Posted by: David Croslin
angel, Funding, innovation, invention, startup, Venture Capital
I have talked to thousands of startups over the last 15 years. And most of them make mistakes that dramatically limit their overall potential for success. An unbelievably small fraction of startups succeed and there are good reasons why.
Timing is everything. Pull a cake out of the oven too early or too late and it is normally garbage. Mess up your timing crossing a street and wham, no more worries.
Before you even get started on your startup, you should make a list of the things that you are going to need to accomplish in order to succeed. Then determine when you need to start doing each one of the things on the list in order to reach a final goal of a successful company. Here are a few of the things that should be on your list (I will discuss most of these in other posts):
1) Market Definition
2) Product Development
3) Identifying Partners
4) Finding Funding (staging)
5) Locking in intellectual property (patents)
6) Finding Advisors
7) Creating a business plan
Depending on your product and market there could be a lot more items on the list. Also, the timing and importance of each will vary as well for each of you. The important thing is to never make the assumption: “Step 1 will make Step 2 EASY”. In otherwords “If we finish a beta product, getting funding will be easy” or “I can easily talk to potential partners once I lock in the IP and get an NDA” or “My business plan shows specific roadmap stages and everyone expects to see that roadmap being met easily”. I have seen startups (some funded with $50M) that spent years and all their money developing a phenomenal product and now have no money to market it and desperately need another angel or VC. In some cases, the market had completely moved on during the long development period. Guess what: It is often too late at that point.
Be proactive earlier in your timeline about solving each of the items on your list. Get partners as soon as possible. Lock in advisors that are targeted to your product and market. MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOU WILL NEVER GET MORE FUNDING. Use your money wisely for ALL of the items on your list because some of the non-funding items WILL SOLVE YOUR FUNDING PROBLEMS!
Don’t do oooooonnnnneeeee ttthhhiiiinnnngggg aaaatttt aaaaa ttttiiimmmeee (dragged out for effect)….you will likely fail.
Nothing about a startup is ever EASY. Don’t fall into the EASY trap…prepare and execute on a schedule.
Timing is everything.
This is #1 in a series of 50 mistakes that startups make. Numbering is random.
I am looking for a company that I can work with on their road to success.
I am the former Chief Technologist at Hewlett-Packard and the Chief Product Architect at Verizon. I hold 25 granted patents that are referenced by over 400 other patents. I have started five companies and driven them to success. I have two startups in stealth. I was on the M&A committees at HP and Verizon.
Drop me a note or connect with me: firstname.lastname@example.org