Finding product-market fit before you run out of cash, patience or passion for the problem you are trying to solve is the race you are running when you launch your startup. But what is it? How do you set SMART Goals against this concept, and how do you know when you’ve found it? My favorite […]
This post is for all of the Chief Financial Officers, Chief Operating Officers, and advisors of early-stage companies in the room. A quick word about managing the budget and cash flow process with the founders/CEO’s you advise. Someone asked me last week how to manage a planning process where the always optimistic CEO is pushing […]
Have you ever ordered too much food at a restaurant, only to end up with a stomach ache because you felt you needed to clear your plate? Have you ever held on to a stock far to long, watching it go down day after day as your losses mount, reluctant to sell until somehow you […]
The 20 – 60 – 20 rule of thumb is a great framing to keep in mind as you think about where to invest in your company, and where you need to dig deeper to avoid throwing good money after bad. Here’s how it works. 20% of the initiatives in your company represent clear winners. […]
One of the hardest parts of leadership is getting comfortable with making difficult decisions with imperfect data. But it’s a critical skill to be able to move your company forward, particularly in an early-stage company. Let’s think about the possible sources of data that could help inform your decision-making process. You have an overworked accounting […]
“If we have data, let’s look at the data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” This is a famous quote by Jim Barksdale, the former CEO of Netscape. When I’m advising members of a leadership team that is struggling to break through with their founder, I pull out this quote. Founders […]
You’ve heard this story before. A startup raises a lot of cash from venture investors over several rounds of fundraising. The company attains the mythical Unicorn status. The billion-dollar valuation. You see pictures of the founders with big confident smiles as if victory is assured. Then the company stumbles, growth slows, valuations fall. And yet, […]
Issue #9: The startup press chases clicks on headlines. Be wary of stories about startups before we know how the story ends.
Issue #8: You’ve raised prices where you could. You cut variable costs as much as possible for now. Once you’ve assessed these changes’ impact on each product’s contribution margin, you have important decisions to make.
Issue #7: Shifting sales channel strategies is similar to swapping out the engines in an aircraft already in the air. It just might save your startup.
Issue #6: You can restructure your startup while keeping your team motivated and on track to deliver future growth.
Issue #5: Founders who raise capital in difficult conditions must not fear the down round. It can be a worthwhile tradeoff to keep your startup alive.
Issue #4: Even as you hit your key milestones and carefully manage your runway, events outside your control constantly move the goalposts.