How do I make sure that Google doesn't copy our startup idea?

This is sort of like asking, “How do I create a masterpiece of art?”. The answer is so complex it involves years, maybe decades for most, of experience in strategy, product development, intellectual property, operational excellence and more.

Creating Sustainable Competitive Advantage, which is the only thing that drives higher exit values, is art. And involves many disciplines. I created a web page titled The Entrepreneur's Journey which lays out the 25+ skills, and arts really, that are required to build a valuable company that can grow rapidly and provide a strong exit for investors here: The Entrepreneur's Journey

If you ask this question, you are far from ready and need to dedicate years more to study and learning. I suggest you check out The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp here: Home Page, begin reading a few books a month and plan to develop strategies and management skills first.

Join the course How to Raise Millions from Outside Investors


Bob Norton...

Continue Reading...

Why Do Founders Often Fail as CEOs?

Because being a CEO of a startup is the most complex job there is today. People greatly underestimate what it takes to be successful. It takes at least 10 and more likely`5+ years' experience to accumulate the experience needed for a high chance of success.

Here is a list of the skills we teach at The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp:

1. Recruiting

2. Management

3. Marketing & Branding

4. Product Development & Innovation

5. Operations, customer services

6. Finance

7. Sales

8. Raising capital

9. Leadership

10. Competitive Intelligence

11. Market Research

12. Vision

13. Competitive Strategy

14. Organizational Development (OD)

15. Industry/domain expertise

Now the CEO does not need to be expert in these, but that expertise is needed on a team and they need to understand how to manage that area including knowing when someone else is good at it to execute.

I have created a 3-part video course here reviewing this in more detail called The Entrepreneur's Journey here


Join the...

Continue Reading...

Do Most Top Owners of Big Companies Have the Best Technical skills?

Very rare and almost impossible except in the startup days. Owners need to master other skills like this list to scale a company. Sometimes they help build the first product but usually people with far more talent come in and improve it greatly, as they have 15, 20 or more years experience.

Because being a CEO of a startup is the most complex job there is today. People greatly underestimate what it takes to be successful. It takes at least 10 and more likely`5+ years' experience to accumulate the experience needed for a high chance of success.

Here is a list of the skills we teach at The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Management
  3. Marketing & Branding
  4. Product Development & Innovation
  5. Operations, customer services
  6. Finance
  7. Sales
  8. Raising capital
  9. Leadership
  10. Competitive Intelligence
  11. Market Research
  12. Vision
  13. Competitive Strategy
  14. Organizational Development (OD)
  15. Industry/domain expertise 

To learn more, click here

Now the CEO does not need to be an expert in all...

Continue Reading...

What Skills and Qualities are Essential for Leadership?

The most important traits of quality leaders are integrity, good management and people skills, the ability to see the future (need or market) and communicate that vision to their team and others. Obviously, some domain/industry expertise in the areas you are executing.  Some may call this “Selling the vision” and that can be to employees, investors, vendors or anyone.  A leader aligns all parties needed to proceed forward, including all stakeholders. 

I define leadership as when you do not have to look back because you know people are following you because they want to and believe in accomplishing the mission. Not because they have to, or because of a corporate hierarchy.  Shackelton's Adventures is a great story on leadership, I recommend everyone read or view the documentary.  He saved all those lives on a disastrous voyage through strong leadership. 

Leadership is very different from management. Managers coerce people with...

Continue Reading...

What are the reasons why start-ups fail within first five years?

I wrote a free eBook answering this exact question in 2020: The Top Reasons Start Up Fail and How to Avoid Them. You can get that here

Starting a new company is a big risk that requires many skills.  Being a Founder of a startup is likely one of the most complex jobs there is today. People greatly underestimate what it takes to be successful.  It takes at least 10 and more likely 15+ years to accumulate the experience needed for a high chance of success.

Here is a list of the skills we teach at The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp:

1. Recruiting - Easy to do, hard to do well as quality of the team will be the #1 reason for success or failure. How do you know the right people? 

2. Management - An art that only comes from experience.  This will set the tone of your culture and its productivity and sustainability. 

3. Marketing & Branding - Another art few understand well. Get professionals involved early, as brand and...

Continue Reading...

When Should You Stop Making Developing the MVP and Start Building the Actual Product?

I created a short video series answering this exact question that you can view for free here called The Entrepreneur’s Journey.  An MVP's goals list should provide all the data to answer that question (example below for AirBnB).  Your first job is creating that list. Long before you start building a product. 

The purpose of an MVP is to get real-world customer feedback.  However, you will need to run the financials to balance what the budget can be to build it.  And to market test it too. Technical founders often greatly underestimate the cost and time needed for marketing.  It can even be more than the product build. 

Your MVP goal is simple: Prove the customer will buy and like the product at a particular price point. 
And that you can acquire those customers cost effectively given the margins. 

The next version could be a big step, or even many incremental releases depending on the feedback, technology and financial...

Continue Reading...

Can a CEO and CTO Have the Same Level of Authority in a Tech Company?

Absolutely not. The President is a legally defined position with all kinds of legal rights and responsibilities. Every other officer serves “her pleasure” maybe with some contract for termination rights.

Many President rights and responsibilities can vary by state and/or the company’s charter, but always way above any other Officer. It is where the “buck stops”. Anyone who is a Vice President or Officer can sign a legal contract or document for a company, binding the company legally. And should have mostly discretion in their area of the business, but that has limits, and a President can always override any decision of any other executive. Officer or not. That’s about it.

A CEO should, but does not always, have a vast array of skills beyond any VP or CTO. Most staff members member's knowledge is very focused on one area. That means they are unqualified to make decisions in most other areas. Just give some input. The CEO is more of a generalist and...

Continue Reading...

What are the Skills Required to be a Successful Entrepreneur?

Below is a list of the skills we teach at The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp. Lacking any one of them can kill a company or doom it to the “living dead” barely surviving. No one builds a successful business alone, though. It requires a team.

Only about 1 in 17,000 companies reaches $100M. Only 0.4% will break even $10 million. This is because the larger the company gets, till a certain point, the more skills you need. Companies over 100 people then become easier and easier to run because the systems, people and teams are in place. Startup CEO is the hardest job in the world. And also, the most valuable skills. Every billionaire self-made learned these skills.

Yet most young, naive Entrepreneurs dream of building that $1 billion company. Not going to happen except in very rare circumstances that combine lots of skill, experience and a great team with some luck too.

Any good CEO needs to be good at these things, which take years' experience to develop. They are all...

Continue Reading...

What are the Few Things Every Startup Needs?

Yikes. You are getting some bad answers here. In fact, some don’t even seem to know what a startup is really. Below is a link to a free video series I authored called The Entrepreneur's Journey, and it maps out almost everything a startup needs, mostly the stuff they don’t know they need.

However, let’s start with that definition of the word startup. A startup is not copying someone else's business model, freelancing or opening a dry cleaner. It is doing something new and different. Combining resources uniquely to create value for customers. In fact, if you are not doing something new and different (differentiated) you will never, ever attract either capital or quality senior people. This is called “Innovation”. And without it you have no startup. If you did not know that you are not ready to found a startup company yet and should stick to some simple service business while you learn the list of skills below.

A startup has a UNIQUE business model,...

Continue Reading...

The 11 Elements of a Successful Vision

There is a lot of talk about creating and maintaining a vision, especially as part of a CEO's job. In my opinion, ‘vision’ is a term that is both greatly overused as well as largely misunderstood.  Many people consider vision to be an all-encompassing view of the product or service, while others expand its meaning to include the entire market and still, others believe the term encompasses far more.

What is "Vision"? Why Do You NEED One? How Do You Use it? How Do You Know It Is Complete?

Having been personally responsible for a corporation’s vision for many years, I believe it covers more than what most people think. So, what follows is my definition of vision, and I do not understate the case when I say that, with few exceptions, the lack of a strong vision puts you at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” So is developing a vision.

To begin with,...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.