Yong Kim, CEO and Cofounder at Wonolo, shares three things every entrepreneur should consider before starting a business; speaking out of his experience of starting Wonolo.
“Starting Wonolo has been the scariest, the hardest, and the craziest thing I have done in my career. However, I cannot imagine doing anything else, and I believe I am who I am today because of it. Here are the three lessons I would love to share.
- Personal Growth. The first lesson I learned is that starting a company is one of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding experiences in life. It’s not just about building a business, but about self-discovery and self-growth. Through ups and downs of the startup journey, I have learned not only about how to build a sustainable, yet differentiated business, but also about how to stay resilient after multiple setbacks while continuously motivating team members around me. I feel that I have grown so much as a person building Wonolo. This experience has given me a tremendous amount of confidence that I can do anything I want if I persevere through challenging times, surround myself with people who are smarter and more experienced than I am, and stay true to what my heart desires.
- Embracing challenges. The second lesson I learned is the realization that things will go wrong more often than right in a startup. There will still be a constant stream of problems you didn’t anticipate and plan for. Given this, the important question is what will you do when you’re facing a difficult situation knowing that it will happen frequently? The way I have been managing challenges is to embrace them as opportunities to improve and get better. If I look back at all the difficult times, all the struggles had actually helped my team and I to become more innovative and stronger. And I am actually grateful for those opportunities (though I don’t ever want to repeat and experience those painful moments again). That’s part of what makes the startup journey so exciting and rewarding.
- People make or break the business. The last lesson I learned is that people matter the most at the end of the day. Most of the problems in a company are people related. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product, the biggest balance sheet, or the best business model if you cannot get the people side of the equation right. In good times, you may not realize the importance of this, but when things don’t go well (and they always do), people issues always become the most critical determinant of whether the company will make it or not. So, spend a lot of time on recruiting the right people with the biggest potential, and once you hire them, give them the full reign with a clear swim lane to thrive.”