The Most Important Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

We have learned a lot about entrepreneurship since the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute was founded in 2001. These lessons have come from experience, research, and collaboration. To help share some of these insights, we asked some of our thousands of alumni and current students to share the most important tips they think entrepreneurs should know. Here is what they said:

Solve a Real Problem

“Be sure you’re solving a real and prominent problem with your business. Oftentimes, people think that the most successful businesses are the most unique and innovative ideas. However, the most successful businesses are the ones that solve the largest problems and relentlessly continue their pursuit of product market fit.”

Mark Pittman, founder, Blyncsy

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

“You can’t be afraid to fail, because that’s inevitable, you’re gonna. … If you go in with the mindset that if it does happen that’s okay because I kind of expected it at some point, it really helps overcome the depression that competes for space in your head when you do fail.”

Brian Parker, co-founder, uAir

Be Willing to Learn

“It doesn’t matter how much you know but more about how much you are willing to learn and listen. Average people can jump into tough roles and thrive, but you need to be willing to fight for growth. Surround yourself with smart people who will challenge your thoughts as well as lift you up.”

Aaron Kc Hsu, Founder, Blerp

Seek Different Backgrounds

“There’s a lot of value that comes in having a different background, especially in education. So many of today’s problems are multi-disciplinary and not just in the startup world, so by combining your new interests with your previous education and experience, you can set yourself up well to meet those problems and make yourself an advantage for any team.”

Jared Pieper, engineering project manager, Apple

Find a Good Mentor

“A good mentor will go a long way. Strengthen your inner circle, because they will be your rock whenever it gets too crazy to handle.”

Haley Zimmerman, founder, Kara Tempe Kids

Try, Then Keep Improving

“Be a doer, not just a planner or a thinker. Sometimes there are challenges but just try. You’ll learn something and then fine tune it. Gradually, you will get better and better at that — but ideas have no value until you execute them.”

Dhaval Chokshi, co-founder, HelloGM

Be Patient

“If you believe that you have an idea that solves the genuine problem out there that would positively change thousands of people’s lives, go and figure out the right team, execute it with total commitment, and you have the success story waiting. Remember two P’s – perseverance and patience. Do not get distracted by others’ quick successes and quit or pivot too soon. Building a good product and good company takes time, and that is worth the time.”

Viral Shah, co-founder, HelloGM

Money Talks

“When you get real people to write checks, you prove that the dogs will eat the dog food.”

Josh Eckman, founder, Carterra

Listen to Your Customer

“Choose your customers wisely. Not everybody can provide helpful feedback. Define your ideal customer and sell to them, listen to their feedback, ignore the peanut gallery. Up until you’ve got a large product-market fit, staying specialized and listening to your perfect customers will bring you the most success.”

Dylan Turner, co-founder,

Break Things Early

“Break things, send things out the door quickly, and get the feedback you need – and do it early, when there’s less to lose. It’s okay to fail at that kind of stuff if you use it as a lesson for future success.”

Josh Hadley, co-founder, Hadley Designs

Don’t Overanalyze

“Talk less and do more. People stress out too much about finding their ‘one true purpose’ when honestly what you want in life will always change. This can often lead to analysis paralysis and nothing gets done. Just go out and do stuff until you find what you like.”

William Pepper, founder, Parq

Celebrate Small Wins

“Celebrate your wins, even if they are small. Had I internalized the early successes and wins in the first couple years of my DJing, I have no doubt the business could have accelerated at a much faster pace. Acknowledge that you are doing great things, accept them, and move forward with confidence.”

Parker Andriese, founder, DJ Alive

Find the Right People

“Connect with the right people. If you are working on a product, get the right subject-matter expert involved. Make sure that there is a market for it, because as brilliant as it may seem, if nobody wants to use it, that doesn’t matter.”

Sathya Vijayakumar, clinical operations manager, Intermountain Healthcare

Believe in Your Idea

“Don’t give up just because someone doesn’t like your idea. Throughout our early days, we received tons of pushback, and consistently came in last place. We could have called it quits, but we knew our idea was good.”

Colton Garner, co-founder, Neighbor

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