There are few–if any–real secrets to entrepreneurial success. Most entrepreneurial secrets are hiding in plain sight, available to anyone who keeps their eyes and ears open and is willing to ask questions.
It’s not uncommon for a startup’s offering to evolve from service to system integration to product. Here is an explanation for the reasons and benefits.
A focus on inefficiencies is a good method to find a underserved market where you can bootstrap you way to viability. Here is a list of several others.
How do you answer someone who asks “Should I be an entrepreneur?”
Max Gunther’s “The Zurich Axioms” is aimed at investors but also offers valuable insights and rules of thumb for entrepreneurs.
Silicon Valley startup culture embraces hard work, but some entrepreneurs fall into the trap of working long hours as an end in itself. With no limits on the workday, Parkinson’s Law warns that work will simply take over your life.
When Cyberspace everts into the real world enabling communication and connection for non-computing related applications we call it IoT (the Internet of Things).
Fundamental questions allow you to explore new perspectives that can unlock new opportunities. Entrepreneurs can be unwilling to ask them–even of themselves–because a label that is commonly applied: stupid questions.
If you are a startup founder you are very likely spending an hour or two a day reading and writing email. Some days it may seem that you spend most of your time responding to emails from prospects, customers, partners, cofounders, service providers, and spammers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start negotiating a complex business relationship: for example a software license, SaaS subscription, or a reseller or OEM relationship. Entire books are written on negotiation, I am trying to highlight some questions that can get overlooked.
A review of some remarks by Vinod Khosla on “Silicon Valley Vision” in 2012 and the value of youth from the Nasscom conference in November 2011. I contrast that with an earlier article by Jim Collins on “Built to Flip.”
I like getting up early and arriving early. But I find the hours late at night can unlock a lot of creativity so I often get up late unless I schedule something early. I also like working up to the last possible moment–what is it about the last few minutes before you have to leave that are so productive–that I arrive late. Starting from myself as someone with good intentions but poor follow through here are some observations and suggestions for getting up early and arriving early.
I can be very productive with a certain amount of background noise, I find it easier to write if there is music playing or I am in a moderately noisy coffee house where there are many low conversations going on in the background. But when I really need to think hard about something–typically a problem or a challenge I am facing–and give it all of my concentration and focus, then working in silence is best.
Some models I like for change management in organizations. Startup entrepreneurs frequently have to navigate the challenges managing change as a part of the sales process. Intrapreneurs should find this list useful as well. I welcome any suggestions for additions, refinements, or improvements.
Getting the best out of your team starts with careful listening and observation. This is especially true for a startup or a product team where you to want leverage input from a variety of experts around the table.
A startups social capital, the network of relationships that the founders have with friends, former co-workers and associates, and friends of friends represent a key resource for the team. It’s possible to activate this network to help you solve a variety of problems–e.g. finding a cofounder, finding early employees, finding contractors, finding early customers, finding investors, finding advisors–but you can normally only activate for one purpose at a time.
This article explores the specific experiences of an entrepreneur (who uses the pseudonym “Hard Drive,” a nickname he earned early in his career for his tenacity and decisiveness) and lessons learned bootstrapping a high-tech software as a service business in the social media space. His sustained efforts enabled him to raise $40,000 in angel funding, pull together a team of part-time contributors working for equity, establish three pilot customers and present to 11 venture capital firms. All of this was accomplished while the founder and CEO held regular, full-time employment at a Fortune 500 high tech firm.
Texas Hold’Em offers some useful models for technology startups: pick the right table (competitors) and understand how your cards best combine with common cards (the status quo and adjacent possible)
Timothy Gallwey’s “Inner Game of Tennis” came out in 1974 and sparked a revolution in coaching and how athletes should approach improving their performance. There are several lessons that entrepreneurs can use in improving their personal performance and coaching others.