The Big Things A Little Start-Up Learned In 2011

Alexa Hughes


At Power2Switch, we all learned a ton this year as we were growing the company and trying to locate -- and secure -- our place in the market. There’s surprisingly a lot involved with helping people save money on electricity! So, we gathered together some insights from everyone on our team to share with you as we catapult (in a hopefully somewhat controlled manner) into 2012! Happy New Year, All!


- There is something organic and beautiful about taking an idea and making it tangible.

- Try new things. You can learn a lot from failure.

- Listen closely to your customers. Ask them questions. Apply their feedback to your work. They’ll thank you for it.

- Great IT people can transform your business.

- Figure out what your best skills are. Focus on those. Rely on those around you to fill in the rest.

- Ask for help from people who know more than you. People like to share their knowledge. Thank them, profusely.

- Be transparent. Answer the question before it is asked. Honesty has nothing to hide.

- Babies and dogs always go over well.

- The world can always use more humor — don’t be afraid to show it in your work.

- Follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it.

- Don’t nickel and dime people. Wrap small costs into your offer price.

- Hire wisely and carefully. Skills are important, but make sure you like one another, too. An amazing dynamic can be achieved with the right team.

- Loving your job can in fact make the rest of your life better.

- There’s a beauty in struggling. Revel in that time. People tend to value things more that don’t come easily.

- Show your face. Have an identity. People like to know who they’re working with.

- It’s all about the relationship you develop with people (teammates, customers, investors).

- Sweat the small stuff. It matters to the people you’re trying to serve.

- Never settle for ‘good enough.’

- Have a plan. And then enjoy the journey as that plan (most definitely) changes.

- Design and a good user experience can be a distinct competitive advantage.

- “Work” can be incredibly fun and fulfilling when you’re a part of a small team of smart, hard-working people.

- As much as we like each other, it won’t matter a bit if we don’t figure this thing out.

- Geospatial data is awesome, and you should be loath to do another project without a strong GIS component.

- While honesty may cost you an occasional customer, it’s a damn good way to build advocates.

- It’s never too early to start beefing up your obituary.

- The goal of business isn’t to make money; it’s to deliver something of value to your customers (and hopefully they’ll be willing to pay for it).

- Every customer is a VIP.

- Never, never underestimate the power of simplicity.

- Seek and ye shall find. (In other words, don’t guess at what your customers want… ASK them.)

- It’s worth it to relent at times. Someone else’s “yes” might be more impassioned than your “no.”

- Life is only as fulfilling as the relationships you build while living it.

- Refrain from using the term “snail mail.” It offends postal workers. A postal worker could turn out to be one of your best customers.

- Never be afraid to dig in and find out.

- Freedom is knowing and understanding what you can control… yourself and your effort.

- Emotional maturity should be required of any person seeking to work in a start-up.

- Things change in an instant…  adapt quickly.

- Admitting that you don’t know something opens your mind to learning new things.

- You can only truly listen if you’re not thinking of your own response at the same time.

- You can do the right thing, and still get ahead.

- There is always a place for empathy in your work.

- Your future is only defined by the expanse of your imagination.

- Smile. Often.



What did you learn in 2011? Care to share?

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Lesley Tweedie

I also learned a lot in 2011 from launching a start-up but this list is so complete and well stated, I don't have a lesson to add.  I will say that for 2012, the goal is to stress less & enjoy more.

Adam Calica

I've probably read about 1000'ish posts on BIC. This is my favorite.

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