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Matt Hunckler

Founder Story: The 5 Startup Principles of Successful Entrepreneurs

I grabbed sushi with David just days before he took the stage in front of two hundred hungry software entrepreneurs. What was intended to be a quick meet and greet turned into a 3-hour information lunch.

That’s because over the past fifteen years, David DeRam founded and grew six successful software companies including Progeny, which helps securely store genetic data. This dude is smart and if you’re not careful, he’ll drop knowledge on you like a ton of bricks.

In our fireside chat on stage, David was able to distill his entrepreneurial knowledge into 6 high-impact principles of successful entrepreneurs. I’ve summarized some of them below, but I recommend you watch the video to get the full color and context:

The 5 Startup Principles of Successful Entrepreneurs

Place your bets wisely.

We’re all sitting at the table with a stack of chips. How we invest those resources steers our trajectory. And successful entrepreneurs know exactly what they’re investing in and why. Ask yourself:

What are your most valuable resources?

Are you hoarding your chips or are you leveraging them to win more hands and build something incredible?

Know when to make your move.

David’s first company started as a sketch on the back of a napkin at a diner. That business idea could have easily stopped there. But, David and his partners were able to find embrace mindset to move towards entrepreneurship.

Continued personal growth is a big factor for successful entrepreneurs. “If you’re not getting stretched, it’s time to make a move,” David says.

We all find our drive in different places. What motivations can you use to get yourself making big moves each day?

Don’t flinch.

Successful-EntrepreneursYou’ve got to believe in what you do. DeRam loves the free e-book, The Flinch, and encourages new entrepreneurs to stand their ground when faces with that fight-or-flight feeling that holds so many would-be founders back.

“Flinch forward, like a boxer,” says DeRam. You can’t always prevent your instinct to draw back or wince, but if you can train yourself to consistently push past what you perceive as pain, this habit will build a positive momentum with a life of its own.

Become the builder.

Own your vision and go to work on creating it. David uses the hand he’s dealt and the chips available to construct a work environment that inspires him and his team. Successful entrepreneurs maintain a crisp picture of what success looks like and each decision is made with that picture in mind.

Are you building your own reality? Or are you waiting for it to come to you?

It’s time to put on those work gloves!

Shift your time paradigm.

As project managers get more experience, estimates tend to get longer and longer as they encounter a wider range of possible problems. Any responsible project manager has to account for these potential setbacks in an estimate, but that doesn’t mean that every project has to be stretched to the max.

“What is the fastest way we could get that done?” DeRam asks his team. This simple question has become the part of the culture at David’s companies. It shifts the paradigm of the team to focus on possibilities instead of limitations.

My talk with David reminds me that some of the most powerful business principles often come in plain packaging. But the plainly wrapped gifts, which DeRam delivered in our fireside chat, deserve a place on the mantle.

Which ones will make the greatest impact on the core of your business?

About Matt Hunckler

Matt's a founder and organizer at Verge. He's a connecter, writer, and habitual start-upper.

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