Author: Gordon Daugherty

How to Part Ways with a Co-Founder

It royally sucks when a founding team reaches a point where they decide they can no longer work together, especially if many months or longer of hard work has already…

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sales compensation metric

Selecting Your Sales Commission Metric

For companies that don’t have a self-service customer acquisition model, no other function ties more directly to financial results than Sales.  Because of this, it is critical to have strong…

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startup advisor compensation

Startup Advisor & Board Compensation Guidelines

You’ve been working with a startup founder or perhaps a co-founding team and they pop the question: “Would you be interested in joining our advisory board?”  You were secretly hoping…

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Loretta Lynn – Differentiation

“You either have to be first, best or different.” – Loretta Lynn (country music legend)

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startup lies

Aspirations, Exaggerations & Outright Lies

Just from the article’s title you probably think you know everything I’m going to say, right?  I predict not but soon we will find out.  The basics definitions of aspirations,…

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startup evolution

The Numerous Evolutionary Paths to Startup Greatness

How many times have you read about a rocket ship company that’s taking over the world?  You get green with envy after imagining what it would be like to sit…

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strategic partnership

Get Your Strategic Partner to Fund Your R&D

I often talk about the “we’re big, you’re small” phenomenon that often exists when startups are seeking or negotiating a strategic partnership.  While that phenomenon certainly gives the big partner…

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pre-seed funding

Threading the Needle for a Successful Pre-Seed Round

Raising money from professional investors before your product is built, launched and generating revenue is far more difficult than when those things have already been accomplished.  This can result in…

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enterprise trial pilot poc

Getting Maximum Credit from Your Enterprise Trials

Investors are often skeptical of claims made by startup founders.  Among the various types of claims that can be made, this especially relates to all forms of traction.  This article…

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startup cap table

Your First Cap Table

Upon incorporating your new startup venture you will have quite a few choices to decide among.  You might decide to read online articles like this one and then take matters…

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startup mistakes

Accumulated By-the-Book Debt Will Eventually Come Due

In the earliest days of a startup, the founders are hugely optimistic and driven.  But they also know about the low odds of reaching the point of having paying customers…

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Series A sweet spot

Series A Sweet Spot Combines Size & Slope

I often get asked how much revenue is needed to successfully raise a Series A.  I can tell the entrepreneur wants me to confirm what they might have read in…

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Build a Company – Not Just a Product

It’s amazing how often I ask an entrepreneur to tell me about the business they are building only to get a response that goes on and on about the product…

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business plan

Your Initial Business Plan is a Huge List of Assumptions

While in the coffee shop with your co-founder and blank sheets of paper for brainstorming you are in what I refer to as the “hope, vision, promise and potential” phase. …

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Nikola Tesla – Foretelling a Wireless, Connected Future

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. ...

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advisor value

Extreme Value-Based Pricing

Many of us that sell products have learned about value-based pricing and the benefits from pricing our product based on the value the customer actually receives.  But I’m still amazed...

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Daugherty – The Grass Isn’t Greener

  “Growing a great company never gets easy.  It remains hard, just in different ways over time.” – Gordon Daugherty

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trade show hacks

Favorite Trade Show Hacks

Imagine this scenario.  You decide to pay $2,500 for the cheapest exhibit option at your industry’s big annual trade show.  You know you’ll spend another $2,500 on cheap travel, lodging…

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Daugherty – Churn

"Churn is like a leaky boat.  You can bail water (more new customers) and/or work on the leak (happier customers)." - Gordon Daugherty

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Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Will Revolutionize the Marketing Function

The field of marketing has dramatically changed over the past 15 years due to the advent and dramatic proliferation of the Internet.  Roles like social media marketing, activities like search…

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negotiating valuation cap

Negotiating Valuation with Investors

I know, you just want me to show you the scorecard and associated secret formula investors use to decide a supposedly “fair” valuation for your company.  Unfortunately, you are only…

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Henry Ford – Foretelling

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" - Henry Ford

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Good at Sales

You’re Not As Good at Sales As You Think

A company founder has no choice but to secure the first sales of their newly-created product and the first strategic partnership.  That’s because they can’t afford to hire a sales…

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Career Success

A Model For Career Success

Over time, society has increasingly expected instant gratification and uses of an “easy” button to achieve a desired result.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the pursuit of career success, it’s…

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Unknown – Taking Initiative

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now." – Chinese Proverb

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How Long Should You Bootstrap?

With as little as it costs to get a software startup off the ground these days, many entrepreneurs start off as what we call “bootstrappers” rather than fundraisers.  There’s nothing…

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bridge round

The Fundraising Chasm

Not much different than the famous chasm described in Geoffrey Moore’s book “Crossing the Chasm”, funding your startup venture over time also has a chasm.  This fundraising chasm doesn’t trip…

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Aristotle – Learning

"Learning is not child's play; we cannot learn without pain." – Aristotle (Greek philosopher, 384-322 B.C.)

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drag racer - Mock Layoffs

Use Mock Layoffs for a Well-Oiled Machine

It’s amazing how success can cause numerous blind spots for managers and executives.  The greater the success, the more severe the blind spots.  As an advisor I sometimes poke on…

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4P's marketing

The New 4 P’s of Marketing

Anyone that took a marketing class in college was taught about the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place, promotion).  And although the fundamental concepts are still valid, they just seem…

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entrepreneur personas and personalities

The 8 Personas of Successful Entrepreneurs – Which Are You?

Successful emergency room doctors must be highly intelligent and calm under pressure.  Successful  triathletes must to be goal-oriented and driven.  Successful songwriters must be creative.  What about entrepreneurs?  Entrepreneurship is…

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Edison – Persistence

"I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process." – Thomas Edison (inventor)

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customer success - Time-to-Value Metric

Your Most Valuable Resource

When I ask entrepreneurs what their most valuable resource is, I ALWAYS get one of two responses: money (aka – funding, cash) or people.  And it’s hard to argue about…

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startup fundraising

Using Verbal Commits to Secure Your First Investors

Almost no investor wants to be the “first check written” for your round of funding.  This makes total sense if you think about it from their perspective.  If you don’t…

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customer success - Time-to-Value Metric

Importance of the Time-to-Value Metric

What do buying a new smartphone and being given a gift card have in common?  In both cases you want to extract value as soon as possible.  With the gift…

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Roddick – Achievement

"At one point in your life you'll have the things you want or the reasons why you don't." – Andy Roddick (professional tennis player with 32 career titles)

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series a

A Series A Isn’t Just a Large Seed Round

Here’s a scenario I commonly see.  A startup raises $1M in total seed funding to turn their MVP into a real product and figure out a profitable and scalable customer…

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Tell Me Your Price and I’ll Tell You My Terms

I didn’t invent this quote (can’t remember where I heard it) but what a great one to help remember that with most business-related transactions, price is definitely not the only factor.  Three…

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equity crowdfunding rules

What You Should Know About the Equity Crowdfunding Rules

FINALLY!!!  After years of waiting for equity-based crowdfunding rules (aka Reg CF) to be adopted and put into effect following legislative approval of the JOBS Act of 2012, it’s finally…

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Churchill – Optimism

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." – Sir Winston Churchill (there is controversy as to whether he actually said this)

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pitching event

Preparing for a Pitching Event

I’m not talking about a stand-up presentation in front of an individual investor or VC firm but rather some form of on-stage pitching event.  It might be called a “demo…

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Eisenhower – Planning

"No battle was ever won according to plan, but no battle was ever won without one." (Related: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but...

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technology licensing

Licensing Your Technology

Some startups build core technology with the sole purpose of making money by licensing it to others while other startups later discover they have something that could be licensed as…

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Defending Your MVP or Prototype Stage with Investors

Defending Your MVP or Prototype Stage with Investors

While you are still in the idea phase, investors tend to focus on vision, promise, potential and personality traits of the founder(s) because that’s all you have for them to…

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Colten – Imitation

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" – Charles Caleb Colton, 1820       Note:  Similar versions of this quote can be found as far back as 1708: "You...

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bridge note

Bridging a Gap Using a Convertible Note

Most startups think of a convertible note as the most common fundraising vehicle used during the pre-seed and seed stages (see related article titled “Convertible Note Basics“).  What they might…

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startup accelerator

Is a Startup Accelerator Right for You?

It seems like everywhere you look now there is some form of startup program advertising their method of helping entrepreneurs increase their odds of success.  From incubators and accelerators to…

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marketplace expansion

Expanding Beyond Your Home Market (Marketplaces)

Online marketplaces are being created for just about anything you can think of.  Some have a local services component on one side of the marketplace that carries an extra burden…

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Intro to Enterprise Sales

Not all sales processes are created equal.  In fact, the whole purpose of developing a sales process for your company is to uniquely match the dynamics of your target audience’s…

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Ben Franklin – Planning

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" – Benjamin Franklin

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