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Five Motivational Tips for Launching a Startup in 2017

Five Motivational Tips for Launching a Startup in 2017

Launching a startup is tricky business. There are few detailed roadmaps for how to do it successfully and most of the time it comes down to a good idea, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. Not all startups are created equal.

But it’s not all just walking blindly in the dark without a guide. There are some things you can do and not do when launching a startup in 2017. Here is a list of five things to consider:

1. Just do it

As the part time philosopher and famous shoemaker once said – just do it. Begin. Whatever doubts you have, stop. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly from the beginning, or about making mistakes – you’re going to – so simply push them aside, don’t let them get in your way.

Nothing comes from nothing. Register the domain. Write some code. Get your logo designed. Your willpower is an incredible asset – it’s like a force of nature.

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So do it. Now. Just start. Why not?

2. Singular brand focus

Branding is crucial for any new business. You are your brand, and if it’s unclear to you what you are and who you are, then it will be unclear for everyone else too. Valentin Stalf, co-founder of the online-only bank N26, discusses their strategy here.

Essentially, they decided to build a mobile-first app, an app built with great design as the guiding principle. Rather than building something purely functional, and later asking the user to learn how to use their app because it has some potentially good features they might want to use, they built an app that people want to use – that people understand how to use right away. There was nothing accidental about it, their focus when developing the app was solely on making it a good experience for the end user and so far it’s succeeding for them.

What is your focus? What will you do that nobody else has thought of yet? What will you do that’s better than what’s currently available.

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3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn coined the phrase (and later wrote a book about it) “live life in permanent beta.” This is an important message as it conveys one of the struggles encountered in every startup. It’s easy to become confident when things are going well, and it’s easy to find yourself looking internally rather than externally for answers to questions that arise.

You’re not going to know everything. Sometimes you’ll need the advice of experts. Just remember that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask questions, it’s a sign of strength – of knowing your limits. Just as it’s equally important to remember that there is no finish line. Your product will never be done. Keep working and keep asking questions.

Live your life in permanent beta.

4. Find funding from the right investors

It’s important to surround yourself with people who share your vision. This applies to employees and investors alike. It’s critical that your investors understand what it is you’re trying to achieve with the business, that they understand and trust your decisions even if the path forward isn’t always clear.

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There are a few great options online to help you get started with finding the right people. Kabbage is one of the best options out there right now. It takes moments to apply and review your business performance. There are many options out there from companies like Square, with Square Capital or Fundbox. There have never been so many options available, and it’s key to get this partnership right if you want to grow your business the way you want.

5. Don’t lose your great company name

Registering your business name online is a snap with a multitude of online business registration sites. There’s no doubt that you should register your business name as soon as you know what it is, and it’s never been easier to do so.

Beyond losing your name to someone else, in most states, it’s the law. The exception to this is if you’re a sole proprietor or freelancer using your own name to conduct your business. John Doe, the freelance carpenter, doesn’t need to register if the business is solely in his name. Otherwise, it’s the law, as the public needs to know who is running the company.

With any online services, it’s easy to do. So don’t wait! Register your business today, and in 2017 you have one less thing to worry about on your path to conquering the world of business.

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As 2017 is right around the corner, now is the time to get started with your company today! With a new administration coming, it’s a great chance to kick off your new idea!

Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via stocksnap.io

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Published on January 28, 2020

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

As someone who has been in recruiting for over 10 years I can tell you the interview is vitally important to getting that new job you really want. During the interview process, there will most likely be at least 2 interviews, a phone interview and an in person interview. Both are important.

Companies can of course have different interviewing processes but in general, there is at least one phone interview, also known as a phone screen, and a live, in-person interview. The in-person interview can be with one person or it might be with a variety of people. While they are both important, the live interview is typically the one that will make or break you as a candidate for the position you are interviewing for.

Many of the interview questions we will review here will more likely come up during the live interview. But it’s a good idea to be prepared for them on the phone interview as well.

To illustrate how important the live interview is, I’ll tell you about my search that happened a year ago. I’d decided it was time to move on from the role I’d been in for a little over 6 years. As I started researching and looking for a new opportunity, I began down the path with 2 companies. With the one I landed with, I’d had 3 separate phone screens, each one an hour long. They must have thought they went well because I was asked to fly to the city where the corporate office is at and do an in-person interview. — with 8 people.

Yeah, it was a long day. The good news is I rocked the interviews across the board. I flew home that evening and the following day, I received a call with the job offer. That was less than 24 hours after I’d had the in person interview. This is how important the live interview is.

So how to ace an interview? We can dive right in to helping you nail the 10 most tricky interview questions:

1. What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

This is a personal favorite of mine. The primary reason for this question is not to actually find out what your biggest weakness is. Unless of course, you say something like “showing up to work on a regular basis,” then it’s probably going to get you kicked out of consideration for the role.

The main reason for someone asking you this question is to see if you are self-aware. That is if you know your weaknesses and are smart enough to account for them.

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The smart play here is to answer in a modest way. You want to be able to show that your biggest weakness actually has an upside. For instance, I usually say that mine is impatience. Which is true, I like to get things done. But what I ensure what I point out is that even though I am impatient, it’s because I like to crank and get a lot of work done.

2. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Interestingly enough, a lot of people don’t have an answer to this question. It’s designed to find out if you’ve actually done research on the company and if you are excited about this position.

When I ask this question, many people have told me something like “because it looks like a good opportunity”. I mean, can you be any more generic?

The key to answering this is to show you’ve done research on the company and that you are enthusiastic about the actual position. Companies want people that are excited to work there, not just someone that shows up for a paycheck.

3. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Employers are asking you this question to see if you have somewhat of a plan for your career. It doesn’t have to be completely mapped out in a step by step manner but, a general overall plan is good to see. It means you are goal oriented and are working towards something.

Don’t worry about answering in a way that states you are planning on sticking with the company until you retire. Rather, focus more on how it’s important to you to continue to learn and get better and better at what you do. Companies like to hire self-motivated people.

4. Tell Me About a Time You Messed Up

Or tell me about a time something didn’t work out the way you planned. Similar in concept. The key here is to show that you take accountability for your actions and how you react to things going wrong.

Companies like to see that you are willing to accept responsibility for the things you oversee and own up when you are wrong. People that always find a way to blame their missteps on other people or circumstances typically don’t make good team mates.

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The other component here is things don’t always go as planned, how good are you at adapting and thinking on your feet.

5. Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Job?

This may seem like a place to launch into all the things you don’t like about your current job. Or to talk about what a terrible person your boss is. Don’t do it. That’s the path you do not want to go down. And that’s really what this question tends to prod out of many people.

If I am interviewing you and ask this question and you tell me all the ways your boss doesn’t appreciate you and your company has terrible leadership, I’m thinking what you’re going to be saying about me in a year when you are interviewing somewhere else.

Make sure you are framing your answer in a way that doesn’t shed bad light on your current or most recent employer. You want to focus on things like you’ve enjoyed working for the company but your growth options are limited there so you are exploring outside opportunities.

6. How Would Your Current Manager Describe You?

This question gives you the opportunity to show off your strengths and what your boss appreciates about what you bring to the table. You want to focus on the positive traits that your boss likes and how it helps you in your role.

What you do not want to do is sprinkle in the things your boss doesn’t think as highly of. Don’t say something like my boss would describe me as a focused worker, at least on the days I make it into the office.

7. Tell Me About a Time You Overcame an Obstacle

Another one of my favorite questions. Interviewers ask this question to see if you are able to deal with roadblocks.

Things don’t always go smoothly, so having people on the team who are able to solve problems has huge upside.

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Being able to overcome obstacles is a great trait to have. Make sure you have a few stories about how something didn’t go as planned that caused a challenge and how you were involved in solving the problem. It’s a way of turning a bad situation into a good one.

8. Why Should We Hire You?

If you are at the point of a live interview, you should be highly interested in the position.

By this point, you should have a pretty clear picture of what the role is and how your skills and experience will help you succeed. The reason this question is being asked is to see if you are the right candidate for this role.

This gives you a great opportunity to tell your interviewer how your expertise will positively impact the role. Right now, you are in the spotlight to clearly show that your experience is the perfect fit for the position and why. Shine on!

9. What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

Employers tend to ask this question to gain an understanding of what your big wins were. What are the really impactful things that have happened during your career and how you were the reason why they happened.

This is another great opportunity for you to toot your own horn. What you want to be conscious of is how you tell the story about your biggest achievement. You want to make sure you say why it was such a big achievement.

If possible, it’s always good to include your team as part of the big win. Employers love to hire people who can make things happen but, it’s also important they understand the importance of team work.

10. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

You might be asking yourself why this is a tricky question. Honestly, it’s not a tricky question if you are prepared for it.

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What the interviewer is looking for here is how interested and excited you are for the position. You’d be surprised at how many people answer this question with a blank stare or have no questions prepared.

Again, if you are at a live interview, you should be highly interested in a position and the company. You will convey how interested you are in the opportunity with some well thought out questions to ask.

You don’t want to just ask one question like “How often is payday”? Have at least 4 to 5 questions prepared but don’t overwhelm your interviewer with dozens and dozens of questions. Show that you’ve given some serious thought to this position by coming prepared with solid questions to ask.

The Bottom Line

There you go, insight to nailing the 10 most tricky questions during the interview process. There are, of course, many other questions you might get asked during the interview process but, these tend to be the ones that trip most people up.

Remember to take your time and thoroughly prepare for the interview. You don’t have to memorize your answers or anything but having a good idea of how you’d answer these questions will help you ace the next interview.

Here’s to being career advancement ready!

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Featured photo credit: Romain V via unsplash.com

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