If You Could Give Entrepreneurs One Piece of Advice, What Would it Be?

Seraf Co-Founder Christopher Mirabile interviews several experienced angel investors from around the country to ask: If You Could Give Entrepreneurs One Piece of Advice, What Would it Be? Hear what these leading angels have to say. Their advice is critical to building strong relationships between early stage investors and startup teams.

Video Transcript

C. Mirabile: If you could give entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be? [00:00:05]

D. McClure: Find a customer. Solve their problem. [00:00:11]

F. Peters A lot of times what I tell entrepreneurs as they approach is, many of them have anxieties as they approach, they've heard from their friends, they're nervous about losing control of their dream, of their baby, and yet at the same time, one of the things we're looking for is someone who will trust us, who will listen. So, trust. You must learn to trust as you approach potential investors. [00:00:13]

J. Huston:The wisest entrepreneurs who have pitched me have thought about their dream cap table. Who would they like to have on the cap table that they really think will increase the likelihood of their success. And, of course, some of those would be sitting around the board table. And then they decided what terms, conditions and valuation do I really have to offer those folks. The biggest inanity in this business is entrepreneurs get fixated on a valuation and they offer the same valuation to someone with true starpower as they would to an investor whose entire career has been in commercial real estate shopping centers, writing his first angel check and brings no value, other than some money. [00:00:38]

D. Berkus: We'll keep the theme of this whole conversation. Be flexible. Be coachable. They are the two things that absolutely mean more than anything else. Because we know the entrepreneur is bringing the passion and vision. Otherwise we wouldn't have gotten engaged. But flexibility and coachability is how that vision gets honed or how the flexibility allows the entrepreneur to make changes, which we know are going to happen. [00:01:33]

M. Heymann: Be passionate. Don't give up. And be thoughtful about the advice you seek and take. But make sure you're out seeking advice from smart people but you may not want to take it all. You have to decide what's the right advice. You have the answer, and you have to figure out what that answer is. [00:01:54]

R. Sheridan: Keep testing your thesis, testing the way you're executing. Have an adviser and mentor that you meet with every month just to debut what you're doing and to listen to how they react. It's always challenge yourself because there's so much happening in your marketplace. Every morning people are getting up and trying to figure out how they compete with you and how they outdo you. [00:02:16]

J. Hammond: Entrepreneurs just need to keep going on the thing that they know best. There probably should be frequent, I don't know what they are - every three months, six months sit down and think, "Is this really working?" Because there are certain moments in time when, you know, it is possible that you should throw in the towel, so take your big step back, get up the next morning, forget you ever had those thoughts and push ahead. But there are some moments when you just need to try something out. [00:02:47]

N. Ravikant: It takes a long time to figure out what business you are meant to do. Take your time and figure out what it is that you are uniquely meant to do. [00:03:17]

J. Caruso: Be yourself. [00:03:25]

B. Peters: One thing I think entrepreneurs could do better is to time their exits better. To have the ability that I lack as an entrepreneur, to look forward in time and imagine that there was going to be a perfect moment to sell their company and to sell it around that time instead of doing what most entrepreneurs do and what I admit that I did which is to wait too late and still end up exiting hopefully, but for less. And if you do timing better, they have higher returns, plus they have all these years of their life that they didn't need to work in their company and they could have sold it for more earlier. If only they had perfect insight. [00:03:26]