Experience is great but feeling comfortable because things are getting easy isn't the right place to be, in my view. Think long term and think big, weird and wonderful for your customers and the future. Here's a snippet of a great interview with David Bowie talking about putting yourself in a position where you can make exciting things.
3) Your suppliers will make mistakes
Having high expectations of your suppliers is good. Expecting perfection will lead to disappointment for you and your customers. You'll learn this yourself as problems arise for the first time. When you're working with suppliers, learn to talk about which problems are likely to arise and agree how you're going to handle them when they happen.
In your first meeting with a new supplier, a simple sentence like this can help: "We know that it's possible that things will go wrong. It's important that we can handle those things well together. Let's discuss." If you can create a space to communicate problems early and well when things go wrong, it might help you to build an extra week into your freight shipping time for example. The definition of "perfection" with your suppliers might just be planning ahead and good communication.
4) If your idea is good, someone will copy it
I knew when I started out that the RiutBag is a simple idea that makes a positive impact on travellers' lives. Many people warned me off starting because it was so likely that someone would copy it. Here's my view: nothing in the world would ever happen if people failed to make new things because they might be copied.
If your idea is patentable (in the strict UK sense) and you have the money for it, go for it. Otherwise, you'll be able to register for the weaker design protection. This stops people copying the exact way in which you have designed your product but doesn't protect function.
In reality, unless you've got a lot of cash and a good legal team, your real tools for fighting copying is to roll up your sleeves and design something even better. Keep moving, make small production runs and keep improving your designs. Listen to customer feedback, respond quickly and make changes. You could go the litigious route and spend the rest of your life in court whilst your product remains stationary. Or, you could choose to compete, forget the legal stuff and have fun building the best version of the thing you create every production run. After 10 years of each option -the legal route or the competition - which do you think will have been a more awesome use of your time? And which option do you think your customers would prefer?
5) Starting up is different from building a company
Looking back, I think I spent the first 2 years starting up. I had no income, no timeline, I was just hungry and willing to do anything to make it work the hard way. I did nothing but think about making RiutBags and how to reach breakeven. That was startup mode: short term, sprinting, out of breath, everything was the first time and I was learning how to answer every question.
Suddenly, I was there. I'd reached breakeven and it was time to build a company that could stand on its own two feet and repeatedly keep making new things, keep creating better things and tell more people that the RiutBag exists. This requires a completely different set of rules. Building a company requires you to balance short and - the new rather exciting - medium term. Think about the structure of the year, look back at past data! Understand what you got wrong and what you do well, change the bad and enhance the good. It's a different ball game. You'll work out when it's time to switch from one to the other.
My favourite analogy for starting up and then running a business
There's no other analogy I've found that fits more closely than this. Starting your own business is like jumping off a cliff and building an functioning plane on the way down.