When is the right time to get adviser/board of directors for a startup?

Firstly, these are two very different things. A BOA is usually a domain expert while a BOD member may bring skills like finance, sales, operation, scaling, marketing or other expertise. Too many boards are dominated by investors who only know finance.

The right time to start is yesterday. Usually as soon as you are clear on the mission of the company, which allows you to build out the skills you need on your team. It takes time and patience to develop a BOA member. Few want any formal connection until some value has been built, as the risk is so high, like 90% that the company will go nowhere for a long time. You can work with them informally and work your way up to something more formal when needed.

An informal Board of Advisers (BOA) can be started very casually and develop over time. Start with lunch and discussions to get their input of the business plan. Tell them everything, hold back nothing. Be vulnerable to show you are coachable and will listen to people with other...

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How Big Must A Market For An MVP And Market Entry Strategy Be?

Absolutely. That is called a “niche” and often is the intersection of a vertical market and application/problem. And even smaller is okay and sometimes an advantage in the beginning. Of course, you also need a vision and steps into larger markets. Generally, $1 billion minimum if you seek institutional capital, as they only invest in companies that can reach $100M in sales after 5–6 years.

Even if your price point is $250 that’s a $12.5M market opportunity. Which may be enough to validate your product, tune it, prove your value proposition, price point, marketing, and sales economics to raise funding and go after larger markets.

An MVP and initial market entry is best smaller, so you are not facing competition from much larger companies and can be the only solution to that problem in that niche. An ideal market size is probably $100M to $250M, but is fine as long as your offering is unique and has some barriers to entry.

Tesla’s first product, the...

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Build the company of your dreams and Raise Millions from Outside Investors

This $1,695 package includes four private online sessions with me working on your financing, and the offline work needed to review and edit your deck.  It will greatly improve your BUSINESS, not just your deck.  You will be "Level 5", or at least "angel ready"  by the time we are done if you follow the guidance I give.  This process usually takes 4-8 weeks, depending on your ability to focus on that work.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.    

And remember to not operate based on these common myths of financing: 

1. Your idea alone is worth millions. NOPE!  Pre-money valuation is only created when you put a team, plan and some value behind it via sweat equity and/or cash invested to create value - Unless you are Elon Musk.  

2. Raising funding is easy - Not!  Over 80% who try will fail. You need some experience on your team that has done this before to guide you to shorten the process and avoid...

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New report shows entrepreneurship's partial return to pre-pandemic level

Report Highlights

  •  Nationally, the rate of new entrepreneurs in 2021 was 0.36 percent, meaning that an average of 360 out of every 100,000 adults became new entrepreneurs in a given month. The monthly rate increased substantially from 2019 to 2020 as the economy went through the shutdowns, job losses, and re-openings that characterized the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has only partly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  •  The opportunity share of new entrepreneurs rebounded substantially to 80.9 percent from its low of 69.8 percent in 2020, but remained much lower than its pre-pandemic level of 86.9 percent in 2019. The decline from 2019 to 2020 during the first year of the pandemic was 17.1 percentage points, which is much larger than the one-year decline of 6.9 percentage points from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.

There is a free video course on this page explaining this Entrepreneurial Journey.

  •  Startup early job creation in 2021...
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M.B.A Starting Salaries Are Soaring

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business reported the median salary for this year’s graduates grew $5,000 to hit $155,000.

Pay for business-school graduates rebounded to new heights this year after flat lining early in the pandemic.

Salaries for newly minted M.B.A.s are hitting record highs as consulting firms, banks and technology companies lure top business-school graduates into their ranks in a tight labor market.

Both the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business reported the median salary for this year’s graduates grew $5,000 to hit $155,000. It was Wharton’s highest-recorded median base salary, with 99% of students seeking jobs receiving an offer. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business said the average annual salary for its M.B.A.s rose 4% compared with last year to more than $141,000—also a new high.

Pandemic-related management challenges, from...

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The Art and Science of Business Design Part-4

The lack of a good business design process is the number one reason why most businesses fail today.  Almost everything else, like poor market, running out of capital, unexpected risks and poor sales, is just a symptom of this root problem.

  • How Many People Does It Take?
     

Consider for a moment all the things we as individuals do not know!  It is pretty sure that today no one can even keep one-tenth of one percent of the knowledge available to mankind in their head!  Scholars say the last Renaissance Man existed in the early sixteen hundreds sometime.  This was the last century in which anyone alone could claim to be an authority on everything.  Today, four hundred years of collecting knowledge later, we now double human knowledge every few years!  How can anyone be silly enough to think they can know enough across a whole industry plus management, sales, finance, marketing, technology, and operations to actually design a business...

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The Art and Science of Business Design Part-2

The lack of a good business design process is the number one reason why most businesses fail today.  Almost everything else, like poor market, running out of capital, unexpected risks and poor sales, is just a symptom of this root problem.

 

  • Defining "Business Design"
     

For purposes of this discussion, let us consider the inner concentric circle of the vision pie below as the definition of a business design.  Therefore:

 

DEFINITION: A Business Design - The sum of the complete strategies for each of the business disciplines required to deliver a product or service to the market.

We can assume the tactics can be driven by, or fall out of, the strategies developed.  Certainly, this is best at any early stage of development.  This is a simple, straightforward definition and very useful for our purposes.  Note, however, that this definition does not mean the business design actually works, only that you have a design.  A...

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The Art and Science of Business Design Part-3

The lack of a good business design process is the number one reason why most businesses fail today.  Almost everything else, like poor market, running out of capital, unexpected risks and poor sales, is just a symptom of this root problem.

  • Where Do Entrepreneurs Go Wrong?
     

The sad fact is, most businesses should not be run as originally envisioned by the founders for two main reasons:

1)   You never, never, ever know enough when you found a business not to make many, many adjustments along the way, and

2)   It is highly unlikely the founder has exactly all the right experience for this new business across the many business disciplines needed.

With the many thousands of business models possible for any given product or service, expecting to pick the best purely based on one person's previous experience out of the gate is almost absurd.  Only if this business is tremendously simple and the founder has spent decades in that...

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The Art and Science of Business Design

The lack of a good business design process is the number one reason why most businesses fail today.  Almost everything else, like poor market, running out of capital, unexpected risks and poor sales, is just a symptom of this root problem.

 

  • Why Business Design Must ALWAYS Be The #1 Priority of Any New Venture?
     

Designing a business is more art than science because it is something that takes lots and lots of real-world experience.  Personally, I do not think you can learn it at any university, or by any amount of study, until after you have spent many years working in management to understand people and business well.  It would be like someone reading for ten years about painting, without ever picking up a brush, and then when they finally pick up a paintbrush to paint their first person or landscape; and expect to paint a masterpiece.  Pretty unlikely, huh?  We may be able to teach strategy in school, but even that is just a small...

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Is Your Annual Strategic Planning Process Done?

Strategic Planning - Not Just For Fortune 2000 Companies

Generally, if you have more than about a dozen people in your company, you need to have an annual strategic planning process.  With a small management team of three or four people, it is not very difficult, and will likely go quickly because you discuss these things daily.  The trick is to look at the longer-term (at least a year out, preferably three years) in the context of a 3 to 5 year vision for the company.  As the company gets bigger the time invested will get bigger too, but either way, it will pay big dividends and needs to be done. 

I recently attended a leadership seminar doing research to add a Leadership segment to our CEO & Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. This instructor said that at a recent corporate training with about thirty people from the same company, including the CEO. The instructor simply asked who understood the goals of the corporation for the coming year.  Only...

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