I can’t help myself. I’m all about entrepreneurship. Okay, obsessed by it, by doing it, by helping others do it. I started the NewVenturist blog to highlight early-stage entrepreneurs and what they are envisioning to change the world. They are the leaders of tomorrow. Since 2011, the focus of the blog has changed. I am currently focused on a series called “Startup Briefs.” I plan to turn the series into a book. The content is everything that I know about entrepreneurship in ~100 pages.
Startup Briefs post #14
Competition and differentiation
Few folks come to me having done extensive competitive analysis about their idea/product. What ensues goes something like this:
“What do you know about the competition?” I ask.
“Oh, what I do is different?” the young entrepreneur states proudly.
“Really? Different, how?”
“Well, others have [x feature/approach/etc.], and we have [y].”
“What if your competitors add that [feature/approach, etc.]?”
“Well, they could, but…”
The conversation keeps going, and I keep needling the person who is really not answering the fundamental question about the competition.
Startup Briefs post #13
Too many entrepreneurs don’t understand stock options: how they work, when to issue them, and to whom. Let’s demystify stock options. What you need to understand at first is that stock options are an alternative to regular stock grants. As discussed in a previous post, Funding the nitty gritty, post #6 of “Startup Briefs,” I recommend that the first stock grants to founders take the form of restricted stock so that the person receiving the grant is tied to the company by time.
Startup Briefs post #12
It drives me crazy that entrepreneurs don’t know the difference between patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks/service marks. How could you be so uneducated? Here’s a remedy to that.
Startup Briefs post #11
One of the first thing that inexperienced entrepreneurs want to do is actually start the company, which means form the legal entity. I counsel them to wait until they need to do this. At the beginning you need to do this if you are: 1) raising money; 2) getting a check from a customer; 3) needing to sign a contract; or 4) entering into any other kind of legal agreement (CDA, etc.). Here is what I think you should know at the beginning about the basic legal issues.
Startup Briefs post #10
Networking: what, how, who and where
Most people have no idea how to network or why it’s important. But for entrepreneurs, establishing a strong network is not a nice-to-have but a must-have. This post was written to share some obvious rules about networking and give basic guidelines on building a strong and useful network.
Startup Briefs post #9
As the school year gets underway, and I prep for practical, outside the classroom entrepreneurial education, I am reminded of the importance of value proposition. Sometimes that term gets bandied about as part of MBA-entrepreneurial speak, but it’s a very important concept. As the late Don Jones (Pittsburgh entrepreneur who passed away a few years ago) said, “To understand the customer you have to walk a mile in their moccasins.”