What founders and entrepreneurs think about culture, hiring, onboarding, and more.
Starting and running a business is anything but easy. Beyond simply developing a product or service that people actually want to buy, you’ve got to worry about things like hiring people, managing their time, growing company culture, and leading effectively. Sometimes it feels ridiculously overwhelming.
The good news?
There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who start and grow successful companies despite the mountains of work involved. To help you with the climb, we’ve captured seventeen quotes from some of our favorite start-up entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business leaders below. Keep reading to find out what they’ve learned about the start-up world and how you can apply it to your business.
Top Advice from Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Business Leaders
- Culture “Culture is more important than your product ever will be. Focus on it early and be willing to spend time and money to nurture it. Having real core values and core purpose will deliver better results than any other investment.”
– David Hauser, Co-founder and former CTO of Grasshopper (acquired by Citrix)
- Learning “The only shortcut that I’ve ever found is continuous learning. And there’s lots of ways to do that–whether it’s through mentors, friends, experiences–but I found the most efficient and highest ROI comes when you lean on books as the way to learn.”
– David Cancel, CEO of Drift and former CPO at HubSpot
- Being Human “The funny thing is that you’re actually a stronger leader and more trustworthy if you’re able to be vulnerable and you’re able to show your real personality. It’s a trust multiplier, and people really will want to work for you and be on a mission together with you.”
– Lars Dalgaard, General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz, founder and former CEO, SuccessFactors
- Getting and Giving Advice “Make up your own mind.”
– Andy Sparks, co-founder and COO, Mattermark
- Innovation “Ideas that most people derided as ridiculous have produced the best outcomes. Don’t do the obvious thing.”
– Fred Wilson, VC, co-founder of Union Square Ventures
- Productivity “Do fewer things, better.”
– Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot
- Vision “Lean out into the future.”
– Cameron Herold, COO of BackPocket COO and former co-founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK
- Hiring “Make sure you want to spend a lot of time with anyone you plan to hire.”
– Keith Pescosolido, Director of Recruiting and Operations at Drift
- Setting Priorities “It’s all about finding opportunities and figuring out whether you have time or money. If you have time, spend your time on the highest leverage things you can do for your business right now. If you have money, figure out how to spend your money as efficiently as possible by running as many simultaneous small experiments that you can.”
– Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg and Quick Sprout
- Team-building “If I take care of [my employees], making sure they are fulfilled professionally, safe, and cared for, then everything else about the business will fall into place.”
– Maria Bagby, Founder and Executive Director of Therapeutic Literacy Center
- Multi-tasking “Forget multi-tasking, and just focus.”
– Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, Wordstream
- Onboarding “It’s important to build a proper onboarding process for legal purposes as well as to establish a baseline of protocols that will help guide your company infrastructure and culture.”
– Eva Khoo, Senior Director of Operations, Luxe
- Employee Experience “I obsess over our employee experience day in and day out, and over how we invest, differentiate, and keep great people who we attract to our brand.”
– Katie Burke, Vice President of Culture and Experience, HubSpot
- Leadership “[W]hen you are a startup executive, nothing happens unless you make it happen. In the early days of a company, you have to take on eight to ten new initiatives a day or the company will stand still. There is no inertia that’s putting the company in motion. Without massive input from you, the company will stay at rest.”
– Ben Horowitz, co-founder and General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz, Author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Are No Easy Answers
- Trust “Once a team has lost confidence in its leader, it is nearly impossible to get it back.”
– Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO, HubSpot
- Failure “If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”
– Eric Ries, Entrepreneur and author, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
- Being Intentional “Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.”
– Tony Hsieh, Founder of Zappos, Author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose
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