4 Pieces of Advice For Anyone Looking to Start Their Own Business

Starting your own business is hard. The unfortunate truth is that most people who have never started their own business before form their beliefs about what it would be like from the few success stories.

These days it’s Snapchat, Bitmoji, Uber, and the others we have heard a million times. We don’t hear about the other 99.9% of companies that never make it to that limelight, because, well, why would we?

Before launching my own app, I was given a lot of advice, some that I listened to, and some that I wish I had. Here are some of them.

1. “No one has the answers. And if you meet anyone who claims they do, stay away from them!”

I once met with an investor who told me this. When you start your own business, you either think you have the solution to a problem not being solved, or that you can do it better or differently than someone else. It takes a ton of vision and passion starting your own business, and there is no one right way of approaching it.

When I set out to start developing my app, I quickly realized that there were hundreds of ways we could execute on my idea.

How did we want people to feel when they downloaded our app?

Which actions were the most important for them to take when using it?

There are thousands of questions like these that you will have to address, whether or not you are starting a tech company. All you can do is take the information you have and make the best decision you can with it.

2. Listen

Just as others don’t have all the answers, neither do you. All of us are smarter than one of us, and chances are, your company will not succeed if you’re not ALWAYS looking for feedback.

Feedback can come in many different shapes and sizes, and it comes from everyone– investors, customers, friends, family, or others who have started similar businesses before you. If your product or service isn’t getting better, then it’s getting worse.

Most of the ideas that have made my app successful have come from listening to what others think, combining it with the information I had previously, and making educated decisions.

3. Don’t forget why you’re doing it

As I mentioned earlier, starting a successful business is extremely difficult. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. There will be times when you’ll be so busy that you’ll forget what the end goal is; what you’re trying to accomplish.

Don’t lose sight of that passion deep inside that motivated you to start the business in the first place.

The “why” will give you the strength to persevere during the difficult times, and will also guide the company. The most important thing during those times is to stay true to yourself, the company, and its overall mission.

4. Don’t be afraid of change

Startups are a constant stream of change. The product will change, your marketing strategies will change, your messaging will change, and it will change A LOT.

Listen to the feedback you’re getting from all parties and don’t be afraid to act on it. Things very rarely end up the same way they started out, and just because it’s not the same doesn’t mean it’s not better.

As you might realize, many of the things I’ve mentioned contradict one another. You have to listen, but you also have to follow your gut. You have to change, but you also have to stay true to yourself. The key is balance.

Find the right balance of listening, changing, staying true to the vision, and staying away from the people who think they know best, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Good luck!

Founder and CEO
Zach Gray is the Founder and CEO of Strivr, a mobile app company that lets students ask other members of their community for everyday help. Zach is committed to reducing the barriers to "help" and to leveraging technology for social good.