Month: February 2012

“80% of purchasing is emotional” – Elizabeth Edwards

Features are what the product does.  Consequences are what the product let’s you do.  Values are why all this is important.  In the moment, all buying decisions are emotional.  You need to understand those emotional drivers and make sure your product or service touches those drivers.

There’s only ONE way to do that.  Talk to your customers.

Read “Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less” by Elizabeth Edwards

“Think for one hour every day.” – Jeffery J. Fox

Get away, get quiet, go run or ride or walk, get some coffee, shut the door, disappear…  Shut down the noise for a few minutes and let your mind work.

Sometimes, answers come when you reflect.

You should make time for it.  Your day will fill up because there’s never enough time to get everything done, so plan on your thinking time.

Read “How to Become CEO” by Jeffery J. Fox

“There are only two rules of Finance – Cash is King and Love your Uncle.” – Unknown

This one was mentioned in my MBA Finance class.  Cash is the lifeblood of the business.  Guard it well for you’ll die without it.  Understand your customers’ process to pay.  It’s not always cash on the barrel head; especially the government and institutions.  They tend to be slow in letting their cash go.

The government wants their fair share so get help understanding the definition of “fair.”  Make sure your accountant has experience with startups… one who understands employee stock options and such.  Sometimes there are strategies that are “obvious” for sole proprietors that are detrimental to LLC’s.

“Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett

Those who think they own the market have an interest in keeping their share.  It is natural then to claim insight into the market and try to dictate to the market what it is they want next.

Pundits are worse.  Remember their goal is to get readers and followers, not necessarily understand where the pain is.

Customers may not know what they want but they know their pain.  Look for a problem in need of a solution.  Look where no one else is looking, perhaps at an underserved market segment that the big guys are ignoring because they are too big or busy to care.

When the incumbents are starting to take advantage of their existing loyal customers while trying to steal new customers, there is a market ripe for taking.

“I like the Apple strategy – Launch first, iterate quickly and blow the competition out of the water 15 million times” – Shashi Bellamkonda

Never deliver the perfect product.  It will be too expensive and take too long. Even if you do a lot of market validation, the only way to know how the market will respond is to put your product in their hands as soon as possible.

A good strategy is to target essential features from your market validation, launch the product and get feedback and iterate quickly.

 

“The number one respsonisibility of a leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure a commitment to and vigorous pursuit of that vision.” – Jim Collins

As the CEO, the Leader of your new company, this is your job.  Even though you may not have any staff right now, you still have to inspire those around you to join up with you in pursuit of your vision.

If you’re the person who created the solution or the one who is developing the technology, this can be a hard transition.  Why?  Because science or engineering is what you’re good at and you’d rather do the things you know you are good at.  In fact most people, when presented with two options, will gravitate toward the one they are most comfortable. This gets worse under stress.

When you start a company, you either have to take on this leadership responsibility and find help with the technical, or keep the technical and find your leader.

It can’t happen part-time…

Read “Beyond Entrepreneurship” by Jim Collins