In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the Pre-Revenue stage. This blogpost is focused on the MVP stage. As a reminder, at this stage a startup has begun building its management team, is developing an MVP (Minimally Viable Product), and is engaging with customers for proof of concept. But, it probably is self-funded or has friends and family for financial support. Now, the biggest debtbergs to avoid have changed from the Pre-Revenue stage…
Starting a company can be awesome, especially in the ideation phase—when everything is blue sky and possibility, and nobody has to worry about making payroll. But no founder or even founding team can be successful going it alone. Eventually you have to hire others to help you get the job done and move from a fantastic idea to a real company. So when do you know you are ready for that first hire?
“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
How many times have you heard the statement, “We need a road map to make sure we are headed in the right direction?” In fact, sometimes the business plan is described as “the road map” for the buddingstartup. Unfortunately, the road map as a metaphor prompts all the wrong associations for even the most promisingnew startup. Why?
When White Star decided to change strategy from building fast ships to building large ships, it still needed to find a way to differentiate its ships. So, it decided that the Titanic would be both the largest and the “finest” ship in the world. Its innovations would rival even today’s massive cruise ships. To accomplish this goal, it had a number of engineering and design challenges to overcome –
People sometimes describe entrepreneurs as risk takers. They see starting a company as a risky activity. Yes, there is risk involved. But, navigating uncertainty rather than being risky is the essential task of the entrepreneur. What to build, how to build it, whom to partner with, whom to sell to, and how to fund growth… these are really tasks laden with uncertainty.
Most founders we talk to have a little glaze in their eyes as they share their vision. You can tell that in their mind’s eye, they see their startup as a Unicorn. At a minimum, they can see revenues of $100 million. And that’s great – they should have a lofty and bold vision of what they can accomplish. Without that vision, they are guaranteed not to get there. We wondered, just how likely is this kind of an outcome?
The most important job of a startup in the early stages is figuring out product/market fit. Turns out that this is much, much harder than it sounds like. You know the basic story:
- Entrepreneur has a great idea for an unsolved problem to fix
- They envision what they think needs to be done to fix it
- They built that product (BTW – when we say product, it could be either a product or a service)
…We like to call this The Capital S problem. What is the Capital S in most SaaS startups? Founders, particularly those with a technical background, like to think it is the first S—Software (Saas). That is much more scalable and sellable to investors. But even the most intuitive software…