Based on your answers, it looks like you’re an entrepreneur at heart. You’re on a mission to break from the traditional career path and pave your own way, while creating something long-lasting to leave behind. The checklist below highlights some of the skills you’ll need to work on over the next few years if you want to successfully start your own company. Each section of the checklist includes content that will help you dive deeper into each skill or activity.

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 LEARN FROM THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE YOU

Bring About Transformation

When you look at entrepreneurs, innovators, and people who are really great at bringing about transformation, you see that they are open, creative, agreeable, and conscientious. In this INBOUND keynote speech, best-selling author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell explains that transformation is about habits of mind, attitudes, and perspectives on the world.

Answers to Common Startup Questions

Do you need a cofounder to start a business? Should you go raise venture capital? Should you worry about sharing your ideas? These are some of the most common questions aspiring entrepreneurs will ask, and HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah has controversial answers to these questions and more.

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“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Steve Jobs

Cofounder, Former CEO

Apple

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 INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY

What VCs Look for in Entrepreneurs

Getting introduced to a VC via a trusted friend or firm can go a long way, but that doesn’t mean that “cold calling” should be completely off the table — especially if you do your research and are able to put together a compelling reason for garnering VC interest. Starting the conversation too early can be better than starting the conversation too late. Watch three VCs discuss what they look for in companies and executives in this INBOUND panel video.

Increase Your Social Reach

The more fans and followers you have for your social media presence, the better reach you'll have. And better reach means the potential to gain more visibility for yourself and your company while also scaling your number of leads and customers.

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Build a Following as a LinkedIn Influencer

Remarkable content helps level the playing field, and the LinkedIn Influencer Program helps surface remarkable content. Learn how Dharmesh Shah, cofounder of HubSpot, came in second to Bill Gates.

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 BUILD YOUR CORE TEAM

What Your CMO Should Do in the First 90 Days on the Job

Whether you’re taking over as Chief Marketing Officer at a company with a mission that excites you, or you’re hiring a CMO from the outside, that blank page on the first day is the hardest part. This article goes over some critical tasks you need to nail in those first three months to start off right.

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How to Avoid Costly Hiring Mistakes

Hiring is arguably the most important job of a people manager. Hire well and you’ll have a high-performing and happy team. Hire just one wrong person, fondly known as a “hiring mistake,” and you’ll spend a lot of time and emotional energy trying to fix your team. Avoid these common pitfalls if you’re looking to build out your team.

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8 Things to Do Before Interviewing Someone for Your Team

Hiring the right talent for your organization has a direct impact on maintaining your competitive edge. Don’t screw it up by short-changing the preparation required for the interview process. Research, recommendations, transparency, and a quick follow-up will help both parties. You'll find better talent, and the candidate will have a great experience.

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29 Marketing Job Descriptions

As you finalize the focus of the department, use this collection of 29 job descriptions to fill any holes in your team with top-notch marketers.

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 OBSESS ABOUT CULTURE

Why Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

The best leaders in the world understand that the single most precious resource for any growing organization, regardless of size and industry, is remarkably talented people. For companies where culture is truly a competitive advantage, it’s not an HR priority; it’s a business priority.

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Culture Code Q&A

Dharmesh Shah has obsessed over culture for the past 6 years and spent hundreds of hours working on the HubSpot Culture Code deck. He has also given talks all over the country on culture as competitive advantage. This discussion on Inbound.org will give you insight into the most common questions and answers about creating a strong company culture.

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At Zappos, Business Is a Flat Circle

Can company culture really form the foundation of an organizational structure? In 2015, Zappos “went flat,” adopting a managerless, culture-based organizational structure known as "holacracy." While critics have decried holacracy as chaotic, Zappos Culture Evangelist Jon Wolske sees the move to this new structure as the next logical step toward aligning their operations with the core values of their culture.

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One of the main drivers for us defining our culture was that we were looking at doubling our headcount in the coming years. So it was 2005, and if we doubled our headcount it was going to drastically change who we were as a company. So Tony Hsieh our CEO said, ‘Well, if we define this, we can then hire people who are aligned with it and the culture doesn’t have to change.’

Jon Wolske

Culture Evangelist

Zappos

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 THINK ABOUT THE LONG-TERM

Scale-up Leadership Lessons From HubSpot's CEO

It turns out that many of the skills you need as the leader of a scale-up are much different than the skills you need as the leader of a startup. In startup mode, you tend to do everything fast. If you are wrong, you just roll back the decision. In scale-up mode, you have a choice: You can do things fast or do things right. There’s always a balance, but in scale-up mode, you need to shift toward doing things right more often than doing things fast.

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Going From Startup to Scale-up

Companies as going through four stages of an S-Curve: 1) getting product market fit ; 2) getting the math to work ; 3) getting the math to scale ; and 4) getting saturated . A scale-up is in the third phase; pouring resources in fast and getting a big return. Read on to learn how to navigate these phases with ease.

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As painful as it was, leaning hard into our weakness was the only way to get from startup to scale-up.

Brian Halligan

CEO

HubSpot

Building a Successful Company

In a world where only overnight success stories get most of the media's attention, Wistia's slower, determined path to success is one that doesn't often get told. Hear from Wistia's cofounder, Chris Savage, on what it's really like to build a successful company.

 
 
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NEVER STOP LEARNING

Check out these suggested books if you want to dive deeper and learn some of the most important entrepreneurial lessons.

Blue Ocean Strategy

By W. Chan Kim - This international bestseller upends traditional thinking and shows you how to win by making competition irrelevant.

The Lean Startup

By Eric Ries - Instead of wasting time creating elaborate business plans, this approach offers entrepreneurs a way to be innovative, agile, and test their vision continuously.

The Innovator's Dilemma

By Clayton M. Christensen - This provocative and important business book dives into how great companies can do everything right and still fail.

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