I wish I knew that five years ago…

by Anthony Demangone

Oh, the power of a question.

Exhibit one? This article from Buffer.  It isn’t an article, really. Rather, it is a series of answers from successful entrenpreneurs to the same question.

What do you know now that you wish you knew five years ago?

This is great stuff.  A snippet?

“You can’t be everything for everyone” – Gary Swart

I wish I had known that even the best team with the best product will fail if the target market is not big enough to support pervasive adoption. And after you think big, I’ve learned you have to think small—a company must choose one or two concrete problems to solve and then solve them brilliantly, because a business will never be successful if it tries to be all things to all people.

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk

“Be patient” – Kate Matsudaira

A year in the world of startups can feel like 5 years in a larger company, and every year I seem to learn more and more. One thing I have learned over the last 5 years that has really stood out in my mind, though, is how important it is to be patient.

You hear these stories of people making $5k in revenue in the first month, or companies that have 100,000 users right off the bat, and so expectations of what is reasonable start to get somewhat distorted. The reality is that many successful businesses are built step by step, and that even the ones who do achieve crazy results have often had a long buildup (through their audience, founders, etc.).

I recently read an article that quoted Jeff Bezos, in which he said it takes 7 years to build a real business. For me, I have had to learn to focus on the long term and not get disappointed when you don’t see the crazy growth numbers often cited in startup success stories. It can take a lot of time for people to notice real value, but if you focus on your customers and building products people love, then you are on a path that — given enough time — will pan out.

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