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Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian shares his top 4 tips for startup success

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Founders and early employees must be adaptable and willing to take on various roles.
  • Developing a minimum viable product is essential for validating ideas and attracting investors.
  • Getting comfortable with rejection is crucial for securing funding and growing the business.

Starting a company has never been more accessible, according to Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. Drawing from his extensive experience as a founder, investor, and early team member at Reddit, Ohanian offers invaluable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are his top four tips for achieving startup success.

1. Embrace the Generalist Mindset

Ohanian emphasizes the importance of versatility and adaptability for startup founders. "In the early stages, you must be prepared to don multiple hats and assume responsibilities beyond your comfort zone," he stated during a 2023 MasterClass episode. This mindset is crucial not only for founders but also for early employees. "The scrappiness that characterizes the founding team must permeate the ranks of early employees," Ohanian emphasized. "You'll find yourselves in situations where something needs to be done, and everyone should be ready to step up."

2. Ship a Product — Even a Basic One

Demonstrating the viability of your ideas in the real world is crucial for attracting investors. Ohanian advises startups to focus on creating a minimum viable product (MVP), which includes essential features to attract early adopters and validate the product idea. "An MVP is something you can present to customers, users, potential clients, or partners. It provides a glimpse into whether or not you're on the right track," Ohanian explained. This approach not only piques investor interest but also provides a solid foundation for further development. "Execution is paramount," Ohanian stressed. "It's not just about doing the work; it's about doing the right work."

3. Acclimate to Rejection

Securing funding can be a lengthy and arduous process for startups. "Rejection is an inherent part of fundraising," Ohanian acknowledged. "There isn't a single CEO who hasn't been rejected more times than they've been accepted," he added. The essence of entrepreneurship is growing comfortable with hearing "no." Ohanian recommends that early founders focus on creating a minimum viable product and sharing it widely on social media. Building a social profile could encourage investors to approach founders directly, reducing the need for cold-calling.

4. Assemble the Right Team

Hiring the first employee is a significant milestone for any startup, but it's also a critical decision that could make or break the company. "Hiring well and quickly is an arduous task; there's no shortcut," Ohanian acknowledged, noting the challenges posed by the rise of remote work. "The first 10 employees you hire will shape the culture of the company for years to come. An ideal hire should be eager to help build the plane while it's still in flight." Ohanian suggests founders look beyond their networks when hiring and aggressively pursue talent on platforms like LinkedIn. He also recommends creating job ads that stand out: "In an environment where everyone is doing things the same way, being demonstrably different makes your job listings something people will want to talk about."

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