I usually tell people that everything I learned about being an entrepreneur I learned by F’ing up at my first company.
I think the sign of a good entrepreneur is the ability to spot your mistakes, correct quickly and not repeat the mistakes. I made plenty of mistakes.
Below are some of the lessons I learned along the way. If there’s a link on a title below I’ve written the post, if not I plan to. The summary of each posting will be here but the full article requires you to follow the links.
For now it’s mostly an outline for me to follow (in no particular order). I’ve now started so be sure to look for links. If you want me to do one sooner rather than later leave a comment. If the topics seem interesting to you please sign up for my RSS feed or email newsletter on the home page.
Disclaimer: I ran two SaaS software companies. My experiences come from this. I can’t say they’re applicable to all businesses but I think many of the lessons will be applicable to most tech firms.
1 – Should you start a company or go work for someone else? – In this post I talk about whether it’s time to “earn” or to “learn” – a guide on thinking about when to start a company.
2 In the Beginning (most common early mistakes) – Many founders make mistakes in the first 12 months of business that cost them dearly as they build their companies. These mistakes revolve around intellectual property, founding team members, initial product that is built and market validation.
You also need to consider founder scenarios, ownership, prenuptials and stock options.
Learning to work with lawyers. Start early, build relationships, make them a part of your business.
3 Do you still need a business plan to start a company? Conventional wisdom amongst uber-startup CEOs and VCs is that you don’t need a business plan. Just launch and iterate. They’re wrong. While you shouldn’t write a Word document, a good financial model is a must. This post tells you why.
4 Choose your investors carefully. There are many bad investors out there – I call them VC Seagulls. Read here to see some of the signs to be careful about.
5 Hiring at a Startup or Looking for a Cofounder? Know thy Weaknesses – Before you build out your senior (or even junior) team you need to inventory your strengths / weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. And don’t hire 5 clones. Plug your weaknesses.
6. Don’t Drink Your Own Kool Aid – There is a hype curve in any company. Press, journalists, analysts, friends and family can