2019 was awesome.
Oracle for Startups changed its name and went truly global to serve even more cloud startups around the world. We worked with exciting new businesses that are bringing game-changing technology to verticals that support environmental stewardship, enterprise sales, even Santa Claus!
It was a year of growth, new experiences, and lessons learned, so we're ringing in the New Year by sharing some of our favorite advice from friends and founders from the Oracle startup program.
These are the habits we are leaving in 2019 so we can make 2020 the best year yet for Oracle, startups, and our customers.
Brand and Creative Director for Oracle for Startups Tracy Sword has something to say to the startup founders who get so caught up building their businesses that they let the "little things" slip through the cracks: "Remember that every interaction with your company is part of your brand experience. Even little mistakes can erode your credibility."
For anything public facing, Sword encourages hypervigilance. "Focus on quality and pay attention to detail," she says. "Fix those broken links on your website and correct those spelling errors. Treat every interaction as though it’s the only interaction your audience will have with your brand." So ditch that "Coming Soon" placeholder on your website, hire a copy editor for your collateral, and remember that modern business is all about the customer experience.
“Be customer-centric” is the advice that Gavin Cunningham is bringing into 2020, citing the example of the many blockchain startups and AI technologies hitting the scene. While there is plenty of money being raised, the Constellation Group CEO thinks some startups fall into the trap of building ‘evangelistic technology’ rather than actually responding to customers' needs.
Stay connected to your mission statement and remember why you show up for work every day.
"The advice I was given by a mentor was ‘always ask for more responsibility, be accountable and deliver it,’” says Gilbert Verdian, CEO of Quant Network. He received these life-changing words of wisdom when he was gathering work experience in the sorting room at Lexis Nexus during his final year of school. “I’ve done that throughout my career,” he says, noting that it has helped him reach the C-level and could help others fulfill their ambitions as well.
Bragging about being busy is so last year, but startups inevitably have a lot going on at all times. It takes discipline and a commitment to standing firm to avoid burning out. “Knowing how to say ‘no’ is a complicated but totally necessary task,” says Rafael Bertolli.
As CEO of cloud startup Yamí, he has learned the importance of owning your choices and protecting your time. He wants others to know: “Saying no doesn’t mean you’re not being a friend or being a helpful person. You are just making your own choices, electing to move forward with what is in your reach and related to your goals, meeting your business objectives without losing focus.”
This is especially great advice for the extra-ambitious entrepreneur set, but we can all benefit from some self-compassion in the long run.
2020 is primed to be the best year yet for your startup business. Oracle for Startups is here to help you scale, with cost-saving cloud infrastructure, a dedicated global team, and a network of customers looking to partner with startups like yours. Get started with free cloud now!