The First Question To Ask Yourself When Launching A Startup


As it turns out, it’s “really, really hard” to be an entrepreneur.

At least, that’s the argument that long-time entrepreneur and founder of Foundation Cap Steve Vassallo makes.

The most important thing that anyone who is getting started in a business can do is to understand his or her motivation. “It’s profoundly important for you to start with a clear understanding of what your own personal goal is as the founder,” says Vassallo.

Remembering this could be a light when things become dark and difficult in the beginning process of your startup.

Here are some other things Vassallo says that one should keep in mind when starting a new business.


Understanding the motivation should the first thing any entrepreneur needs to provide. This will be helpful for the ups and downs that will take place on the startup journey. Make sure to also measure this along the process, building a way to show yourself if the goals are matching your motivation.

It is also important to build your business with people who model the behavior you want to instill in your organization. The hard part of any business is what happens after it launches. Building a culture that thinks more about the process of that launch, as well as the work that takes place next, will yield much more positive outcomes.

Problem (Opportunity)

“Invention is the mother of necessity.” Many think that it is the other way around, but the truth is that the best products create their own market. Take, for example the iPhone. It dropped out of the sky and no one realized they needed it, until after the market was created. When thinking of a “problem,” try to see if it is something that can create its own market. Most times, this is where the really special products are born.


“Assume everything is going to change.” Why? Because no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Remember, this is a process and the greatest companies are built with teams that enlighten each other. Solutions are found within this space.

User engagement is also key in creating a solution. It is important to build products that have user empathy. Keeping in mind that what the customer wants, and how a user would feel approaching your product for the first time, is essential.


Having a team that is filled with people who feel obligated to do their job or are in fear of losing their position will not contribute to the success of your startup. Instead, the best companies have people who are passionate about their work and love what they do. It is sometimes better to hire someone who has a thirst for knowledge over the person who has had the position multiple times before. The hungry person will be a true asset to the team because they will contribute due to their love of the work.

Hire for talent, but rent for skills. Consultants can be a great skillset to invest in when the talents of employees are have some gaps. It is essential to choose wisely in this part of the process because the success of your startup comes from the base of your team.

For more tips on getting your company started, check out the video below:

About the author: Stephanie Kariuki

Stephanie Kariuki is a Masters Journalism student at Georgetown University. She admires clever writing skills, unique perspectives and has a thirst for reading as much as possible. Stephanie graduated with Honors from The Ohio State University in 2013 with her B.A. in Journalism and a minor in International Affairs.

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