Startup Lessons Everyone Should Read

Ben Yoskovitz wrote this and as many startup that I have been talking to lately, I thought I needed to post this. If you read number 3, you will find out that their mostly marketing mistakes. Why?

Here’s a sampling of some great startup lessons worth reading about.

  1. Your Pitch Sucks. Patrick Lor lays it on the line very succinctly with his post about bad VC pitches . He must have seem some really awful pitches, cause he’s normally quite a “nice guy” blogger. Regardless, every point he makes is correct; they’re not easy lessons to learn necessarily, but he’s right. For some further advice on pitching VCs, I’ve written a couple posts: 5 Quick Tips on Pitching Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists and 5 Lessons Learned from Pitching VCs .
  2. Does Revenue Matter? Mark MacLeod asks this question in one of his recent posts at StartupCFO , and if you’re running a startup, or thinking about it, you should absolutely read this. Every startup struggles with issues of revenue, and many startups (especially in the consumer Web 2.0 space) don’t focus nearly enough on it. Mark makes some key points about the difficulty of raising capital without a credible business model or revenue traction. But equally, he describes the fact that most acquisitions aren’t made based simply on a multiple of revenue. So how important is revenue? And how quickly should you focus on generating revenue, and then scaling it from there? Great questions…
  3. What Not To Do. Here’s a list of 17 mistakes commonly made by startups (written originally by John Osher). The first two mistakes listed are “Failing to spend enough time researching the business idea to see if it’s viable” and “Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share”. I would argue that in the Web 2.0 startup world, most startups barely make any attempt to figure out if their idea is viable and then look at the market size. Web 2.0 startups are moving and launching too quickly for that, right? I don’t think we need to bring back the era of 40-page business plans, but completely ignoring these kinds of issues before jumping into your startup is just asking for it.

Re-reading these posts, it’s clear they definitely have a negative bent to them (at least the first and third), but that’s in no way representative of how I’m feeling. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile to be the recipient of some straight, honest talk from time to time and really learn from the experience and failings of others.

Ben’s blog: http://www.instigatorblog.com/startup-lessons-for-everyone/2008/06/30/

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