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Why do people keep chasing other people's ideas?

The Internet is full of success stories of millionaires who started from nothing. It's so natural to want to copy them, follow their advice, replicate their actions... hoping that we may succeed in the same way. Vision is like hyperspace for Skywalker: a way to reach your far-sighted aim no matter what! Cut and paste formulas only enrich those who sell them. Success is linked to a large extent to luck (being in the right place at the right time) and most importantly to the inner voice of those who made thing move their way. Following overused concepts sold by random influencers is more likely to sidetrack and distract you. It's hard enough to keep track of your own product roadmap: follow your own learnings and your vision no matter what. But that's what pays off in the long run!
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How can I balance my cashflow and my product development?

Unless you have a regular source of income that covers all of your product development spendings, you'll have to continuously make sure you don't overspend. This has hard consequences: postpone work that isn't top priority, be frugal when dealing with salaries, focus on revenue growth instead of quality. Bootstrapping a startup requires to make hard choices to preserve your cashflow! Cashflow is king for most startups: even if you hand team problems skilfully, maintain a upbeat pace compared to competitors, money problems are still able to kill your business relatively quickly. One way of handling this is to have several regular revenue streams that make it possible to invest in building a quality product over time even if you don't get any funding. Stable resources are the key to a sustainable product roadmap!

What are the factors that investors use to rank startups?

You may already have selected the key metrics you need to monitor your business and you may already be working towards optimising all of them. But this will never be enough if you're not scoring high on the ranking factors your potential investors are using. What's on your radar? Key ranking factors are a top priority! If you're a social media or a community, you need to have tons of users. Good for you if they're very active or extremely well segmented, but you'll be compared with other projects in terms of users, that's a given. If you're a business, then you Monthly Recurring Revenues are what counts, no matter what great customers and relationships you may have. It may sound simple but it's easy to be distracted with the many different factors that you may be tracking: make sure you investing relevant time and money towards the ranking factors that key investors expect from you.

How can I get customers' feedback even before the official launch?

Most startup plans involve growing fast and big... which let's face it, never really happens until far too late for the whole project to survive. Virtual customers are better than too few real customers... However it's not necessary to wait for real customers before you can start gathering interesting feedback that makes sense. Why so? By making a prototype (or a Minimum Viable Product if your product doesn't exist yet) you'll be able to attract people who will act as virtual customers and provide feedback that can be very close to real customer's one. Plan your prototype carefully enough to make people's feedback relevant but don't let it take too long because it'll prevent you from starting the feedback collection early. If all goes well, the virtual customers should turn into real ones once the product is out!

What are good tips to play to my strengths?

Being an entrepreneur requires extraordinary abilities in order to be able to cope with unforseen situations in unfriendly environments, sometimes going against your own nature to get out of complex situations. Entrepreneurs have awesome skills but aren't good at everything! However a level of humility is necessary too as no one can do everything well and it's counterproductive to oversell yourself as it may break people's trust. Knowing your own strengths, relatively to others, and playing to them is an important key to succeed in entrepreneurship. Don't waste time trying to improve on every subject at the same time, choose the one thing you already master and aim at becoming perfect at it!

How do I know if my business idea is adapted to where I'm located?

All investors are different but trends and habits make them more or less attracted to certain kinds of projects. How do you know whom to contact? Sorry but you won't get money if your business idea isn't suiting your investors' minds If you have a project that requires early stage investments in order to achieve scaling targets, it'll be very hard to find investors outside of the Silicon Valley. Tip: if you live in Europe, don't waste too much time trying to convince everyone your risky idea is worth it and focus on validating your business model as early as possible. In the end, make sure you know what the ecosystems expect from projects like yours so that it can be your daily goal, from making money on day 1 to gaining significant market share as early as possible.

What's the value of keeping track of my number of users?

If you're running an app or website, keep an eye on your number of users! For at the beginning it'll grow steadily but it'll peak and stagnate... Be ready to identify that moment and test all you can to break the ceiling. It's not enough to have growing figures, you must aim for the fastest growth possible to avoid stagnation Everyday new people will start using the Internet so numbers tend to grow automatically online. But of course that's not enough. What should you do to keep numbers growing? A number of methods exist, from A/B testing to involving your users to come up with new ideas. Whatever you do, make sure you monitor adequately and measure performance!