You’re Not as Good at Sales as You Think

founder salesA 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 or business development professional.  But even with demonstrated success, they probably aren’t near as good at sales or business development as they think and this misconception can create some challenges later.  Let’s explore this phenomenon a little further.

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The 8 Personas of Successful Entrepreneurs – Which Are You?

entrepreneur personas and personalitiesSuccessful 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 an interesting field and one that often stokes the debate over whether successful entrepreneurs are born with the prerequisite traits or if they can also be learned/developed over time.  Rather than get into that debate, I thought I would share what I see as the eight most common personas of successful entrepreneurs.

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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 the relative importance of these two things.  But those resources are replaceable.  There’s another resource that isn’t, and it’s Time.  Time is an entrepreneur’s most valuable resource and is the subject of this article.  Given the various other tools and resources you have, how can you maximize time?  Let’s explore further.

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Importance of the Time-to-Value Metric

time to valueWhat 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 card you immediately want to go shopping and with the new smartphone you immediately want to port over your contacts and download your favorite apps so you can start using it.

The same thing happens when subscription-based companies sell their offering to a new customer.  This article describes the all-important time-to-value (TTV) metric and the various ways it can be measured.

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Is a Startup Accelerator Right for You?

Uncle Sam - I want youIt 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 boot camps and co-working spaces, each has a different collection of benefits and associated costs.  But how should you go about deciding if they are right for you and your particular venture?  And if the answer is “yes”, how do you go about comparing them?  Let’s explore further.

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Expanding Beyond Your Home Market (Marketplaces)

Flight MapSome online marketplaces that have a local services component on one side of the marketplace carry an extra burden that “pure” online marketplaces don’t have.  Such marketplaces can’t immediately gain broad geographic coverage for their offering.  Examples, include transportation network companies (ie – Uber, Lyft), food delivery services (ie – GrubHub, Postmates), in-home cooking services, on demand photography services and many other types of services that aren’t easily on-boarded into the marketplace and activated without some local presence by the marketplace company itself.

This phenomenon creates an extra burden when trying to scale after initial business model validation and that, in turn, creates an extra burden when trying to convince investors to put their money into the company.  If you have such a company, read on because in this article I describe some key things to consider and possible approaches to take when devising your market expansion plan.

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Golden Rules for Really Tough Times

tough timesMany (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 is what actually happens a high percentage of the time after getting extremely low on cash.  But it’s not what always happens and even if closing the company is the only option, there is a certain way to go about it.  This article highlights some golden rules to keep in mind upon hitting really tough times, having doubts about survival and deciding how to proceed.

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