The Pocket Guide of Essential Startup Advice

How the best founders achieve their 10 year plan in only 6 months.

Bram Krommenhoek
May 16, 2018 · 4 min read

The reality is that most entrepreneurs will never build a successful startup.

They pray for some magical event to help them achieve success. They’re not proactive and don’t honestly have the desire to solve their problems.

That doesn’t have to be you.

Other than most entrepreneurs, who wait for something external to happen, you can align your startup to do the brilliant things.

Sure — the greatest entrepreneurs are extremely intelligent. However, it’s more about the things they do repeatedly. It’s more about their software, not so much about their hardware.

Because of this, you can build a startup that creates tremendous impact.

The success you reach is 95% in your control.

Want to know how?


It’s been three years since I’ve joined my first startup. In the meantime, I’ve had the honor to work with over 40 startups.

Some of my advice is pretty specific to the startup. However, there is also advice that goes deeper and holds for each startup, no matter what industry.

This is what the successful entrepreneurs do different than the mediocre ones. I’ve seen this advice to be most game-changing for startups, and what separates the mediocre from the successful ones.

I know you’re short on time. That’s why I wanted to create this as a pocket guide. If you want to know more, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

For now, you can become the founder that builds successful startups.

Here’s how:


Just Focus On Your CUSTOMER.— Jack Ma

  • You can’t build something for someone if you can’t imagine the world through their eyes.
  • Success doesn’t depend on technology. It depends on meaningful problem-solving.
  • Find your 100 true fans, develop with and for them.
  • Build something people love, then focus on growth.
  • Ship yesterday, collect feedback, iterate.
  • Solve a “must-have-fixed” problem.
  • Listen to customers.

Individuals don’t build great companies, TEAMS do. — Mark Suster

  • The most important thing: be self-aware, empathize and understand your limitations.
  • Spend emotional time thinking about perspectives of everyone around you.
  • Everything breaks each time you triple in size, so be adaptable.
  • Pre-product-market-fit, find people who can get things done.
  • Post-PM-fit, find the people who can build the right systems.
  • Be open, honest and genuine in communication with team.
  • Read and share your company’s vision and goals daily.
  • Optimize for the ability to get stuff done.
  • Hire slowly, fire quickly.
  • Inspire by doing.
  • Don’t over-hire.

Starve your distractions, feed you FOCUS.

  • Identify existing solutions and the pain points in them, then stop worrying about them. The odds of death through suicide are 100X then of competition.
  • Provide value to your customers first, focus on acquisition and revenue next.
  • Write code, read stuff from brilliant entrepreneurs, talk and sell to users.
  • You don’t need more ideas to succeed. You need to make ideas happen.
  • Do what you love. Align startup with your vision and passion.
  • Skip events, unless if that’s where your customers are.
  • Raising funding is a vanity metric for success.
  • Team size is a vanity metric for success.
  • Valuation is a vanity metric for success.
  • Focus on effectiveness, not efficiency.
  • Look for things out of consensus.
  • Focus on one problem at a time.
  • Go full-time or don’t go at all.

CULTURE eats strategy for breakfast. — Peter Drucker

  • Prioritize relationships — with co-founders, significant other, family, customers, team.
  • Pre-product-market fit = change fast, be adaptable, take advantage of your size.
  • Take responsibility for failure, credit others for success.
  • Smart people should make things.
  • Have strong views, loosely held.
  • Always put your team on #1.
  • Put your customers on #1.1.
  • Ask more questions.
  • Mobilize for action.
  • Pay it forward.

When HEALTH is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied. — Herophilus

  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually.
  • Staying sane makes the roller coaster bearable.
  • Meditate!!!

In Conclusion

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” — Isaac Newton

Most founders will never surpass the average level.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

Are you following this advice?

How much effort are you putting on them?

Do you want to build a successful startup?

Ready to orient yourself to going big?

You can do this.

Two last things…

If you liked this article, please do 👏 and share it with your friends. Remember, you can clap up to 50 times — it really makes a big difference for me.

And if you want to read more of my “Oh Shit”s and “Aha”s, subscribe here.


This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 325,521+ people.

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Bram Krommenhoek

Written by

Failed founder. I share my "Aha"s and "Oh shit"s. As seen in The Mission, The Startup, uxdesign.cc

The Startup

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