10 rules for startups

Loic Le Meur, a serial entrepreneur who founded the very popular French blog hosting site, uBlog, has been a long standing evangelist for putting ideas out there, in full public view. The Financial Times published an article “Share ideas to the Maximum”, where Loic put forward his 10 rules for entrepreneurs who want to be successful in business.

image I have argued against the current rage of “stealth mode” start-ups. Companies can lose out on a great opportunity to talk to their users and customers when they plunge ahead with product development without any intermediate live validation. I have seen a few start ups who unveiled their fantastic product to the market only to realize that there were other companies with similar products that were in some cases even better designed. Others have found that technology had skipped a generation between the time they started to build their product, until when they were ready to release it, and that operating systems or other key pieces of software were no longer compatible with their killer apps. While there might be a few cases where stealth is warranted or justified, most entrepreneurs stand to gain much more by getting their products under the bright lights as early as possible.

Loic Le Meur’s 10 rules of business success are:

● Don’t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible

● Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.

● Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.

● Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.

● Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.

● Be the first to recognize a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.

● Don’t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.

● Don’t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.

● Don’t plan a big marketing effort. It’s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.

● Don’t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.


One Response to “10 rules for startups”

  1. By Brett Hill on Dec 11, 2021 | Reply

    Excellent points Toni! I am a firm believer that you have to get your idea out there and determine whether or not it is an idea others will act on or just an idea you like. There are so many ways (just using Internet resources) to get a feel whether or not your idea has legs.

    Developing two start ups with two separate management teams, I’ve learned alot. The most valuable lesson is not going out to people sooner with my idea and being able to further develop it using their input. I probably wasted a couple years.

    One day it just hit me. No matter how passionate you are about something, if it’s nothing to other people, you can’t make something out of it. That’s an old sying I just made up.

    Beyond getting your idea out there and learning from discussions, you absolutely have to have a plan. I hate the templated business plans with all the formalities and all the emphasis on the right management team. It’s all so cliche to me-but don’t get me wrong, I do respect the process and the need for this type of organization. With that said, I beleive a lot of great people with great ideas are being passed on because they won’t or can’t follow the rules or formalities.

    The person and the idea should be the highest priority in this whole process-putting the formalities ahead of these is tragic and ass-backwards. You can’t create a leader with vision, tenacity, drive and creativity but you can build and execute a great business plan around them and their idea.

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