Thursday, September 29, 2011

101 Startup Lessons--An Entrepreneur's Handbook

What started out as an unknown editorial adventure back in March 2011 (launching the Red Rocket blog), has resulted in my writing 101 Startup Lessons--An Entrepreneur's Handbook for executives of aspiring startups.  This is my small contribution back to the startup ecosystem which has treated me so well over the years.  Keep this list handy, as your future business needs arise.  And, thanks for forwarding this list to your entrepreneurial friends that you think may also benefit from such lessons.

Below are the original 101 Startup Lessons, plus following lessons I have written since then, sorted by major business topic:

STRATEGY

Lesson #1: Drivers of Success for Startups. Do I Have a Good Idea?

Lesson #7: Key Components for Writing a Business Plan

Lesson #11: Considering Incubators or Accelerators for Your Startup

Lesson #12: How to Structure Your Board of Directors or Advisory Board

Lesson #17: Pitfalls to Avoid When Joining Someone Else's Startup

Lesson #19: How to Identify Your Competition

Lesson #37: The Plusses and Minuses of Franchising

Lesson #38: Things to Consider When Buying a Business

Lesson #43: Examples of Barriers to Entry For Your Business

Lesson #45: Find a Business Mentor or Business Coach

Lesson #63: Determining Exit Options for Your Startup

Lesson #64: How to Find Buyers for Your Business

Lesson #65: How to Structure the Sale of Your Business

Lesson #81: Considerations for Global Expansion

Lesson #96: Vertical vs. Horizontal Growth Options

Lesson #100: The Definitive Checklist for Startup Success

Lesson #110:  When to Drive Growth vs. Profits

Lesson #112:  Startup Ideation

Lesson #118:  Market Research for Startups

Lesson #121:  Designing an Omni-Channel Business

Lesson #128:  Try to Kill Your Startup Before You Start

Lesson #145:  Issues to Consider Before Selling to Big Companies

Lesson #149:  Can't Attract Venture Capital?  Buy a Business with Private Equity!

Lesson #151:  How to Start a Business

Lesson #164:  Is Your Startup Building a "Vitamin" or a "Pain Killer"?

Lesson #167:  The Unlucky 13 Reasons Startups Fail

Lesson #168:  Start Thinking Globally Now -- 3.5BN People Are Waiting!!

Lesson #170:  What's More Important?  Your Product or Proof-of-Concept??

Lesson #176: How to Filter Conflicting Advice from Multiple Mentors

Lesson #180:  How Retailers Can Combat Showrooming

GENERAL BUSINESS

Lesson #3: The Importance of Timing & Luck for Your Startup

Lesson #8: Startups Require Flexibility to Optimize Business Model

Lesson #28: Expect the Unexpected -- Always Have a Cushion

Lesson #29: No Matter How Bad it Gets, Persistence Wins

Lesson #31: The Power of a Pivot -- Thinking Out of the Box

Lesson #39: The Art of Negotiation

Lesson #40: Focus! Focus! Focus! Build One Business at a Time.

Lesson #47: The Importance of Networking

Lesson #50: Do What You Love!! Passion Drives Success.

Lesson #71: Launch Fast! Fail Fast!

Lesson #85: Tap Into Your Local Startup Ecosystem

Lesson #86: Perception Often Outshines Reality

Lesson #87: The Art of Decision Making

Lesson #90: Proper Business Etiquette for Startups

Lesson #92: Building Your Personal Brand

Lesson #104:  Manage Expectations & Exceed Them

Lesson #114:  "Driven to Win" vs. "Fear of Failure"

Lesson #122:  Setting Key Milestones for Your Startup

Lesson #135:  Why Big Companies Struggle with Innovation

Lesson #160:  Don't Be Overly Infatuated With Your Own Startup Idea

Lesson #182:  Doing the "Smoke and Mirrors" Dance

Lesson #184:  Does Age Matter for Entrepreneurial Success?

MARKETING

Lesson #6: Structuring Strategic Partnerships for Your Startup

Lesson #20: Setting Product & Pricing Strategy for Your Startup

Lesson #21: Setting a Sales & Marketing Plan for Your Startup

Lesson #22: How to Calculate ROI on Your Marketing Spend

Lesson #23: How to Design Effective Advertising Copy & Creatives

Lesson #24: How to Choose a Name for Your Startup

Lesson #44: The Importance of Blogging

Lesson #48: Trade Show Strategies for Startups

Lesson #52: Viral Marketing Via Social Media

Lesson #53: Search Engine Marketing Strategies

Lesson #54: Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Efforts

Lesson #68: Mobile Apps & Location-Based Services

Lesson #69: The Marketing Power of Free Publicity

Lesson #72: The 10 Basics of Website Design

Lesson #74: Brand Building for Your Startup

Lesson #77: The Basics of Email Marketing

Lesson #79: Determining Customer Lifetime Value

Lesson #88: The Basics of Online Display Ads

Lesson #95: The Basics of Telemarketing

Lesson #99: The Basics of Direct Mail Marketing

Lesson #107: Social Media Analytics & ROI

Lesson #120: Budget for Proof-of-Concept Marketing from Day One

Lesson #131: How to Design a Logo & Tagline

Lesson #137: The Basic Drivers of E-commerce Growth

Lesson #142: The Power of Content Marketing--A Red Rocket Case Study

Lesson #158:  Understand Your Brand Positioning (An Al Jazeera Case Study)

Lesson #162:  The Benefits of Contributing Content to Other Sites (vs. Your Own Blog)

Lesson #169:  Budget for Startup Marketing from Day One

Lesson #171:  The Basics of B2B Marketing

Lesson #174:  Growth Hacking--Marketing for Startups

Lesson #178:  Predictive Social Analytics

Lesson #185:  B2B Marketing Mix & Budget Benchmarks

Lesson #186:  Marketing Automation Tools

Lesson #189:  How to Price Your Software Technology


Lessons in Marketing: Super Bowl 2012

Lessons in Marketing: Grammy Awards 2013

Chicago's Top Marketing Agencies for Startups

SALES

Lesson #21: Setting a Sales & Marketing Plan for Your Startup

Lesson #25: How to Structure Your Sales Team & Procedures

Lesson #26: Designing Sales Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Team

Lesson #98: Securing a Government Contract

Lesson #127: How to Screen Salesperson Candidates

Lesson #129: "Productize" Your Business for Maximum Efficiency

Lesson #130: Driving Sales Requires Driving Key Metrics

Lesson #141: How to Pitch Business Development Partners

Lesson #143: Upselling, Cross-Selling and Freemium Techniques

Lesson #144: Remove All Friction From Your Sales Process

Lesson #161:  Create an "Everyone Sells" Culture

Lesson #187:  The 1,024 Types of Salespeople.  Hire the Right Ones!

Lesson #190:  Selling Stories, Not Products

FINANCE

Lesson #61: Set Up Proper Accounting Controls

Lesson #67: Managing Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable

Lesson #78: How to Build a Budget

Lesson #105: Run a Sensitivity Analysis on Your Projections

Lesson #108: How to Determine Your Revenue Model

Lesson #113: State Tax Credits & Programs for Startups

Lesson #132: Design a Recurring Revenue Model

Lesson #133: How to Avoid Paying Taxes on Startup Investments

Lesson #136: Save Taxes with "Profits Interests" vs. "Stock Options"

Lesson #139: How to Calculate Equity Split Between Founders in Startups

Lesson #146: Pitfalls Around Earnouts (and Why They Rarely Payout)

Lesson #179:  Reduce Customer Churn to Accelerate Revenues

VIDEO: George Deeb Teaches Financial Modeling

FUND RAISING

Lesson #4: How to Raise Capital for Your Startup

Lesson #5: Finding Angel Investors for Your Startup

Lesson #10: How Best to Approach VC's or Angel Investors

Lesson #27: How VC's Define a Backable Management Team

Lesson #32: How to Value Your Startup Business

Lesson #49: How to Get a Loan, or Not!!

Lesson #66: Preparing for a Due Diligence Process

Lesson #97: Securing a Small Business Grant

Lesson #102:  Protect Your Equity & Control Post Financings

Lesson #103:  The Evolving Venture Capital Market

Lesson #109:  Financing With Equity vs. Debt vs. Convertibles

Lesson #111:  Crowdfunding Startups

Lesson #115:  When to Trade Equity for Services

Lesson #116:  Seed Investment Terms & Trends

Lesson #119:  How to Screen Venture Capitalists

Lesson #123:  Crowdfunding Details Starting to Emerge

Lesson #124:  Vesting of Founder's Stock

Lesson #125:  How to Bootstrap Your Startup

Lesson #126:  What Startups Need to Secure a Bank Loan

Lesson #138:  Why VC's Bias Technology Startups

Lesson #140:  How to Build a Bridge to a 10x Return for VC's

Lesson #147:  Avoid "The Death Zone" for Venture Capital

Lesson #148:  How to Research Industry Valuation Multiples

Lesson #149: Can't Attract Venture Capital? Buy a Business with Private Equity!

Lesson #152:  The Importance of a "Clean" Capitalization Table for Investors

Lesson #173:  Corporate Venture Capital Funds, Accelerators & Incubators

Chicago Venture Capital Firms & Angel Networks

VIDEO:  George Deeb Teaches How to Pitch VC's

VIDEO:  George Deeb Teaches Fundraising for Startups

VIDEO:  George Deeb Discusses How VC's Evaluate Startups with Nick Moran

HUMAN RESOURCES

Lesson #2: Building The Right Team for Your Startup

Lesson #9: Spreading Equity to Key Employees & Partners

Lesson #13: Creating the Right Culture for Your Startup

Lesson #14: The Role of a Startup CEO

Lesson #15: Hands-On vs. Hands-Off Management of Startups

Lesson #16: The Plusses & Minuses of Virtual Employees

Lesson #18: The Right Work-Life Balance for a Startup

Lesson #30: When to Hire Employees vs. Contractors vs. Crowdsources

Lesson #34: How Best to Recruit Employees For Your Startup

Lesson #35: How to Read Resumes & Screen Employee Candidates

Lesson #42: Is Working With Family Members a Good Idea?

Lesson #51: No Public Displays of Rejection

Lesson #55: Creating a Healthy Office Environment

Lesson #58: How to Determine Employee Compensation

Lesson #59: Determining Employee Benefits for Your Startup

Lesson #60: Importance of Employee Handbooks

Lesson #75: How to Implement Layoffs

Lesson #76: How to Implement an Employee Change

Lesson #83: Startup Roles & Responsibilities

Lesson #93: Make Your Employees Feel Appreciated

Lesson #106:  Succession Planning

Lesson #127:  How to Screen Salesperson Candidates

Lesson #153:  Healthcare Benefits Decisions for Startups (Post Obamacare)

Lesson #156:  How to Find a Co-Founder for Your Startup

Lesson #157:  Consider Sharing Part-Time Executives Between Startups

Lesson #159:  Never Stop Recruiting (Even If No Current Openings)

Lesson #163:  Should a Startup Offer Employee Benefits

Lesson #165:  The 4 Types of Entrepreneurs. Which Type Are You?

Lesson #166:  Is Entrepreneurship Learned, or Wired Into Your DNA?

Lesson #175:  In-House Teams or Outsourced Services for Startups?

Lesson #181:  Should You Quit Your Full-Time Job Before Launching a Startup?

Lesson #188:  When Picking a Startup to Join, Focus on the Company (Not the Role)

OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION

Lesson #33: The Importance of Customer Service

Lesson #41: Security Considerations for Your Startup

Lesson #56: Frequent Legal Questions of Startups

Lesson #62: Insurance Protection for Startups

Lesson #70: Protect Your Intellectual Property

Lesson #73: Consumer Usability Testing

Lesson #80: Pitfalls to Avoid When "Reeling in the Whale"

Lesson #82: Project Management & Prioritization

Lesson #129:  "Productize" Your Business for Maximum Efficiency

Lesson #134:  Where to Best Locate Your Startup

Lesson #183:  The Top 12 Reasons to Protect Your Trademarks

Customer Service Case Study:  Had Your Identity Stolen?  Hope Thief Didn't Buy Verizon!!

TECHNOLOGY

Lesson #36: Picking the Best Technology for Your Web Startup

Lesson #117:  Legal Considerations When Using Open Source Software

Lesson #150:  Responsive Web Design for Multiple Devices

Lesson #155:  Best E-commerce Platforms for Small Business

Lesson #172:  Don't Finalize Your Tech Development Plan, Until You Involve Marketing

Lesson #189:  How to Price Your Software Technology

Chicago's Top Web & Mobile Design and Development Agencies

CASE STUDIES

Lesson #84: Lady Gaga--An Entrepreneurial Case Study

Lesson #89: Startup Lessons from Scrabble

Lesson #91: My Entrepreneurial Heroes

Lesson #94: Netflix--A User Experience Meltdown

Lesson #154:  Entrepreneurial Lessons from Breaking Bad

Lesson #177:  Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Game of Monopoly

Lessons in Leadership:  Michigan Football

Lessons in Leadership:  Mount Everest

Lessons in Leadership:  The Race for the South Pole

Lessons in Leadership:  Tim Tebow

Lessons in Leadership:  Joe Paterno

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  StyleSeek Case Study

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  Emerson Spartz

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  My Son's Kindergarten Class

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  Pebble's $10MM Raise Via Kickstarter

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  Moneyball (Big Data in Baseball)

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  Skylanders (Upselling on Steroids)

Lessons in Entrepreneurship:  Rocket Internet (Copy Catting)

Business Lessons from NBC's "The Sound of Music Live"

OTHER

Lesson #46: 23 Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs

Lesson #57: Required Reading for Startup Entrepreneurs

Lesson #101: The Plusses & Minuses of Entrepreneurship

Howard Tullman's Acceptance Speech at Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame

Lessons From the Lost Decade: Alternative Investing

Nostradeebus:  Predictions for the Next Decade

Key Digital Investment Themes in 2012

Chicago's Best Lawyers for Startups

Best Startups of 2012

Best Startups of 2013

Digital Trends for 2013

Great Stories of Survival--Motivational Reading for Startup Entrepreneurs

[VIDEO]  George Deeb Presents "The Birth of the Startup Excubator" at Techweek Chicago 2014

SELECTED ARTICLES CONTRIBUTED TO OTHER SITES

The End of Startup Incubators?  Enter the Era of Startup "Excubators". (in Startup Beat)

New York or Chicago for Startups? MentorMob Compares Both. (in Forbes)

Comparing 'Shark Tank' To Venture Capital Reality (in Forbes)

Out With MBA's--In With Masters in Entrepreneurship (in Forbes)

Why Too Many Startups Run Out of Money Too Fast (in Entrepreneur)

Chicago's Startup Scene Is On Fire (in Forbes)

Make Sure to Research Before Choosing Crowdfunding (in Wall Street Journal)

Top Digital Trends for 2014 (in Forbes)

Comparing Startup Ecosystems:  The Midwest vs. Silicon Valley (in Forbes)

My Commencement Address to 2014 Graduates (in Forbes)

6 Tips for Keeping Your Store Relevant to Online Shoppers (in Entrepreneur)

K-12 Curriculum Needs a Major Overhaul to Develop Entrepreneurship Skills (in Entrepreneur)

The Best Medicine For Your Startup:  A Fresh Set of Eyes (in Entrepreneur)

GUEST POSTS

How to Think About Startup Models & Strategies (by Guy Turner)

The New Reality of Venture Capital (by Joe Dwyer)

Busting the Lean-Startup Myth (by Howard Tullman)

For future posts, please follow me at:  www.twitter.com/georgedeeb

4 comments:

Nathan said...

Gone through a few lessons so far, can't wait to tear thru more.

Dr.S said...

As a founder, just now on the product launch threshold, I can validate what I already learned and am grateful for engaging, eminently practical guidance about how to think more wisely, what to do next, and how to manage my expectations.

Thank you, Mr. Deeb!

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