Author: Gordon Daugherty

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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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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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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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 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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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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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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bootstrapping

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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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

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

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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negotiation

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

What You Should Know About the New 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

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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negotiation

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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approached for acquisition

Approached for Acquisition – Now What?

I have written articles about various aspects of M&A and have even written two, based-on-true-story case studies (titled “A Tale of Two Acquisitions”) to teach the numerous lessons I’ve learned…

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Golden Rules For Really Tough Times

Many (probably most) startups go through periods of extremely little cash in the bank and with visions of crashing and burning before being able to recover.  Unfortunately, crashing and burning…

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strategic partnership

The Hidden Value of Embedding With Your Strategic Partner

It usually takes a huge effort to get the attention of a big strategic partner and impress them enough to get a formal partnership. In fact, might have you read…

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Naval Ravikant – Desire

“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”  – Naval Ravikant (serial entrepreneur, angel investor)

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Startup Lessons from Mother Goose

As I was reading a collection of Mother Goose rhymes that I bought to eventually read to my new granddaughter, I was reminded of a great book titled “All I…

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Startup Lessons from Dr. Seuss

As I was reading some Dr. Seuss books that I bought to eventually read to my new granddaughter, I was reminded of a great book titled “All I Really Need…

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10 Basic Fundraising Terms You Must Understand

Every field of study has its basic vocabulary of words and phrases that come up over and over again. This vocabulary is so fundamental that it is used to explain…

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demand generation campaign portfolio optimization

Optimizing Demand Generation Using Portfolio Theory

There is one question that haunts every experienced marketing executive as it relates to spending money on demand generation: what is the optimal mix of demand gen marketing campaigns and…

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Einstein – Simplicity

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" – Albert Einstein Note:  There is some dispute about whether Einstein actually wrote or said this.  Lord Rutherford...

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hiring your first sales employees

Hiring Your First Sales Professional

You built your MVP, got it launched to the delight of some paying customers and just raised some seed funding to move to the next phase of your company’s evolution.  You…

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Misuse of Open Source Software Can Kill Your Acquisition Exit

How can something that’s free and openly available cause so much unintended harm to your business?  The availability of open source software has contributed as much to lowering the cost…

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Mark Twain – Vigor

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." - Mark Twain

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website conversion rates

10 Ways to Improve Website Conversion Rates

Regardless of your ideal mix of demand generation programs, I’m willing to bet that most of them are designed to bring prospects to your website in the hopes of later…

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strategic partnership

A Secret to Securing a Strategic Partnership with a Major Player

Most startups desperately crave a partnership with a big, strategic player that could offer them significant leverage and credibility.  Just think about the giants in your particular industry.  That’s who…

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Investors Write Checks for Outcomes, Not Activities

In a previous article, I described various ways to determine how much money to raise (you can read it here).  If you’ve decided and communicated how much you are raising, you might…

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