When looking for startups to support, Google Ventures' Rich Miner says he favors companies that solve a problem, understand the value of mobile technology and have talented teams with a knack for design.
Responding to requests for proposals can be time-consuming and complex, and it won't always yield results, Kathryn Hawkins writes. "Some agencies are obligated to issue RFPs as a formality, even when they've already chosen a contractor," she notes. Still, the time and effort might be worthwhile in some cases, as the government tries to set aside a certain percentage of its business for small enterprises and the scale of government projects can be enormous.
It's critical for startup founders to focus initially on succeeding in a narrow market and on creating a superb customer experience, says Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator. "I have never once seen a startup lured down a blind alley by trying too hard to make their initial users happy," he notes. In addition, it's important to spend time recruiting users and to understand how fragile an early stage company can be, he says.
An Internet search for your business can reveal the kind of brand you have created online, Deborah Shane writes. To improve that online impression, make sure your website is engaging and your LinkedIn profile has plenty of detail, and consider becoming a mentor and volunteering your time in your industry, she writes.
Applications might be big right now, but they're destined to wane, says Scott Jenson of Frog Design. Cluttered app markets and user-initiated discovery and downloading will lose their appeal as browser-based services grow more sophisticated. "Making the user responsible for app management is effectively inflicting a steadily increasing amount of pain upon them. This puts a increasing pressure on apps and they are going to be used less and less often," Jenson argues.
Everyone experiences burnout, notes AmyK Hutchens, who says it's easier to deal with your energy level than your time availability. "Time is a constant; energy is a manageable, renewable resource," she writes. She explains the virtues of focusing on facts and positive outcomes rather than feelings of doubt; making time for physical exercise; and limiting time spent with "emotionally exhausting" people.