had a great opening keynote at StartupCamp Montreal 5
, highlighting 10 things entrepreneurs should not avoid. She covered all of the basics and the few I think are worth highlighting are:Vision and Focus
This is a given, and it's mentioned all the time. But Chris went on to explain the difference and how it is critical to manage the two. Vision is the big picture, where are you going? How are you changing the world? Focus is the micro view, is critical to achieving this vision as you need to pick you little battles to win first. She ended this point with "You can eat the elephant, just one bit at a time." Measurement and Metrics
This a sections that is often overlooked and it should be used to answer the simplest question - how do you define progress or success? Is it through page views, unique visitors or number of users? If you aren't measuring how do you know when you've reached milestones? Or worse, missing milestones. Yellow Lights
Chris gave a story about a startup that planned ahead for the next 3 months, they were going to shut down a division if certain things didn't come through. The 3 months were reached and the contacts still weren't coming through so the company tried for another 2 month. In the end the division was shut down but at a much higher cost then it should have been. Most startups are smallest enough to fail and ignoring the yellow lights is a quick way to do it. Surround yourself with smart people
She summed it up perfectly with the idea that the founders should be the dumbest people in the company. As a founder or leader your job is to live the vision and values of the company and be involved in every aspect of it. You may be good at one specific part of the business but if you pretend your the best at all your only fooling yourself. Don't neglect details
"Pay now or a lot more later" was the outcome for avoiding this point. For startups without a number of staff the founders often spend most of there time on the sexier parts of the business. Accounting, finance and other mundane tasks might get pushed aside. And it is as simple as not staying on top of your accounting that when it comes time for due diligence your out $100K in accounting fees in what could have been 1 hour a week for the last two years. Lose site of values
Values are like the road your taking to get to your vision. It determines how your company makes decisions. It's very easy to write these values down on a card and never act on them again. Any good company know it's values and lives them everyday. Culture
Chris described two types of culture, accidental or deliberate. The latter is what everyone should be striving for, it's created by the founders the first day and all employees entering the company embrace it. Accidental culture is what happens when the founders neglect instilling culture into the employees and the employees take it into their own hands to do it. Often when the employees build the culture the companies success is the last thing at it's core.
Chris finished her keynote stating: "At the risk of sounding like Nike, Just do it". She talked about the number of pitches and ideas she hears and in the end the best advice was usually, do it.
Roberto Rocha also wrote a great article
inspired by StartupCamp about improving your pitch using principles of journalism. It's worth checking out. Read More