A year or so into this whole 'starting a company' thing, some stuff I've learned, in no order what so ever (they may be obvious, but we sure didn't learn them in business school):
- No matter how basic you think something is, you have blinders on, and it will still confuse some of your users/customers.
- Nothing is better in a business than a great, random, unsolicited testimonial from a user. Well, maybe cash is better.
- When someone pays for something, they have much higher expectations of the product than someone who uses something for free. Those expectations take a lot of time to manage. It's worth considering if your product is ready to be purchased yet...even if you have customers who will pay.
- People use your product in ways you never imagined, and don't do things the way you want them to. Fighting them or trying to force them to use it the way you want them to is a waste of time and effort. Letting your users define your product makes much more sense.
- Treating every user, even the ones who want to remove their account, like the most important thing on your schedule is good business. They should be the most important thing on your schedule.
- Everyone in your company at a startup is first and foremost a salesman followed closely by a customer service representative. Their third job title is CEO or CFO or VP of whatever. Sales and customer service are your first job.
- It's easy to forget about HR requirements in a startup...including your own. Sometimes taking 30 minutes to drink a beer away from the computer is good for the bottom line.
- The easiest way to not overspend is to not have any money.
- Never hire someone who can't do something better than you can...even better if you only hire people smarter than you.
- For all the stress and heartache and late nights and financial forecasting spreadheets and Ramen noodles, there's nothing like watching an idea come to fruition. Except for maybe cash.
Go build a startup. You won't regret it.