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5 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

1. Understand What Your Market Wants

Just because entrepreneurs think they have a great solution, it doesn’t mean the market agrees. “Most products fail not because they fail to develop a product, but because they fail to develop their market,” Mr. Vidra said. “The first piece of advice would be: Build stuff people want. So if you think you have a great solution for a problem, talk to people who are encountering the problem, and find out that this is really the solution that they want.”

Build stuff people want

2. Keep it Simple, But Think BigShare on Twitter

“Entrepreneurs get obsessed with features or how cool the technology is, but at the end of the day it’s all about the user,” Mr. Vidra said. He pointed to Viber, the internet phone company, which is being acquired by Japanese retailer Rakuten for $900 million. But expand your long-term vision, by either hiring people internationally or thinking globally, he says. Google Maps, for example, started as a simple—but expensive to launch—mapping service. “Directions became driving directions, walking directions, cycling directions, and then directions became Street View,” he said. “Today you can drop the little person on the map anywhere and see, actually, where you’re going to turn right.”

The next step is self-driving cars.

3. Hire Smart—And Fire Your Friends When Necessary

Friends building a company together should do so because they have complementary skills—not because they like each other. But what happens when the friendship seems to be stalling the development of the product?

“It’s important to have a tough conversation early on, rather than going through a painful divorce later,” Mr. Vidra said. “When you’re in the dating period, it’s okay to decide that it’s not going to work. But when you go further down the path, and you have investors, and you make some strategic decisions, it may be tougher to unravel.”

4. Remember to Find a Work-Life Balance

“I’m glad we’re seeing a lot of information getting out there right now about sleep,” Mr. Vidra said. Ignoring your health can cause long-term problems or torpedo a breakthrough at a crucial moment. There will be times when entrepreneurs will need to slide a little more heavily away from that balance, but the trick is to recognize when to take a break. Mr. Vidra said he uses the Headspace app to meditate 15 minutes a day before going to bed.

5. Take Advantage of Your Mentors

Some entrepreneurs think they know it all, or they don’t have the time or contacts to seek out help. But mentors, whether older or younger, can help identify blind spots or trouble ahead. “Even a cup of coffee can go a very long way for your start-up and can make the difference between success and failure,

f you have it at the right time with the right people,” Mr. Vidra said.

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