#52: Get Ready to Create Your Successful Startup with Five-Time Startup Executive Sam Wong

Developing an idea to be a successful business venture requires lots of blood, sweat, and tears. And for every startup founder, wisdom from people who have built startups can be invaluable. So we dedicated this episode of Establishing Your Empire to sharing the knowledge of someone who’s been in the startup space for a very long time. Sam Wong, Startup CEO coach, Interim CEO of Fundable Startups, and the author of ‘21 Secrets of Successful Startups: Pillars for an Entrepreneur’s Foundation,’ Joins us today to share what he learned throughout his long career in the startup ecosystem.

The startup space is not for the faint-hearted. Many startups don’t really succeed, and the ones that do have to go through numerous obstacles. And it has been the same way for Sam as well. We start the conversation with Sam’s background, some of the stories from the early startups he was working on, and the learning points from the high and low points of those startups.
Getting into the startup strategies, we dive deep into how to start a business venture properly. Sam shares his experience on what startup founders can do to evaluate the potential of business ideas, reach out to potential users to identify what the market needs, and how to create a business plan that practically helps founders make their businesses successful. Sam also dives into why founders should treat investors like they are customers and some of the mistakes he’s seen startup founders make when pitching their ideas to investors.

Sam’s book is packed with lessons he learned from his long career in the startup space. We talk about what inspired him to write the book, the process of writing it, and how he made writing a part of his daily routine while writing the book. Wrapping up the episode, Sam shares some of his future plans for helping more startup founders, his work in photography, and teaching photography to children.

[00:30] Sam’s Story – We talk about Sam’s fascinating career journey through engineering, non-profit, management consulting, and startups.
[04:05] Lessons Learned – Sam shares with us some of the lessons he learned from the ups and downs of some of the early startups he was a part of.
[13:19] Founding a Startup – The process of creating Sam’s first startup and his advice for people who aspire to create their own startups.
[20:18] Idea Validation – Sam elaborates on the first step of any new business venture: evaluating the business idea.
[26:48] Business Planning – How the way business plans are created has evolved over the years and some tips and tricks for creating a great business plan.
[32:28] Telling Your Story – What most startup founders fail to do when telling their story to investors and how to deliver a successful pitch to potential investors.
[37:27] Sam’s Book – The inspiration behind Sam’s Book, “21 Secrets of Successful Startups,” and the process of writing and publishing the book.
[41:14] Lessons for Young People – Sam brings up some stories from his life and the lessons that came with those experiences.
[48:57] Future Plans – Sam shares his future plans for sharing his knowledge and wisdom with more entrepreneurs.

Connect with Sam
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sam-wong-startup
Website: fundablestartups.com
Sam’s Book: 21 Secrets of Successful Startups

Mentioned in the Episode
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder:
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya

“If there’s a wave that’s cresting, ride that bad boy!”

“Success is more enjoyable when you have people to celebrate it with, together.”

“When you’re fundraising, you are selling.”

“I started to realize that the things I thought were so important really weren’t that important.”
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