Category Archives: Key Success Factors

How To Build A Startup Up To Seed Stage

As a startup CEO a key challenge is knowing how to build a startup up to Seed Stage.

You need a vision of what your offering will accomplish.  You need a team of key co-founders.  Having a team with a balanced set of skills for your intended offering is best.  So; do not have only technical co-founders unless that is appropriate (i.e. for a fabless semiconductor startup).

How to build a startup

You need to do several things before you create the company.  Thoroughly understanding your anticipated markets and their relevant pains is key.  Please see John Gale’s Post  To Do Before Company Formation

We live in an evolving world; a transforming world of change and disruption.  How will your offering participate?  Please see John Gale’s Post  Transforming World.  You need to think through how well your offering will disrupt (or not) existing products that are already on the market.  Please see John Gale’s Post Disruption To Sales of Legacy Products

Develop your first and second and third drafts of your business plan.  Include a well thought out draft Business Model.  Please see John Gale’s Post and White Paper  Seed Stage Business Plan  Please see John Gale’s Post  Robust Business Model

You need an operational prototype.  When you show it to qualified prospects; why do they perceive it as being Mission Critical to their business?  Then you need to go through your product development process and acquire your first paying customers.  Usually; investors will not invest before there are paying customers.

What should your startup look like?  Please see John Gale’s Post  Early Stage Startup Desired Characteristics

Planning your startup life cycle

Plan well.  Build a sound business plan based on a robust Business Model.  Educate yourself to minimize mistakes.  Please see John Gale’s Post  List of Startup Mistakes That Can Be Fatal

You need to think through your optimal Financial Exit and also the other possible types of Financial Exits.  Your anticipations will need to align with those of all of the major stockholders and investors.  Please John Gale’s Post Financial Exit


Know your market.  Know your competition.  Plan well.  Execute better.  Keep talking to your market.

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Managing Burn Rate for Startups

Managing burn rate for startups. A startup CEO must manage how the startup spends money and how it receives revenue. Here are the factors to manage. Managing Burn Rate for Startups Sales funnel Understand your sales funnel and how it produces revenue. A product similar to BrightFunnel  may be useful Pricing Your pricing policy…Continue Reading

Successful Entrepreneurs Think More Effectively

This post describes the traits I have seen in the successful entrepreneurs I have known.  Thus, how successful entrepreneurs think more effectively. Successful entrepreneurs think more effectively They are very smart and routinely really think “outside the box”. They listen to other very smart people especially those who disagree. They learn from their successful competitors…Continue Reading

Mission Statement Drifting

Is your Mission Statement Drifting? Every early stage startup has a mission statement and a set of employees with job titles and employment contracts (job descriptions usually come later). If you have an outsider ask each officer and key employee to describe the mission statement; how aligned are the responses? You really need to try…Continue Reading

Selecting Venture Capital Firms For Your Startup

Selecting venture capital firms for your startup is one of the very important tasks. It is critical to research the venture capital firms that are focused on your needs before you contact them. VC requirements Venture capital firms have evaluation criteria for startups. As a part of your research into specific firms; learn their sector…Continue Reading

Upward communication is a key step towards success

A good business needs both upward communication and downward communication; between boss and subordinates. Just as it needs both loyalty upward and loyalty downward between boss and subordinates. The downwards ones nurture employee loyalty. The upwards ones help the business be successful. It is not just about having good relationships between a boss and his…Continue Reading

Government Relations For New Ventures

The importance of Government Relations for New Ventures varies from country to country.  Within a country it can vary from state to state (province to province). Corporate Growth Government programs, laws and regulations, and networking can strongly impact corporate growth of resident parent companies and/or their resident subsidiaries.   Relocation of Headquarters Government programs, laws…Continue Reading

Business Culture Shock

Preparing for and adapting to Business Culture Shock and simple business cultural differences is a normal part of international growth activities. Chinese Companies Are Expanding Overseas The Washington Post Article Chinese companies face culture shock in countries that aren’t like China describes such issues for Chinese entrepreneurs.  Several of their points are summarized below. “Chinese…Continue Reading

Intent-Rich Moments Are Critical

Appropriate informed actions during (prospect) intent-rich moments are critical to achieving a close.  This is important during online desktop; online mobile and offline sales activities for both B2B and B2C prospects. Richard Saling calls these “Want-to-know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments. Want-to-buy moments.”  in an article at To explore this from a mobile B2C…Continue Reading

Useful Market Disruption Versus Uncertain Disruption

Does your business model require significant interaction with societal infrastructure?  Might it cause Unpredictable Disruption instead of useful disruption? Unpredictable Disruption Business models whose innovation opens up the potential for Unpredictable Disruption include: Some taxi-like business models have experienced contentious interaction with city regulations concerning taxicabs.  This can have an impact on the company’s ability to do business…Continue Reading

Factors Impacting How to Understand a Chaotic Situation

Chaotic situations are an all to frequent occurence in new ventures such as startups and new divisions. Factors Impacting How to Understand a Chaotic Situation Quickly understanding and acting on a chaotic situation can be very important.  Unfortunately, for any specific situation each participant sees (and remembers) things a little differently. So, from time to…Continue Reading

Before You Launch a New Revenue Stream

Ground truth in a new venture within a company is different from ground truth within an unaffiliated startup. These corporate centric issues can be much more political than factual.  The more the new revenue stream is likely to be a new division; the more complex are these issues. What You Need To Know BeforeYou Launch a New…Continue Reading

Criteria To Be A Successful Startup CEO

Several have asked what are the Criteria To Be A Successful Startup CEO. Criteria To Be A Successful Startup CEO Vary Depending on the Situation Unfortunately, the criteria to be a successful startup CEO vary depending on the person, his/her experience, the offering of the startup, the target market, the stage in the business life…Continue Reading

Plans and Reports For New Ventures

For an emerging revenue stream (startup, new venture or new division), a One Year Plan is typically developed based on a Business Plan.  Weekly, Monthly; and other plans and reports should also be developed and used.  Those units that are a part of established entities likely have document/planning/reporting requirements that overlap with the suggestions in…Continue Reading

Competitive Differentiation

“Real” competitive differentiation is very important to prevent other companies from taking over your market and also to attract investors.  Intellectual property is usually the best and longest lasting type of differentiation.   Strong patents are excellent.  But, some types of patents are less powerful. Types of Competitive Differentiation Other types of competitive differentiation can be: Business Relationships…Continue Reading

Early Stage Startup Desired Characteristics

At any given time here are thousands of new ventures and startups.  Many have high energy officers and exciting new ideas.  It can be difficult to separate out those with more likelihood of success. Early Stage Startup Desired Characteristics When you see an early stage startup with characteristics such as those listed below, they are…Continue Reading

Investor Presentation – Market Pain and Solution

For an Investor Presentation – Market Pain and Solution are must-have key success factors.  Without believing in them the potential investor will not believe in the startup. Investor Presentation – Market Pain and Solution This section/slide should address: What market pain (problem) is addressed? Why is a solution needed? To what sector(s); and to which…Continue Reading

Investor Package Meeting I

Your Investor Package Meeting I includes: Research Results You researched this investor.  You know that he/she is interested in startups in your space.  You understand what prior investments he/she has made in other startups in or near your area of activity and in what geographic regions.  You understand that he/she is comfortable with your preferred…Continue Reading

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