Using our consumer-facing platform, 4MeNU, nsight2day helps individuals and organizations truly engage with one another. Using innovative tags, users can share information with their network in context. We call these messages Gems. Follow her @stephbeer.
Who is your hero?
My grandfather, who is Swiss (this makes sense if you know me).
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Don’t be low-end. This means low margin, but it also means don’t behave badly. The other piece of advice I love is don’t “trade up” when it comes to who you spend your time with. Your friends matter more than ever when you’re starting a business, and just because you meet flashy people doesn’t mean that the originals aren’t worth their weight in gold for you as a person and an entrepreneur.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
We were a B2B team that tried to build a B2C platform. Stick to your strengths. Also, build a few similar offerings for several different types of client/customer groups and then see how hard it is to sell to each. There are big differences between selling to an individual, a university, and a Fortune 500 company. Each is a unique challenge; you may be better or, um, less well-positioned to sell to them.
Yoga. Setting your mind straight can make or break your morning.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Always try to pay based on performance and limit all your fixed costs. Try not to sign a lease (that goes for yourself and for your business).
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Stop going to tech meetups (unless you’re recruiting) and start talking to more senior people who have decades of business experience. More pointedly, stop listening to people who have launched successful businesses by “asking my friends from my financial services days to invest.”
There are a lot of people who are professionally/socially well-positioned to win in the startup environment, and their stories aren’t that interesting or helpful to most entrepreneurs. Actually, just avoid the whole “founders cult” to the greatest extent possible (this gets back to staying close with old friends).
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
When we have consistent revenue that covers our costs and lets our original investor make his money back (and returns that are greater than or equal to the returns he would have gotten had he put his money into an index fund) — that’s it.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.