a failed state.”

Daniel Mumby

How much equity you give up – or the amount of tax you pay – does not matter in creating a successful venture.

The real outcome you should focus on is how much value you create for everyone.

Stop focussing on your slice of the pie. Instead, find ways to make the pie bigger or bake more pies.

Daniel Mumby

When you have a scarcity mentality, it stops you from getting into a state of flow.

Law #28:  Finding product-market fit is irrelevant if you can’t find your viable path to audience

Knowing exactly what you sell can sometimes be less critical than figuring out the path to your tribe.

An accessible market with the capacity to pay is a big indicator of future success.

Having Product Market Fit with 10 customers doesn’t prove the viability of the business. Successfully tapping into your audience enables you to test and iterate your product with a bigger potential market.

You’re almost there. Continue to Powerful Startup Laws You Need To Know #29 – #42.