13 Business Lessons to Learn from The Art of Start 2.0

Guy Kawasaki is a best selling author, serial entrepreneur, key employee at Apple and the current Chief Evangelist of Canva.

Guy is a huge proponent of “making meaning” via building a business you’re passionate about. Along this line, what you need is not a mission, but a “mantra”.

One of Guy’s best selling books of all time is The Art of Start, and in 2015, this book was revised, updated and re-released as The Art of Start 2.0. This book is one of the best guides to follow when launching a new business, product or service.


The 13 Lessons From The Art of Start 2.0

Within this article, we’re going to cover a summary of the book, and all the steps/lessons that it contains. Essentially this will help you to understand the most important steps of launching a successful business.

I definitely recommend purchasing the book and giving it a read if you’re curious to learn more than what’s included in this short summary. Getting into the specifics, the book is structured into 13 separate chapters, so here are 13 business lessons to learn from The Art of Start 2.0:


1. The Art of Starting Up

To start things right, don’t start with megalomania-cal goals. Instead, ask simple questions such as:

  • Isn’t this interesting?
  • Is there a better way?
  • Where is the market leader weak?
  • Then find the sweet spot at the intersection of your expertise, passion and opportunity.

    In most entrepreneurship books you learn to think about the resources you need to start your business, about the resilience you need in the face of endless challenges and so on. However, you can’t possibly anticipate everything.

    A key question to ask is “How do I make meaning?”, because “If you make meaning, you’ll probably also make money”.

    Then based on this, create a three-to-five word “mantra” to inspire you and your team. For example, for Nike this would be “Authentic athletic performance”.

    Then pick a business model and weave a MATT, which stands for Milestones, Assumptions, Tests and Tasks.


    2. The Art of Launching

    At a very early stage in your business, make a prototype and put it in the hands of your prospects. Don’t over-analyse theoretical aspects. Go for what Eric Ries calls an MVP (minimum viable product).

    Worry first about adoption, not scaling.

    Then it’s time to craft your positioning. Create ONE message, that captures the essence of your company.

    Create a story around your product. It’s not about providing information, but about inspiring faith in you and your product.


    3. The Art of Leading

    Exude optimism, but watch reality right in the face. You need to establish a culture of execution, building an organization engineered to deliver results. Hire people better than you and empower them to maximize the use of their strengths.

    Stay flexible, positive and celebrate success!


    4. The Art of Bootstrapping

    Bootstrapping a startup today is more possible than in any other time in history. You can capitalize on the cloud, under-staff in the beginning and focus strategically on the big areas that move the needle in your business.


    5. The Art of Fund-raising

    Focus on building a sound business and assess wisely the various funding opportunities. Then once you get funded, spend money like you would never be able to get funding again. Don’t go wild over-spending on nice furniture, free food and hiring expensive MBAs from big companies.


    6. The Art of Pitching

    Your audience has already been exposed to many pitches. In order to succeed, be short and to the point. Know your audience, prepare exhaustively and if possible, include a product demo.


    7. The Art of Building a Team

    Hire great people that are true believers, like you.

    While intuition has its place, make sure that you follow a data-based hiring process: check references early, prepare interview questions in advance and stick to your script, collect adequate data and take notes for future reference.


    8. The Art of Evangelizing

    As a side note, Guy was Chief Evangelist at Apple and he’s the current Chief Evangelist of Canva, so he knows a thing or two about this topic.

    “Evangelism” comes from Greek and has the meaning of “proclaiming the good news”. This is much easier to do when you actually have a great product that you believe in. So take care of the fundamentals first!


    9. The Art of Socialising

    Social Media is a very valuable tools for entrepreneurs, as it enables you to reach a big audience at no cost.

    However, this doesn’t mean it’s easy.

    The biggest challenge you face is “feeding the content monster”. Guy shares a number of practical tips on how to leverage the 2 main ways to do this, i.e. content creation and content curation.

    Remember to be visual!

    And it’s OK to leverage smart automation to maximize your ROI.


    10. The Art of Rainmaking

    Observe who and how is using your product and your customers will “show” you how to best sell to them.

    You may discover that guerilla selling methods provide far better ROI than traditional ones.

    Also, it’s very often the case that CEOs don’t make the purchasing decisions, but mid-level managers who are “key influencers” in the organization. Find them!


    11. The Art of Partnering

    When considering partnerships, make sure it’s a win-win arrangement. Take care when you’re considering an alliance with a much bigger organization. And lastly, having an “out” clause in the deal enables all parties to chill and work harder.


    12. The Art of Enduring

    You need to find ways to keep the fire burning in the heart of your team members, over the long run. Get people to really believe in your product and become evangelists.

    This is not something you can do with money.

    Capitalize on the laws of reciprocation, consistency, social proof, diversify your team and create a cool business building ecosystem around your product.


    13. The Art of Being Mensch

    Achieving “menschood” is about being recognized, especially by the people who matter, as ethical, graceful and admirable.

    Help people who cannot help you, help many people, without the expectation of return and do what’s right.



    Here’s a quick recap of the 13 business lessons to be learnt from The Art of Start 2.0:

  • Starting up
  • Launching
  • Leading
  • Bootstrapping
  • Fund-Raising
  • Pitching
  • Building a team
  • Evangelizing
  • Socialising
  • Rainmaking
  • Partnering
  • Enduring
  • Being Mensch
  • Have you read The Art of Start 2.0? How has it helped you in business? Leave a comment below.

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