Jared Goralnick, CEO of Awayfind and mentor to a several different accelerators such as 500 Startups and FoundeInstitute, opened the second day of RockPaperStartups in Rijeka by welcoming everybody and thanking Netokracija team for organizing “a truly inspiring conference”. He started by saying that he’s been an entrepreneur for a long time, and that he is here today to point out some of the key things about building up and managing a successful business.
Big victories: You are not Instagram
Goralnick continued by saying that it usually takes 5 years to create a solid business. When talking about getting acquired most people think of Instagram, but their product is not it and they are not going to score a 1 billion dollar deal in under 9 months. Therefore, Jared added, it is important to focus on scalability of your business.
He pointed out the Darkroom app, an application which resembles Instagram. Although the company that makes it wasn’t acquired by Facebook, they are doing really well thanks to their work ethics and ultimately, creating good products people like to use. Same thing goes for Rovio, he said, it took them more than 50 games before they hit it big with Angry Birds.
You’re going to put a lot of years into your business and that is going to become your identity.
OMGPOP is also a good example. In 2011 they were running out of money, but after they’ve created Draw Something which was pretty soon acquired by Zynga. Point being – you have to go through a journey in order to create a successful business Jared added.
Little victories: Creating a good team is essential
Goralnick told the audience that he really loves working with his team and that this is a thing that gets him up in the morning. His company, Awayfind, may not have a big user base but they are very passionate about the product and they get emails almost every day about it.
This was best showed when they spent more than 6 months developing a new feature. They made a huge bet on it but eventually it paid off as users loved the new improvements. However, it didn’t happen over night.
It just takes the long time to get through this stuff. Think about what motivates you personally. You may not work for a big and successful startup but on the other side you might love what you do. Don’t get worried about these things, they are something that makes you what you are.
People you spend the most time with are a pretty good indicator of what you are or might become he continued. If you spend more time with smart folks who are interested in startups and technology, over the time you will become one of them. But, as with all the other things – it takes time and it will definitely not happen over night.
Aim at the stars, there’s a chance you’ll end up somewhere in the middle or pretty high.
When it came to advertising your service, it’s all about getting to know the folks you’d like to meet or hang out with Jared added. If people don’t know who you are, make sure to be surrounded by the best one’s in the business. After some time, they’ll introduce you to others are people will start remembering you.
Goralnick pointed out that staying in touch with people is also vital to running a good business. Every three or six months you should be of use to them, sent them a tip, or a blogpost you’ve read. Ask people for advice as that will show them that you respect their opinion.
If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money.
Jared finished up by saying that one should also make room for a real time meetup. You should ask people out for coffee, take them to lunch, hustle like crazy. You should Skype or Hangout, as these tools can be very helpful with staying in touch. Video calls can get you closer to a person, even if you haven’t met them in the real life.