The truth about entrepreneurship is rarely told. There’s too much focus on growth, success and egos for people to grasp that building a startup is really a management problem and not an ideation, product or customer problem.

Understanding how managing startups is different from managing a real company is the most elementary factor in succeeding as entrepreneur. The number one cause of startup deaths isn’t a bad idea or lack of customers but mismanagement by founders.

By far the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking they can make it on their own. The reality is that startups need more help than established companies. Why so many entrepreneurs aren’t getting this is the real tragedy. Before money and other fancy stuff, it’s simple yet practical advice and a strong peer network.

Without committed mentors genuinely wanting us to succeed, the chaos of building and running a startup takes the better of us. Not perhaps in the first or second year, but in the third or fourth. As any entrepreneur will tell you: the hill is longer and steeper than anyone could ever have imagined.

Lesson number one in managing a startup is therefore never to venture alone. This applies to teams too that easily get torn by conflicts among co-founders. Knowing whose advice to listen to is equally crucial and by far the best advice you can get is from your peers. From experienced people who just have or are going through the same issues as you are. Forget gurus and millionaires so many of us flock to hear at events, it’s the everyday things that get us through the day that matter.

The saddest part of entrepreneurship is that in 2015 we still have no real management programmes for startups and entrepreneurs. HUB13 startup management mentoring programme STARTSMART is designed to correct that wrong. It offers: 

  1. a strong peer network,
  2. personal mentors and
  3. an opportunity to learn vital startup management skills.

The programme lays a foundation for growth, but recognises that usually avoiding the unnecessary mistakes entrepreneurs typically make are far more important than rushing to conquer the world.

Personally I was always too busy or too ashamed to admit the things I didn’t know. I seriously thought that as entrepreneur you had to fake it till you made it and showing you weaknesses was to be avoided. My attitude was completely wrong but I also didn’t know where to look for help. I have made too many mistakes and wasted too much time doing things that took me nowhere. Now I want to pass my knowledge forward and if you want to do so too and wish to join our pool of mentors please contact me by email or phone!

Have a look and join our programme here. There are no formal requirements as long as you’re an entrepreneur. At STARTSMART everyone’s equal! We fill the programme on a first come first serve basis while paying close attention to group dynamics. We look for positive, hungry and open-minded entrepreneurs.

Ola Sundell

ola@hub13.fi
040 549 47 55

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