What Is A Reasonable Salary For Early Founders When Raising Outside Capital?

A reasonable salary for any CEO or founder is a $100K to $200K today. This depends on their experience and market value which could easily be $500K+. A CEO with ten years in that seat is worth $300K to $500K base salary, but investors want them to have skin in the game and urgency too.

Like a salesperson you never pay them enough in base salary to be totally happy, or financially comfortable. Stock value should be the main long-term motivation. At 20% capital gains tax, not 50%+.

What is more important is that the base salary is a small fraction of the upside of their equity. Investors want founders 100% focused, not worried about paying their personal bills, or moonlighting to do that.

Building a company is a marathon not a sprint. All the founders need to be committed for a 5 year period. And in any VC level opportunity ought to have at least $10M to $20M upside with reasonable success. With 3 to 5 key players that's a $100M stock option pool. Normally at least 10% of the company,...

Continue Reading...

What are the benefits of bootstrapping or self-funding a startup instead of accepting outside investments?

Typically, you cannot get outside funding until you have developed some team, plans and an MVP product (minimum viable product or prototype) from serious investors. People are misled by headlines thinking they can raise millions from outside investors with none of these. That only happens if you already made other investors rich, in which case it is likely you would fund your startup’s seed stage yourself to prevent early dilution.

Over 80% of startups fail because the founders underestimate the skills and team required. There are about 40 skills sets needed to build a scalable startup. Usually this requires a team of three people with 15+ years’ experience each to launch successfully. The college graduate that built a $100M startup is a myth propagated by ignorant reporters who fail to look behind the front person and just want headline click bait.

Bootstrapping is done because most need to do that with personal, co-founder and friends and family money to complete...

Continue Reading...

What are the Most Common Mistakes that Entrepreneurs Make?

Here is a short list of others, because there are hundreds:

  1. Assuming you can raise capital before you have a product, most cannot.
  2. Not building a team of 2–3 founders who can work for cheap or free for a year. You need this to build an MVP. This team needs marketing, sales and technical skills, not just product development, as the vision needs to be complete with a sales and marketing plan that requires senior expertise.
  3. Not doing sufficient market research and competitive intelligence to understand the target market and customer. Many are so paranoid of their idea being stolen (ideas are worthless, BTW) that they fail to validate their product/service.
  4. Pure arrogance and stupidity, yes, this may be 50%. They believe they can get others to do the hard work they need to do and keep the company. Some even believe they can just hire a CEO and give them 10% and keep 80% for themselves. Why would any experienced CEO ever do that when ideas are a dime a dozen, and they can just...
Continue Reading...

What is Your Resource Saving Tip for Individuals?

According to this source, resources needed from the planet will be exceeded by human demand this August. I guess this means more people starve and suffer soon. I find most corporate ESG initiatives to be all PR and no real meat or commitment. What are you doing to reduce the human footprint on the planet? 

So many easy things every individual can do. Interestingly, I learned today from a related chart you can see at link below that almond milk uses 40.9% less water than cow's milk. And my doctor recommends it for less cholesterol, too. These easy choices can help. 

Same with eating less red meat and more veggies. Better for you, too. ;0) 

Two-thirds of the economy is the consumer, and so our choices matter. I started donating to Greenpeace in the 1980s when the Rainbow Warrior sailing ship was covertly bombed by the French gov't (evil), showing total disregard for not just whales, but also the law, people, free speech and the planet as a whole. Forty years later, we...

Continue Reading...

Can a CEO of a Company Take Money from His Own Company that He Owns Privately (not Publicly)?

Sure, as long as they own 100% of the stock, they can do pretty much anything they want, within tax laws of course. They can pay themselves any salary, issue dividends, make a loan to themselves, etc. 

However, the minute one other person owns one single share of stock, this changes dramatically. Now they have what is called “A fiduciary duty” to the other shareholder(s) to do only things that are in the best interest of the company. This has a very high legal standard called “Utmost good faith”. And if you violate this principle, then you can be sued in civil court for damages.  

Fiduciary duty refers to the highest standard of care. Board members and officers are fiduciaries, and by statutory and common law mandate, they must act with the utmost responsibility in the best interest of shareholders, not themselves. Any Officer of the company also has this duty and will be guilty of violating it if they know of any abuse by others without reporting...

Continue Reading...

How do You Get Funds to Start with?

Raising money is very difficult and only possible for companies that can grow large and provide a nice return to investors that warrants the risk. This is for “Equity” or stock sales. Debt can be used with home equity loans, credit cards, friends and family though if you are just starting and have no product or team.

I recommend you do not start a company without at least 6 months personal expenses in the bank. Most of your input to create value (so shares can be sold for something over $0.00) will be from sweat equity. This “bootstrapping” creates value and shows investors you have the skills and a plan.

For a “real startup” with a product that must be created plan on a year to develop a plan, do market research, competitive intelligence, design a product, validate it by showing to prospects (before you build) and then building the MVP. If you do not know what an MVP is, you need to read The Lean Startup first. Service companies require less...

Continue Reading...

When is an MBA Valuable?

Danny Miller, a professor at HEC Montréal business school, and Xiaowei Xu, an assistant professor at the University of Rhode Island, studied 444 CEOs who had appeared on the covers of Forbes, Business Week, and Fortune over nearly four decades - from 1970 to 2008.

They analyzed the performance of the companies headed by these CEOs for the period after the magazine appearances.

The companies headed by MBA's performed significantly worse than those without MBA's - with a 20% greater market decline after 3 years - and the performance difference remained 'significant' after 7 years.

Yet the MBA's' compensation increased more than non MBA's' - a rise of about 15% faster after 3 years, and they were paid about $1 million more each year - I guess the "getting yourself a fat pay rise even when your company is sinking" is a well-attended class at MBA school.

Jokes aside, there are some phenomenal MBA's out there, I know many personally. But, IN GENERAL, they are phenomenal despite...

Continue Reading...

What are Some Ways for Startups to Invest in Marketing with Little Cash?

You cannot grow a company without some investment in sales and/or marketing. The question is really your time versus capital and which would generate the best results (ROI, speed, quality of leads, etc.).  If your business model and products are sound, you should likely raise some capital, as it will be needed for more than marketing.  It is nearly impossible to build a significant business without some capital and/or sweat equity invested.  You cannot create something out of nothing.

Social media allows unpaid marketing and is the most obvious strategy. This can be time-consuming but is also rapid to measure and so can be used to test the messaging and refine it quickly. 

The more unique your product or service, the smaller the marketing budget you will need. For example, Tesla spends extremely little compared to other automakers on both marketing and sales. Word of mouth does it for you when you have strong and unique products.  “Differentiation”...

Continue Reading...

What causes valuation change from one round to another for startups?

Valuation increase is all about reduction in the risk by achieving new milestones. Any startup worth outside investment has risks because it is doing something new, driven by innovation. If it is not new (differentiated in the market) it cannot demand the high gross margins needed to grow rapidly and pay investors the high return needed for that risk. Each risk that is removed by proving metrics around it is eliminated from the list and bumps the valuation significantly, sometimes by 2X or 3X even. This can mean millions more cash in a financing round and millions more net worth for the Founders and investors too. 

Although the risks can vary, most are pretty generic for early-stage startups. Here are the top ones to think about and set as goals, timed with your financing timeline:

1. Team - Attract a top team of seasoned executives in innovation, marketing and sales. Finance and operations are less critical early on and have more generic skills, as they need less...

Continue Reading...

The Clash in Styles at Twitter is a Master Class in Management and Organizational Change

The clash at Twitter is a master class in management styles and a case study in what works and does not work, as well as radical organizational change. As Elon Musk's hard driving style is injected into Twitter's Millennial/woke/snowflake culture, explosive results must be expected. The two extremes in style and the rush to convert one culture into the other has created a circus to watch that has many lessons for all, including Elon. Elon's Asperger's Syndrome prevents him from understanding the needs of the people in the transition - though clearly many cannot make this transition too.

Here is a diagram of "The Science of Management" that shows a valuable high-level cadence to bring structure to management.  Our framework of 6 systems creates a "closed system" that is constantly improving, incorporating the proven ideas and principles curated from over 1,000 books I have read over 30+ years. See www.AirTightMgt.com.

One problem with the art of management is that it is not...

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.