50 One-line Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs and Fledgling Startups

8:18:00 AM

The Internet is chock-full of advice for entrepreneurs and startups. You could spend days, if not weeks, reading article after article and blog after blog to get it the best advice.  This post is intended to give you some of the “gems.”

Execution

I’m not talking about killing the competition here—not literally anyway. Quite the contrary, I advocate an acknowledgment of the fact that there is competition and that you understand that your idea is not so unique. Execution is all about taking an idea or concept from a dream to reality. 

 50 One-line Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs and Fledgling Startups
Here are some thoughts on the subject that may help you attain that lofty goal.
  1. An idea is just a thought until it is acted upon.
  2. To execute well, you need to be comfortable making tough decisions, taking risks and accepting complete responsibility.
  3. Most of us have ideas, but those remembered by history are the entrepreneurs who take an idea or concept and execute its successful transition to a marketable product or service.
  4. If execution were easy, we would all be millionaires because we all have ideas.
  5. Life is fast—business is faster, which means to achieve the success you have to lead your competition, not just stay even.
  6. No one can know everything, so seek out those with the knowledge necessary to bring your idea to fruition.
  7. Focus on understanding how your value chain (customers, colleagues, suppliers, internal systems and your team) functions together to meet your goals.
  8. Learn to recognize less than optimal performance so that action can be taken quickly to get back on course.
  9. Empower your team to act in the absence of specific directives from you by establishing well-understood policies, procedures, and a shared vision.
  10. Recognize the importance of open communication within your enterprise by doing everything necessary to facilitate it.
  11. Measure performance throughout your business processes; in short, inspect what you expect.
  12. Establish and record your business metrics, not just regarding end results, but for each critical process so that if a crisis occurs, the source can be determined and corrected.
  13. Always have a “Plan B”.
  14. Ask yourself, “Why corporate leaders are called executives?”

Funding

High on the priority list of most startups and entrepreneurs is funding; basically how where to find it. I was reading a recent blog post comment posted by an entrepreneur seeking to fund. The URL was listed, so, out of curiosity, I opened the link and was directed to a domain name seller!  The domain was listed for sale at $1795. I can only assume his funding never materialized. Here are a few thoughts that may help your funding materialize.
  1. Be prepared to explain who your customer is.
  2. Have a thorough understanding of your potential clients’ needs and why they will buy your product or service to fulfill that need.
  3. Investors will ask you to prove that need through an existing market or proof of concept.
  4. Anticipate the investor's concerns by knowing in advance what a customer will pay for your product or service and how you know they are willing to pay that amount.
  5. Know exactly how much funding you require and why; be prepared to support the number with facts and figures.
  6. Investors want to know what’s in it for them so you must give thought to what percentage of the business you are prepared to give in exchange for funding.
  7. Even before the first round of funding, you need to be in a position to discuss future funding expectations and why you believe the business will need additional funding.
  8. Be prepared to negotiate because investors will always want to know if it can be accomplished for less or at the very least, incrementally.
  9. Even though your investor may believe in your business model, no investment will occur if you can’t demonstrate that you and/or your team are the best suited to execute it.
  10. A thorough understanding of your business model is your best route to successful funding.
  11. If you haven’t got the moxie to invest your sweat, tears, and treasure, you certainly have no right to expect that someone else will.

Marketing

All too frequently, marketing is an afterthought for entrepreneurs and startups. Most are too busy pursuing the goal of perfecting their product or service. Too many, it is unimaginable that prospective buyers will not see the value of their offering and snap it up. Unfortunately, this is not representative of the real world. Here are some things to contemplate.

  1. We live in a very complicated and noisy world so getting noticed is tough and being remembered is even tougher.
  2. Simply having unshakable faith in your product or service is no guarantee that people will buy it, which is why you must invest in market research.
  3. Do not think you can rely on viral marketing and word-of-mouth because without effective marketing across a range of media, you will not have a business.
  4. Don’t be so focused on your product or service that you fail to involve your customers during development or you may end up searching for a problem to solve with your innovation.
  5. One of any venture capitalists’ main focuses is the size of your company’s market, so this should tell you how important marketing is for obtaining funding.
  6. Take full advantages of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to raise the profile of your business, product or service.

Dealing with VCs and Angel Investors

Most entrepreneurs and founders dream of the day when they can make a legitimate case to a respected Venture Capital firm or Angel Investor. When that day comes, here are a few tips to consider.


  1. Respect investor money as much or more than you respect your own.
  2. Avoid extravagance in dress, environment and entertaining when meeting with investors.
  3. Never seek more funding than you can reasonably justify with factual data.
  4. Do not expect to fund for research and development.
  5. Keep your compensation expectations at a reasonable level.
  6. Always be mindful of the fact that investors are investing in you, more so than your idea, so conduct yourself accordingly.
  7. Smart investors want to keep their entrepreneur’s hungry for success and will be unlikely to provide funding beyond what is absolutely proven to be necessary.
  8. You will never receive a cent from an investor unless they are absolutely convinced you will give your best to the endeavor—24/7.

Sustainability

Sustainability is of particular importance to would-be investors and to the startup. It is important that your product or service has longevity, either in or of itself (very rare) or because it can act as a cornerstone or springboard for further innovation. I’m talking about progressivity.  For example, the Telegraph leads to radio, radio to television, television to satellite TV, satellite TV to Internet video streaming … that is sustainability.

  1. Adapt to your competition, embrace new technology and be prepared to exploit changing market conditions.
  2. Always remember that your idea is a beginning, not an end and what develops next will be more interesting and hopefully, more lucrative.
  3. Maintain flexibility in product development even in the late stages.
  4. Foster a culture that will encourage new ideas, a culture that seizes opportunities and put a system in place to identify them.
  5. Define goals that match customer demand, yet are consistent with your business strategy.
  6. Sustainability can be achieved by entering new markets or by combining your product or service with new technologies.

Random Thoughts

  1. Take full advantage of your VC contacts about networking because they have many influential contacts that can prove invaluable to your enterprise in a variety of ways.
  2. Think of competition as a validation of your product or service and embrace it.
  3. Failure puts you one step closer to your goal by eliminating a course of action that does not work.
  4. Most start-up failures can be attributed to a failure in execution at some level.
  5. Never be satisfied until your customers are satisfied which, as a practical matter, means you can never be satisfied.

Among these 50 tips, it is our sincere hope that you will find at least a few that are useful, motivational or that will move your thinking to a new paradigm.

This article was originally published at cbacfunding. You can read it here.  https://cbacfunding.com/blog/50-one-line-tips-for-budding-entrepreneurs-and-fledgling-startups/

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