'Don't fear failure - it may seem odd but to be successful most people have to fail first. There are people who get lucky first time around - but the vast majority of successful business people have failed along the way.
"Former US secretary of state Colin Powell once said: 'There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.'
"And be passionate - the world is full of people who will tell you all the reasons not to start a business. You will also have tons of people telling you lots of stuff about knowing your customer, knowing your competition, the need for business plans and so on.
"That's fine, but what you truly need to succeed is passion for your idea and intelligent passion at that. Focus on finding a way to make money doing what you really love, and are good at. In the words of George Burns: 'It is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.'
"Always focus on validated learnings - if there's one book I'd recommend for those starting out, it's The Lean Start-Up by Eric Reis. One of the concepts it discusses, which we apply in our business, is the concept of validated learnings. Put simply, it's more important to engage early with your customers and find out what they like and dislike about your product, than build your view of the 'perfect product' and then launching.
"What you are looking for are those product features and benefits that your customers value. In the process you are also seeking to replace assumptions with evidence.
"You need to be passionate about your idea - but here's the twist: you must also be flexible and adaptable. Figure out the core ingredients of your idea. Success may actually come from being able to mix those in a way you never thought of when you started out. I believe the most successful businesses of the future will be those that focus on developing core competencies and capabilities, yet have the ability to quickly configure those in different ways to meet emerging opportunities.
"Finally, look after yourself - hard work goes hand in hand with starting a business. If you love what you do, that won't bother you. However, you need to look after your health and manage stress.
"Apart from all the usual good advice about exercise, find someone you can bounce things off. There will be days when nothing seems to be working and that is when you need someone who can provide moral support and guidance."