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Guest

Seven Ways Starting a Company is Like the Hunger Games

By: Guest | June 28, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Meridith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg.

Launching a business is always an adventure.

In fact, it has a lot of similarities to competing in the Hunger Games.

Sure, you don’t have to fight for your life and no one dies, but things you don’t think about – payroll taxes, lawsuits, bad clients – can take down your business before you get started.

We had a lot of fun compiling these ideas along with tips to thrive.

A good designer can make all the difference.

Even if your graphic designer’s doppelganger isn’t Lenny Kravitz, and he or she has a hard time rocking gold eyeliner, find a visual branding expert who can help set you apart from your competition.

Katniss became the “girl on fire” because of her flaming dress. Choose this partner wisely so you are positioned to set the world on fire.

Playing to the cameras will get you rewards. 

Mini-parachutes bearing gifts will not rain down on you when you kiss your co-founder; however, getting some good press can be worth thousands in advertising dollars.

Never underestimate the value of some good PR and take those opportunities whenever they present themselves.

Poisonous bees suck.

Whether it’s a tracker jacker or a plain old honeybee, getting stung isn’t fun. You don’t want to get stung by your vendors or partners, either.

Do your homework. Come prepared. Have your contracts reviewed by a good attorney and make sure you read the fine print.

The folks watching at home will never fully understand.

A startup can be engrossing, distracting, and stressful. Unless your family has worked for, or started a business, they are unlikely to understand.

You don’t want to turn out like Haymitch (even if you have a crush on Woody Harrelson), so prepare yourself to be misunderstood, and maybe set reminders in your calendar so you don’t forget important birthdays and events.

Watch out for the Careers.

Careers” are Hunger Games competitors from the inner districts; they are well-funded, well-fed, and have been trained at birth to win the game. Serial entrepreneurs are the Careers of the startup landscape. They have experience, connections, and have raised money before. They might have even made enough from their last venture to self-fund indefinitely.

Essentially, like the Careers, they’ve been trained since the birth (of their last company) to eat you for lunch, so watch out.

The capitol/capital rules the land.

This isn’t the end of Mockingjay folks; the Capitol is still calling the shots in the Hunger Games and in real life you haven’t been bought out for an ungodly sum by Facebook, Google, or somesuch yet. While starting a business, the quest for capital still rules your world whether it is accessing VCs, securing a loan, or closing a deal with a new customer.

You’ll survive a bit longer if you remember cash is king, so count your pennies and hold off on the three finger salutes until you are in the outer districts.

Master of the game.

Two weeks before launch, your web developer goes dark. Google releases a new algorithm the same day you complete a costly SEO overhaul.  “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!” Sometimes it feels like someone else is playing a cruel joke on you.

Be nimble. Take evasive action. Handle the unexpected pitfalls as best you can and keep moving forward towards Victor’s Village.

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

This guest post is from Project Eve, a new social network for women entrepreneurs. When not dodging tracker jackers, its co-founders, Meridith Dennes and Kim Oksenberg, can be found on the Project Eve site, on Twitter @projecteve1 and on Google+.

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