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 wrong with that approach but staying in the bootstrapped mode for too long can carry some consequences.  This article explores that further.

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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 these blind spots only to get a reaction like “Hey, we’re doing really well, what’s the problem?”  Well, it can be a big problem for multiple reasons that can backfire on you later if you’re not careful.  Let’s explore further.

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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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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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Establishing a Management System

Startup Management SystemI know what you’re thinking.  “We don’t even have 20 employees, so why do we need a management system?”  You might be thinking this because you previously worked for a larger company and one of the things you hated was death-by-meetings, decision-making red tape and excessive processes/procedures.  Or you might not yet know what a management system is but it sounds burdensome.  But every company needs a method to their madness – a way of getting things done, deciding what to focus on and communicating to the team so everyone is pointed in the right direction.  That’s a Management System.  Now you just need some tips for how to right-size a management system for your stage of company evolution so that it is most effective.  This article focuses on the very early stages.

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Sizing Your Market

estimating market sizeMarket sizing is a very important element of your business plan and pitch deck.  The size of your market a question you’ll get asked all the time by investor prospects.  And it’s something you’ll find yourself defending, even if much of the underlying data and assumptions didn’t come from you.  As the title of this article suggests, I’m talking about your market size.  But how do you go about estimating the size of your market and what should you do if the resulting estimate is way too big or way too small?  Read further for a few hints and tricks for conducting this important exercise.

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Cool Code Names

code namesHow cool is it to use a code name for an important project rather than “version 2.5” or “next gen”?  Same for a game-changing initiative that will fundamentally change the landscape and trajectory for the company.  This article includes a list of more than 300 code names to consider for your project.  In fact, one column includes code names grouped by a particular theme (can you figure out the theme for the last group in the list?) and another column just lists a bunch of cool words and phrases to consider for code names.  I’ve used many of these code words over the years and hope you enjoy using them too.

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