Author: Gordon Daugherty


Exclusivity – Run Away or Embrace?

It finally happened.  You’ve been trying to get the attention of a huge strategic partner and finally they gave you a chance to explain the value you can bring them. …

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negotiating valuation cap

Justifying the Valuation Cap Amount in Your Convertible Note

In a previous article I explained what convertible notes are and when they are commonly used (see article titled Convertible Note Basics).  Now I’d like to dive into one of…

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startup fundraising

How Much Should You Raise?

Hopefully you are reading this before you decide how much to raise.  I’m referring less to very early seed funding just to get your minimum viable product (MVP) built, which…

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describing problem

Use Storytelling to Describe the Problem You Solve

In a previous article I suggested the proper flow and order of topics for your pitch deck (see article here).  Now I’d like to dive into the Problem section with…

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pitch deck

Pitch Deck Flow (Topic Order)

Your pitch deck will become the single most valuable communications tool to use with external audiences of all types.  You will use it for multiple purposes.  If you ever decide to…

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channel recruiting

Build Out a Channel By Swimming Upstream From Your Deals

You have a product that is ideally suited for a channel-based distribution strategy.  But every time you approach a prospective channel partner, they expect you to already have landed some…

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startup business plan

“Don’t Waste Time on a Business Plan” Doesn’t Mean Don’t Plan

I’m afraid the current “don’t waste time creating a business plan” mantra is doing unintended damage.  It’s leaving the impression on first-time entrepreneurs that they don’t need a plan of any sort.  What…

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A Quote Defining Luck

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" - Seneca (1st century Roman philosopher) - Abraham Lincoln - Darryl Royal (former UT football head coach) - Oprah Winfrey

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startup scalability

The Difference Between Growth and Scalability

Experiencing rapid growth is different from having scalability.  Growth is either an aspiration or something actively being experienced while scalability is a capability that may or may not get exercised.  Growth...

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Co-Marketing Explained

Thanks to HubSpot for this valuable explanation of what co-marketing is and what some of the common forms are (article here).  One of my blog categories is devoted to business development (BD).  BD…

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convertible note basics

Convertible Note Basics

This article isn’t intended to get into every detail of convertible note mechanics. But I get enough questions about when to use them and what the basic components are that…

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startup marketing

Why Isn’t a Marketing Professional One of Your First 10 Employees?

If you’ve seen my bio or LinkedIn profile, you’ll know I’ve served three stints as a CMO and roughly half of my professional career has been spent in a marketing…

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startup tax mistakes

Common Tax Mistakes Startups Make

I love this blog post from Upstart Business Journal with 7 common tax mistakes US-based startups make.  And even though the post was from December 2012, the concepts and recommendations are so fundamental that...

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pr is dead

PR is Dead – Or Is It?

The PR industry that is focused on high tech has been going through a continual transformation since the early 2000’s when the Internet started taking center stage for publicity.  I find a…

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price increase

Thought About Raising Your Prices Lately?

Effective pricing strategy involves part art and part science.  But it’s not a “set it and forget it” aspect of your business plan.  Once you start getting some traction for…

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When Prospective Investors are Looking for Predictability

If you’re fundraising during the very early formation of your company, your ability to predict the future will be very difficult.  Of course, you can imagine and dream what might…

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Wayne Gretzky – Take the Shot

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky

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business development

More BD Resources = More Chaos

I’m a firm believer that business development activities should be focused and with a stated purpose/objective and expected return.  But what most companies do is hire one or more BD…

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Considerations with Promotional Items

Every company needs giveaway promo items but how much should you spend and on what type of items?  It’s a real bummer to order 1,000 of something only to find…

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Consider Everything

Consider Everything Short of a “Yes” a “No”

I recently heard Dr. Robert Wiltbank from Willamette University use this analogy and loved it so much I had to share it with others.  Entrepreneurs are, by nature, very optimistic.  It’s one…

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Why Use a GPS When a Compass Will Do

Why Use a GPS When a Compass Will Do?

I guess the corollary to this could be “don’t use a compass when the precision of a GPS is needed”.  In fact, the main point is to use the best…

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tracking progress

A Simple Back-of-Napkin Assessment of Company Progress

I don’t have anything against a traditional SWOT analysis but recently found myself helping a couple of startups figure out how they are progressing against their business plan and vision. …

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Shakespeare – Cowards, Valiants & Death

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.  Of all the wonders that I yet have heard it seems to me most strange...

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closing an investor

Getting to Closure with an Interested Investor

Some investors want to be the last one to commit and few want to be the first.  It’s mostly a safety and survival technique.  Think about it from their perspective. …

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Having Trouble Raising Money?

Fundraising is rarely easy and is usually a far underestimated undertaking by entrepreneurs that haven’t done it before.  In the fundraising section of this blog, I describe ways of approaching the…

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Don’t Accidentally Kill Your Future Acquisition Exit

Too many startups discover they’ve got an acquisition-blocking or acquisition-inhibiting issue after a price tag has already been agreed with the acquirer.  It comes out during due diligence and the…

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cofounder conflict

Avoiding Co-Founder Conflict

I really enjoyed this article from Dharmesh Shah.  It’s unbelievable how many startups get into trouble not because their product isn’t having success or their company can’t scale but rather…

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Does Your Solution Require Two Constituent Audiences to be Convinced?

In the world of mobile apps, as an example, a startup can create a minimum viable product (Lean Startup Methodology – order book here) and put it into the open…

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sales commission compensation

5 Golden Rules of Sales Compensation

Sales incentive plans are really delicate things.  This stems from the fact that the best sales reps/managers intuitively do whatever puts the most money in their pocket.  They do so…

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sales commission plan mistakes

Is Your Sales Incentive Plan Driving Bad Behavior?

Within legal and ethical limits, a good sales rep should do whatever puts the most money in their pocket and it’s up to the company to make sure their associated actions and…

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Bobby Knight – Will to Win

“Everyone has a will to win.  What’s far more important is having the will to PREPARE to win.” – Bobby Knight

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Improving the Quality of Your Marketing Content

I’ve written about how prospects take themselves through 60% of the sales journey (see related article titled “Prospects Take Themselves Through 60% of the Sales Journey“) and have challenged readers…

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You Never Know What Operational Metrics You’ll Need – So Instrument Everything

It happens over and over and over again.  A company has a successful growth spurt and is ready to ratchet up to the next level.  They are sitting around a…

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startup fundraising

Don’t Spend to Your Fundraising Goal Until It’s in the Bank

I know, I know – your idea is hot, your business plan is solid and you got an awesome reception from the recent demo day you participated in.  You’ve got simultaneous dialog going…

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Stuck at 75% of Your Fundraising Goal – Now What?

Here’s the scenario. After finding your first investor and then having a flurry of activity over a month or two (see related article titled “The Domino Effect of Fundraising”) that…

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Inbound Marketing Explained (Infographic)

You’ll hear phrases like inbound marketing, digital marketing and Internet marketing used somewhat interchangeably.  What is all this newfangled stuff?  Prospects commonly take themselves through 60% or more of the…

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Prospects Take Themselves Through 60% of the Sales Journey

Customers of all types have an unbelievable amount of information with which to use to decide if they want to buy your product – and all without ever having to…

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Applying Lean Startup Principles to Your Sales Model

Certain startups can only guess what type of sales model they will end up with once their ready-for-primetime product is released.  We are now conditioned to use the Lean Startup (order book here) concept…

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Is Your Website Enabling Sales?

Regardless of your sales model, your website should be the #1 asset when it comes to enabling sales.  It is commonly reported that prospects these days take themselves through 60%…

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Unknown – Story About an Opportunist

Many years ago, a large American shoe manufacturer sent two sales reps out to different parts of the Australian outback to see if they could drum up some business among…

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The domino effect of fundraising

The Domino Effect of Fundraising

Fundraising can seem like herding cats.  You get some initial momentum, potentially from a pitching event, and have a bunch of conversations but can’t seem to get the funding commitments…

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Mark Twain – Fatherhood

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be 21, I was…

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vitamin versus aspirin

Vitamin or Aspirin – Which are You Offering?

I don’t know who came up with this analogy but I’d love to thank him/her because it’s a perfect way to think about your offering and its value proposition.  Is…

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selling your company

Are You Selling Your Company or is Someone Buying It?

If you find yourself in the position of considering a sale of the company, the significance of the distinction between selling your company and someone buying your company is HUGE. …

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bonus round executive

Is Your Potential Co-Founder Already in the Bonus Round?

For years I’ve helped friends and former business colleagues with their job search.  If I find out they are thinking about working for a startup or early stage company, I…

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Voltaire – Ideas of the Time

“Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives.  Very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.” – Voltaire (1700’s)

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The Half-Life of a Tweet

The textbook definition of Half Life is “the time required for something to fall to half of its initial value.  The term is mostly commonly associated with the behavior of atoms in…

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business development

Disguising PR as Strategic Business Development

I have a lot of pet peeves with business development, having run the function for multiple companies.  This one in particular relates to how, too often, a PR-related effort is…

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so what rule

The “So What” Rule

I use this rule all the time when advising startups and early stage companies.  Actually, it has application in any sort of sales pitch, regardless of your company’s stage.  I…

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“And Then Magic Happens” – Are You Accidentally Making This Claim?

I just came from a startup pitching event with about 100 angel investors and VC’s in the audience.  The startups only had the typical 5 minutes to give their pitch,…

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