The One Minute Entrepreneur

Daniel Tenner writes that the best solution for entrepreneurs is not always the one you know.

Every problem may look like a nail at first, but if you spend a minute thinking about it, and consider other possible types of solutions, you may realise that a screwdriver may be better suited. A good set of questions to ask yourself during that one minute is:

  • Do I actually know what the problem is?
  • Do I know the extent and impact of the problem?
  • Who is the best person to fix this problem?
  • Does this problem actually need to be fixed?

Read the Full Story.

21 Fundraising Tips for AngelList

Active Angels Ty Danco and Dharmesh Shah have posted 21 funding tips for Startups looking to leverage AngelList:

AngelList may be a game-changer, but most of the same rules are still in place. Angels still look for the same elements in a startup as always: a strong team; meaningful milestones; a differentiated product in a big potential market; capital efficiency and so on. Therefore, the excellent advice listed in OnStartups, Venture Hacks, AVC, Ask the VC, Both Sides of the Table, and the like still applies. What for now is unique to AngelList is the speed and efficiency with which they can harness an all-star network of active investors in front of a breathtakingly large, qualified stream of startups.

Read the Full Story.

The Startup Law of Comparative Advantage

David Ricardo’s economic Law of Comparative Advantage says that two parties can both gain if, in the absence of trade, they have different relative costs for producing the same goods. VC Jeffrey Bussgang writes that too often, entrepreneurs ignore this law and spend their time on the wrong things:

Unfortunately, I see too many founders ignoring the entrepreneurial corollary to this law, the Start-Up Law of Comparative Advantage. I’m no David Ricardo, but it seems to me that if entrepreneurs followed this “law”, the gains to their start-ups would be akin to the gains attributed to free trade. Here’s why: founders are typically gifted, multi-talented, versatile professionals. As such, they get sucked into spending time doing things that they may be better at than the others in their organization on an absolute basis, but that, comparatively speaking, they are worse at in relation to the handful of things that they are uniquely suited for.

Read the Full Story.

5 Lessons Learned from a 5-Year Entrepreneur

erik_photoErik Wolf has posted his lessons learned after five years of being an entrepreneur:

“Sales” doesn’t work. Everyone hates the “buy me” salesperson — that guy or gal armed with a briefcase full of brochures, hurling business cards at every warm body they see as if they were throwing stars, pitching product to anyone who will listen. So why is is that at some point, just about every small business owner BECOMES that person? Obviously, we all need to sell stuff in order to feed our families, but I’ve found that my business is most profitable when I stop pushing to sell and try actively to help instead. Nobody cares what I’m selling them, nobody cares about the features of MY service the way I do and no one is going to read my brochure. My customers are business owners with needs, challenges and sometimes problems. Understanding those needs/challenges/problems and articulating solutions is how I have always managed to demonstrate value and win business.

Read the Full Story.

Why It’s Smart to Work at a No-shot Startup

Randall Bennet over at the Startup Foundry writes that your best bet may be to go to work for the Startups that aren’t getting the money and attention from VCs:

While some companies do fit the Valley pipe-dream, we think there are many more startups who don’t have a shot at VCs, the top engineers in the world, or an ice cube’s chance in Hell at realizing those paper stock options. And guess what: We think it’s still a smart idea to work with them. We call them the no-shot startup, and it can be an invaluable experience, just as long as you know what to expect and when to quit.

Read the Full Story.

What You Get For Nothing Is Priceless

John Williams writes that you shouldn’t let a little thing like money get in the way of launching your Startup:

From the initial budget to managing overhead, creating a business from slim funds is a hands-on sink-or-swim crash course in keeping a business afloat. When it’s your money, your whole livelihood is depending on every choice you make so choices are made carefully and thoughtfully. You’ll quickly dismiss fancy office space with high rent and fashionable interiors and think about working from home for the time being. You may even have to keep your day job to pay your bills at first. You’ll want to work hard because you won’t be able to pay anyone else to help you. You’ll want to start with an idea that costs more in sweat equity and time than expensive materials or manufacturing. You’ll want to bend over backwards to provide superior customer service because it costs you nothing and it just may separate you from your more established competitors.

Read the Full Story.

5 Reasons Angels Will Walk

Angel investor Ty Danco posts the five sure-fire things that will make him walk away from an investment:

4.You don’t follow through. This is another “tell”, as poker players say. This won’t be evident at a first meeting, but in the follow-up. Dharmesh and many other angels are correct in saying that diligence can be quick, given that startups will change directions. I too believe due diligence needn’t take more than a week or two, but I still think that in most cases there needs to be several interactions between entrepreneur and potential investors. Why? With the biggest risk for startups being execution risk, we need to assess whether you will do what you say you’ll do. If you call us when you say you will, if you follow-up on our questions quickly and efficiently, those are all positive indicators that you are accountable and will deliver on promises. There’s no shame in putting a reasonable but later date on some deliverable because you’re busy—I hope and want you to be busy, and maybe even you’ll earn bonus points if you turn something around earlier than promised.

Read the Full Story.

 

Why the Google Method is Wrong for Your Startup

Paul Hontz writes that the Google method of building a Startup is a recipe for disaster for most new ventures:

The “Google Method” breaks down into a simple equation:
Free + Lots of users + ads= The Google Method.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this formula, but it’s a terrible model to try and shoehorn onto a bootstrapped business. One of the worst things your startup can do (for its bottom line), is to try and emulate Google’s methodology for revenue. You might gain a lot of users, but monetizing them will be incredibly hard. You’re essentially cannibalizing your own business.

Read the Full Story.

The Five Must-Haves for Your Company’s About Page

Gregory Gomer

Gregory Gomer

Gregory Gomer from Streetwise Media writes that there is nothing more frustrating than a lack of useful information when visiting a new company’s About page.

I can’t tell you how many new companies I hear about and can’t find where they are located or how many people are on their team. The user experience for a journalist researching your company is very  important, as it could sway the tone of your piece and the amount of information included.

Read the Full Story.