Posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-05
Tags: Operations Board Meetings
So, I have wavered between "War and Peace" and the one page agenda for Board meetings. I stand somewhere in the middle. In my humble opinion, less is more, and here is what I recommend: (1) Agenda Page, (2) Minutes, (3) Dashboard, (4) Budget vs Actual, and (5) Business Discussion Points. Throw a cap table and financial back-up in a couple appendices (and make sure to update your cumulative dividends). Members, read on...PRIVATE: Members Only (569 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-07
Tags: Operations Founders
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-15
Tags: Operations Bootstrapping Obstacles
Posted by RichieBlueEyes on 2007-12-16
This post isn't meant so much to learn about investors but is key to starting a company and attempting to not destroy your current relationships and your company in the process. Yes, I'm aware I'm posting this at 12:37AM on a Saturday night (I suppose I have no life so my advice here take as you wish :) ... well, in my defense my gf is sleeping beside me.
But most of us crazy entrepreneurs, myself included tend to get tunnel vision, tune out the world and forget about family and friends and hyper focus while we are in the honeymoon period with our idea (according to my GF, i'm in a relationship with my macbook more than with her - to be honest I'm not sure why she stuck by me during my last venture but that's a story for a beer, not here). So while in the honeymoon period, try to take 15 minutes a day out and kiss your gf, your wife, your mother, your dog, call a friend, LEAVE YOUR LAPTOP and go for a walk and attempt to have a semblance of a life. I'm still struggling with this issue myself but if you're a first time entrepreneur especially, make sure you have an outlet, a hobby, a hookup buddy, anything to leave your computer alone. No, a girl across the country on AIM doesn't count nor does poking random girls on facebook.
One great way to kill a company (and i've done this) is by being so focused on it, you can't see the writing on the walls where there are issues and they blow up when they didn't have too. Too much work hurts more than helps. Life is about balance.
With that said, i think all entrepreneurs (including myself) need shrinks. Now, I've been saying this for a while but I haven't gone to see one so I suppose it's far harder to do than suggest. I do need one, ya know, the frequent highs/low, tunnel vision, ADHD etc...
Maybe attached to term sheets should come a prescription for Ritalin and a weekly appointment with a shrink" (just kidding...or am i" :)
RichiePRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by HBRuby on 2007-08-30
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-08
Tags: Operations Bootstrapping
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-04
Tags: Operations Crisis Burn Rate
I'm fundraising right now and it is absolutely brutal. I want to to tell all entrepreneurs, "Fight through this. You can raise capital." But that isn't true. You may not be able to raise capital until 2010 no matter how good your product or company is. It is not a reflection of you, just the external factors that are largely out of your control.
Survive until 2010 and position your company to take off as the next economic cycle does. These things always come back. While it is bad now, it will eventually get better. The Wall Street guys will get tired of losing money and companies will start hiring again.
I hope I am wrong. (Boy, do I hope I'm wrong.) Maybe Obama will follow through on his plan to eliminate capital gains tax on investments to startups. That would help us immensely. But I have heard nothing about that since it was mentioned during the campaign.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Gunnar Holmsteinn on 2010-07-28
Tags: Operations Bootstrap
When I first heard that we should "Bootstrap" it left a huge question mark on my face. I immediately thought about my statistics courses in the university; why in the world would my start up need to to derive estimates of confidence intervals for estimators of parameters of some statistical distributions. I actually thought about some of the R programs I wrote and started thinking how that could be applied. I eventually said that there was no need for that anytime soon, maybe a few years down the road. That left an even bigger question mark on the face of the guy I was chatting with.
It turns out that Bootstrapping is also a phrase in business finance. It's about keeping a tight fist on all your expenses and knowing that Cash Flow is more important than your mother. Something we've always been keen on doing but never had the correct lingo for it. In the past two years, we've put a huge emphasis on doing stuff that people, especially the people that pay us, like. The team has been very focused on organic growth and building our company the way we want.
In my mind, starting with little to no cash and working your way up is a very healthy start for a young company having to figure out how to make a great product.
Here are my Top 6 reasons why I think it's important to start by bootstrapping:PRIVATE: Members Only (4533 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-18
Tags: Operations Vendors Development
For those who have recently been funded (for the first time) or bootstrapping with own funds, I write to you personally as fair warning. Be careful putting all your eggs in the performance of one vendor as key to your launch strategies.
We did just this.
Our team worked with a technology vendor to develop our application from Sept 07-Jan 08, which was when this company was to launch our product. It never got completed.
We hired a third party project manager to attempt at salvaging the project and he worked with them until April 08 ~ still nothing. All the while the revenue we were taking in (from our previous beta application) dried up.
The reason I am sharing this is because I just read a post about lawsuits and how long they take / expensive they are. So true. We canceled our contract in April after they still did not perform or deliver. Per our contract they still had 30 days to deliver. Instead they placed a lawsuit on us.
The short of it is over the past 9 months we've dived into financial heartache. No product delivered, nothing $$ returned to us, legal bills and no revenue.
Our contract is pretty iron clad - even encompassing a penalty fee for every day they are overdue with the project. But, how can you fight with the best legal team (ours) against a vendor that has an essentially free team with lots of time on their hands?
My suggestions: if I had this to 'do over' I would say --
My due diligence would have been much more in-depth to include our attorney pulling a complete past history at the county, state and national level of this firm. I would have requested more direct client referrals to check out. Also, I will never give money to a firm again until a product is delivered - no matter how large the scale. We actually gave them a security deposit which we've not seen since.
Lastly, I would have actually hired my own internal team vs a firm - even if it were temporary, to complete this project. Our own team would have been underfoot and where I could reach out, touch base and keep dibs on their time management.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by fnazeeri on 2008-12-05
Tags: Operations Bankruptcy Crisis
I just finished writing this post about how startup failures are up. Not surprisingly Q4 2008 (already) is the biggest month for startup failures in the past 10 quarters.PRIVATE: Members Only (603 Characters)
Posted by MedTech Expert on 2008-01-07
Tags: Operations Hiring
Those that have a "growth" mind-set and keep learning, even if it means failing at first, provide the fuel for building a successful company. Those who have a "fixed" mind-set and avoid any prospect of failure will insure failure.
Hiring for talent may provide you with bright employees but may also lead to employees who do not take chances and cannot accept constructive criticism or setbacks.
Ask job applicants (and this applies to board members and advisors) how they feel about being involved with something that has a high probability of failure. While you may not believe this and you certainly are not selling this, answers to this question will speak volumes about the person in question and whether or not they are a fit.
Hire for both talent and mind-set.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-26
Tags: Operations Crisis Incompetence
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-26
Tags: Operations Employees
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-06
Tags: Operations Revenue Bootstrapping
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-10
Tags: Operations Taxes
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-15
Tags: Operations Founders Termination
Posted by fnazeeri on 2008-10-12
Tags: Operations Crisis
I just wrote this post on how venture investors decide which companies in their portfolio to let die, continue to fund or leave alone.PRIVATE: Members Only (888 Characters)
Posted by KipMcC on 2009-08-28
The next time you talk to your law firm, let them know they should pioneer (be the first, take credit) the following concept:
Early-stage, cash-efficient start-ups increasingly require an equally efficient supply chain in order to make it work. Take for example Capital Factory, Y-combinator or even micro-style investments from more traditional VCs. A start-up raising $20k – $250k simply cant afford traditional legal costs associated with:
* equity and option plans,
* option grants,
* convertible debt agreements,
* all docs associated with being INITIALLY funded (term sheets, standardized series-A docs),
* separation agreements and release paperwork,
* contractor agreements, and so on.
I propose the following: forward-thinking law firms should create a FREE legal library that includes AT LEAST the items listed above. The should GIVE this library to start-ups that agree to become clients after a funding event of a particular size…maybe $250k or more. To be clear: I’m suggesting that law firms loss-lead with this free legal library and win clients that may become the next Google (or, realistically, may also go out of business). It’s time for the supply chain to evolve. we're starting to see some standardization of termsheets...now let's continue the thought.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-17
Tags: Operations CEO Termination
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-03
Tags: Operations Barter Costs
Posted by fnazeeri on 2008-10-24
Tags: Operations Compensation
Posted by MedTech Expert on 2008-01-29
Tags: Operations Motivations
See the recently published HBR, February, 2008 for an excellent article, The Founder's Delimma, on the interplay of founders, venture capitalists, and growing pains. Basically, what is your goal - the exercise of power or to get rich"PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by RichieBlueEyes on 2008-03-05
Tags: Operations Board
You should always be in control of your own board. There is a simple way to do this, stack your board with people that are beyond reproach that are in your corner. Yes, you need to be well connected to pull this off but if do, you could end up with at least an even say on the board. Most entrepreneurs get board members from referrals, I say, get your friends! Don't get 100 board members, just a few that no one can tell you to get rid of...After-all you just gave them free stock...so they'll probably back you at least for the first year. However, don't get rubber stamp people that won't do anything. Make sure to get people that actually will be active.PRIVATE: Members Only (149 Characters)