By Brian McKay

"Stick to what you're good at" is advice most of us hear at least once in our lives. It's usually well intentioned - it even mentioned that we're good at something. However, it cannot help but sound a little bit brutal. Like the caterpillar emerging from the chrysalis, we're ready to be a beautiful butterfly. Then someone tears off our wings and tells us to go back to the cabbage patch.


The truth of the matter is that sometimes it's the advice we need to hear. Especially when you're a startup business, the importance of simplicity is paramount. By trying to do too much, too soon on your own, you stand the best chance of tanking your business before it even gets going. You can end up losing all your startup capital and have nowhere else to go. So keeping it sharp matters.


Say you're running a T-shirt business. You know how to make T-shirts. You know how to come up with ideas for new ones. You know how to sell T-shirts, too. That's a pretty good set of skills, a business right there. But there are a lot of things your business is not - things you shouldn't try to make it.


Your Startup Is Not A Bank



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Early on in business, you will often find yourself running to keep up with the finances. This is a part of business that cannot be messed around with - you need to know the figures. They govern everything else. However much you know about credit lines and invoicing, you should be focused on your business. Outsource your B2B E-commerce to experts, so you can be sure you'll get cash flow when it's due.


Your Startup Is Not A Legal Partnership



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In the early days, you will hopefully be dealing with quite a few high-volume orders with a few established businesses. Once you've been operating a while, you'll be acutely aware of the tricks of the trade. You may know a few now. But someone who has been running a business for twenty years will know all of those, know them better and have a few others up their sleeve. So when dealing with contracts of supply, have a lawyer run their eye over them. Make sure the deals suit you.


Your Startup Is Not A Charity


When you're getting established in business, it can be an exciting time. You're looking at making some real money, and who wouldn't want to share the wealth and the journey with friends? Nonetheless, this is not a time to be giving jobs to everyone you want to stay on good terms with. Few startups can reliably support a significant payroll - once you're off the ground and cruising, you can get them on board. Right now, focus on making your business viable.


Most of us, when getting a startup going, are excited by the challenge and the possibilities. The adrenaline can make us daring, but the problem with being daring is it entails risk. You need to minimize risk early on - so let the experts take care of things you're not well-versed in. It might cost a little more initially, but unmanaged risk will cost you more.

Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and an M.B.A. from Boise State University (yes that blue field). His goal in life is to look out for the regular guy and bring as much knowledge and change to this world as he can. His purpose in founding Zenruption was to do just that and help craft the world he wants his daughter to inherit. Please feel free to email him any feedback or article ideas at  On twitter: @brianmckay71

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