Want to tap in to the best startup advice from entrepreneurs who are out there doing it? Welcome to ‘500 Founders’ where we ask innovators from around New Zealand for their top insights for first time startup founders.
Janelle Fenwick – Founder
“Surround yourself with the right people to help support you on your startup journey.”
“This is super important. It is like anything in life, if you surround yourself with positive, productive energy you will get a much better outcome all round. I have definitely made the mistake in the past by choosing the wrong people to do business with and when I started Teulo, it was really important to me to find a team and investors who share a similar vision and purpose. It can make or break your business. The right people will help your business thrive and grow, the wrong fit will be detrimental. Do your due diligence and take the time to find your tribe.
It is also really important to not undervalue what you have. We can be really guilty of not realising just how awesome our ideas are and then giving away too much of our company. I wish I had REALLY understood the value of my idea early on and then I would have done a lot of things differently. It is all part and parcel of startup life but the key is to surround yourself with like-minded people who can share your vision and don’t sell yourself too short.”
Jack Coleman – Founder
“Do less and do it well.”
“That means reducing the scope of both what you offer, and who you do it for. When you start out (and cashflow is limited) it’s very tempting to try do everything for everyone, this approach keeps you busy and feels good but it doesn’t scale.
A good quote I try keep in mind is ‘businesses don’t die of starvation, they die of indigestion’. Focus on what you do well and target your ideal customer.”
Lane Litz – Cofounder (EXITED)
“Accelerate your journey by shamelessly asking for advice and feedback from the best and brightest.”
“You’ll be surprised how many busy subject matter experts, investors, and founders are more than willing to give back to the startup ecosystem by donating their time and knowledge. Founders who are one or two steps ahead of you in their journey are the most helpful, as they’ve already made and learned from their mistakes.
Remember – if you don’t ask, you will never receive. And when you make it big, pay it forward!”
Frayne Cooke – Cofounder
“Learn the art of storytelling.”
“An entrepreneur, this magazine’s namesake, is one who bears the risk of uncertainty and enjoys the reward. An entrepreneur is a salesperson, and every salesperson must be a master storyteller.
Some of us are born with a natural gift for telling stories. All of us are born with a brain that craves them. Stories connect and persuade us. They bypass the modern cortex of our cerebrum and dig deep into the primordial regions of our limbic system that we have little to no control over. For better or worse, we are a species driven by emotion. It is why we forget what someone said or did but remember how they made us feel.
As a founder, it is essential in almost everything you do professionally and personally. From designing products to marketing and sales. From recruiting talented people to join your mission and share your vision to constructing a pitch deck narrative that pulls the future forward, capturing both imaginations and capital. It strengthens life’s most human of things, relationships. Family bonds, new friendships, a partnership with your future spouse, or helping your children understand complex ideas.
I was ignorant of the importance of storytelling early in my career and only recently decided to study the art of it. I regret not committing sooner. Learning the art of storytelling sits at the top of my list in discussions with new and aspiring startup founders. Prioritise learning the art of storytelling, and you and the things you touch will grow.”