Is your startup a caterpillar or a pig?

Both caterpillars and pigs are ugly. If you wait long enough, a caterpillar will turn into a butterfly. No matter how long you wait, a pig will always be a pig. Hopefully your startup is a caterpillar. It’s not pretty. It’s your job to put lipstick on the caterpillar so that investors, staff, customers are…

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You got your price, but did you get your cash?

Well done. You negotiated a great deal. You won. You’re patting yourself on the back. Before you break out the bubbles, wait for the cash to show in the bank. There will be many occasions where you think the deal is done because you got your price. The deal is not done until you have…

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Always leave a line of retreat open

Not just for yourself. For your enemy too. A trapped enemy will lash out. She has nothing to lose. Rather leave her a way to get out of her position without losing face. That means not questioning the oppositions motives. Don’t get personal. Give your opponent a ladder to climb down.

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Don’t engage in personalities

You will have competition. You will have critics. You will have to defend yourself, and sometimes you’ll have to go on the attack. When you do, remember this: Don’t engage in personalities. Don’t get personal. Don’t play the man. When the noise dies down you don’t want a personal enemy.

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There’s no aspirin for cashflow headaches

You can’t just take a pill to make cashflow headaches go away. There’s only one way to solve cashflow problems. Sell more. Collect cash. Keep costs down. If you can’t do that, you can’t be an entrepreneur.

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Don’t soften the hard conversations

Sometimes you have to give critical feedback. Your employee is simply not cutting it. Last chance. The worst thing you can do is to be mielie-mouthed. First, you don’t get your message across, second, the recipient doesn’t realise he’s on a  final warning. Rather say it as it is. Give the person a fair chance…

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Everything you’re learning today will be needed tomorrow

There will be many trials in your journey as an entrepreneur. Shareholder politics, cashflow headaches, staff hassles. Every trial will teach you a lesson. Pay attention to the lesson. Every lesson will be applied one day, in a way you’d never anticipated. Your journey is leading you somewhere, and every lesson learnt will be needed…

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Make sure you have a sign

Sign’s are important. When you start your company, make a sign. Put it at your office entrance. Make sure people can see it. When visitors visit, they’ll be impressed. You have a sign, you must be legit! Make sure you have a sign.

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Do your homework

Whether you’re pitching to a customer, or an investor, or a regulator, or whoever, always do your homework. Find out what the counter-party wants from you. Find out what surprises he can spring. Find out what he can give to you. Find out everything. You may not get what you want, but you won’t go…

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Do the admin from day one

You might not be passionate about company secretarial work, or accounting, or taxes. You are not alone. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect it. Make sure all your admin is done from day one. It will save you headaches, late nights and cash later on. More important, if your admin is up to speed…

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If you’ve promised yourself to do something, do it.

Promised yourself to wake up at 5am every day? Do it. Promised yourself to phone every customer every week? Do it. Promised yourself to do a new deal every month? Do it. If you break one promise to yourself, you’ll break others. Don’t make light promises to yourself. Keep your promises.

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Keep your emotions out of it

It’s easy to let crooks get under your skin. Mark Zuckerberg must have been burning up inside when he was forced to pay-off the Winkelvoss twins so they would drop their lawsuit. But it was the only way for Facebook to move forward. Fighting would have hurt Facebook more than it hurt the Winkelvii. The…

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