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Milestones to Startup Success

Milestones to Startup Success
Update added to end of post When your startup accepts outside money (such as venture capital), you are obligated to focus on maximizing long-term shareholder value. For most startups this is directly based on your ability to grow (customers, revenue and eventually profit). Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of growth; the common mistake is trying to force growth prematurely. This is frustrating, expensive and unsustainable – killing many startups with otherwise strong potential. Most successful entrepreneurs have a good balance of execution intuition and luck. Several startups later I have a much better understanding of the key milestones needed for a startup to reach its full growth potential. Day 1: Validate Need for Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Before any coding begins it is important to validate that the problem/need you are trying to solve actually exists, is worth solving, and the proposed minimum feature set solves it. Where’s the Love? Metrics Start Charging Driving Growth

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The marketing challenge for startups Watch this video with Indinero’s founder, Jessica Mah. She’s 20 years old. I’ve known her since she was 16 and she’s always been an aspiring entrepreneur. But look around the house that the co-founders all share. Five geeks sharing rent in Silicon Valley. Keeping expenses down. How to Discuss Stock Options with Your Team I was thumbing through Twitter messages on my Blackberry on Monday (I use Twitter as a “mobile first, web second” product) when I saw the following Tweet (see graphic). I resisted the temptation to jump in with a response because I knew it was too complicated of a topic to discuss on Twitter. But I thought I should do a quick post on the topic.

The Startup Pyramid Every six months I rethink the optimal startup go to market approach based on new insights gained at recent startups. Lately I’ve been using a pyramid to represent the process I’m using. Startups require a solid foundation of product/market fit before progressing up the pyramid and scaling the business. Achieving Product/Market Fit Product/market fit has always been a fairly abstract concept making it difficult to know when you have actually achieved it. Marketing and The Bubble Rand Fishkin has a good post in response to my marketing posts over the past two days. In it he makes this assertion: For the first few years that I was in the "web world," 1997-2001, there was a dangerous and obvious bias in startups toward sales and marketing – and branding in particular. But, in the past few years, that pendulum has swung to the equally dangerous paradigm that product is everything. And then he shows this great graphic:

Establishing Your Reputation as a Startup CEO Before Launch Yesterday, I wrote about the things you can do to prepare your startup's website pre-launch. But your online presence doesn't solely exist on and shouldn't solely rely on your company website. And it's incredibly valuable that just as you work on it, that you work to develop an online presence for you, the entrepreneur. Case in point: the relaunch this past week of SpeakerText, whose CEO Matt Mireles I had a chance to talk to. Looking back at the first mention of SpeakerText on ReadWriteWeb in January, that story begins, "You've probably never heard of Matt Mireles." But now, despite a back-to-the-drawing-board period for SpeakerText where the company itself was pretty quiet, if you're active in entrepreneurial circles online, you're much more likely to have heard of Mireles.

How might we support web entrepreneurs in launching and growing sustainable global businesses? - Concepting - MARKET MINDED Idea A NEW type of incubator where designers, entrepreneurs, and developers WITHOUT IDEAS could come together to discover what the INDUSTRY NEEDS and what the MARKET WANTS, so that they could develop SUCCESSFUL & PROFITABLE technology. There is a NEED for an INCUBATOR that better tracks MARKET NEEDS and INDUSTRY TRENDS on the web with special focus on: Marketing, startups and the importance of achieving a lot with a little (for startups) « The Equity Kicker Over the weekend I was talking with an early stage VC about how much traction he likes to see in a company before he invests (answer: enough to have some confidence that the product works, the go to market works and there is some demand). Subsequently I was thinking through how companies would get themselves to that stage without needing the sort of funding he provides. There are a number of answers of course, including true seed stage friends and family and angel funding, but the most important answer to to find a way to achieve a lot with a little.

Founder Institute: How To Launch In 10 Steps With Less Than $2,000 For any entrepreneur, the challenge of taking an idea to launch can be a daunting and expensive journey. Fortunately, Adeo Ressi, founder of TheFunded and startup accelerator, Founder Institute, has a ten step plan. While there is no foolproof recipe for every launch, Ressi says his template will help any tech entrepreneur get a business off the ground for less than $2,000. The program, which Ressi recently presented at the Founder Institute’s Boston location, is a bare bones guide to securing your startup’s online identity, enhancing your appearance of legitimacy (through low-cost but well designed logos and marketing materials), understanding your startup’s priorities and target consumer, and finally, getting it to the point of a rough web launch.

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