Loading...
Menu

Teaching Startup: Getting Started

Teaching Startup: Getting Started

Joe Procopio

 

@jproco

 

joeprocopio.com

 

 

© 2016 by Intrepid Media Inc.

All rights reserved.

Version 1

 

Continue your education at

TeachingStartup.com

 

 

I’m Not Going To Waste Your Time

 

Here’s the deal. It should take you about an hour to get through this book if you sit down and read it all at once, and you should. I’m a big picture guy, and I like to know to the rules, the boundaries, and what the playing field looks like before I step out onto it.

 

That’s what this book is.

 

I’ve been doing startup for over 20 years. I’ve made career out of it. In 2015, Automated Insights, a startup I joined as the first management hire and co-developer of its technology, was acquired at an amazing return. While that was going on, I started and sold startup network ExitEvent, which I built in my spare time over three years.

 

I’m not a billionaire. I’m not even stupid rich. Maybe not even mildly rich. But I’m happy, I’m independent, and I continue to seek out and do my own thing.

 

I built Teaching Startup so that everyone, regardless of their experience, their connections, or their access, could have a shot at doing their own thing.

 

These are the first ten chapters in that process, about 10,000 words, the bare minimum you need to know to get an idea of what the startup universe looks like.

 

But enough explaining, let’s go ahead and jump in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Stages of Startup

 

Level 1: The Jump

Ideation, Creation, Formation, Community, Help

 

 

The map to startup success is really difficult to draw. Startup is about doing new things in new ways, and no two startups achieve success in the exact same way.

 

And because startup success is so hard to map, it's also hard to teach -- which makes it hard to learn.

 

So you have to teach and learn startup in new ways, but you also have to create a few universal ground rules, like landmarks on a map. That said, let me be very up-front about what I’m about to tell you:

 

The five stages of startup I’m about to discuss are not THE five stages of startup. They’re just landmarks, broken down and generalized into something that we can all hopefully use as a guide, not gospel.

 

I broke these five stages into levels, because every entrepreneur should constantly be asking where they're at. It's the first thing they should think about when they wake up in the morning -- with the next thing being: How do I get to the next level?

 

It's important to define and discuss each level because there are different skills and actions required at each level -- because there are different rules and needs at each level. 

 

Example: Level 1 entrepreneurs, those who are just starting out, need support, advice, guidance, and they need to be totally flexible about what they’re building and what it is they’re trying to accomplish. Level 4 entrepreneurs, those already living the dream, need some of those same things, probably less flexibility, but definitely more problem-solving, leadership, and crisis management.

 

Now, since the only way to know where you’re going is to know where you are, let’s figure that out, starting with the first steps. 

 

Level 1: The Jump

 

This is the stage before the thing is actually a thing, and by that I mean that the startup is not something you’re actively working on, but it could be. There’s at least an idea, narrowed down to a product, one that can be sold to a market, and there should be the beginnings of a plan.

 

Most importantly, there's a will -- a desire to make the leap, throw out all of the fear, take on all of the risk, and make a go at the thing. Your own thing.

 

Ideation is the your primary focus at this level. It’s the process of coming up with a single great idea, which is worthless, and turning that idea into something that has great value. A lot of wanna-be entrepreneurs never get out of the starting gate because they never complete this process. They’re full of great ideas, but they can’t, or won’t, execute.

 

Ideation is a numbers game. For every 1,000 ideas you have, 100 of them will actually be worth remembering, 10 of them will be worth thinking about, and one of them will be worth pursuing -- in other words, taking the next step beyond just telling people about your world-changing idea.

 

That means that if you come up with 10 ideas a day, it’ll take about three years to come up with one that’s good enough to build a company around. The good news is that there’s probably a backlog of ideas in your brain. Access and unleash them.

 

Creation is the process of taking that great idea and turning it into a great product. In technology, this means coding until you have something that works and can be shown. You should never, ever start a company until you have something tangible that can be demonstrated, not just described.

 

But whether you’re creating a technical product, like an app, or any other kind of product or service, the trick to creation is developing that product or service into something that is unique and can grow and scale. Creation requires time, thought, research, and trial and error.

 

Formation  is the establishment of the company itself, everything from the logistics of incorporating to determining who does what to letting the world know you exist -- more than a website or a Twitter handle or a Facebook page. 

 

Formation is a critical stage, because it's where some of the most important decisions, and mistakes, are made. It seems simple enough -- pick a name, form a team, create a brand, knock on some doors. But it's so much more than that. 

 

You should be thinking about ownership, personal investment, culture, sales, marketing, five-year-plans, funding, and at least a hundred other things. But most importantly, you should be thinking about building the machine that sells the product. 

 

Community  is the startup support structure around you. There used to be maybe half-a-dozen startup communities in the US. That list started with Silicon Valley and then there was everything else -- New York, Boston, maybe a few others. 

 

Now, startup communities are everywhere. This website you’re reading right now is the digital equivalent of a startup community, and those are everywhere as well. 

 

But even with all the community growth over the last ten years, another unnecessary reason why a lot of startups fail is because the entrepreneurs who start them are not aware of or don’t take advantage of the resources around them, including reaching out to other entrepreneurs who might have the same problems they have. 

 

Startup communities should be led by entrepreneurs, and it’s the responsibility of each entrepreneur in that community to make sure that happens. That includes you.

 

Help comes from any angle necessary, whether that’s the startup community, your friends, your family, your old boss, anyone who can assist you in getting from this level to the next. 

 

You'd be surprised how many entrepreneurs don't ask for help -- until you're actually an entrepreneur in need of help. It's not an easy ask to make, let alone to even know what to ask for or who to ask. 

 

Ideation, Creation, Formation, Community, and Help make up Level 1. Nail them and you’ll know where you are and how to navigate. These concepts should stay with you in some form as you move through future levels, but once you get them down, you’ll not only be ready to aim for the next level, you’ll definitely know when you’ve reached that next level.

 

Level 2: Start

Risk, Creativity, Logistics, Planning, Execution

 

 

We’ve covered the period of time before the thing is actually a thing -- when it's just a great idea that will become a great product that can be sold to a market by a company. And, of course, the moment when the entrepreneur has decided that they're all in on starting that company.

 

Now let’s start making stuff.

 

Level 2: Start

 

Level 2 begins at that all-important point when the company is real and you arrive for your first day of work. Oh yeah, congratulations on the new job. Celebrate, but then get to work. This is where you make your new job into a real job.

 

Start is entirely about creating both the product and the company – they will work together as one symbiotic machine that, ultimately, will solve a big problem for your market. The company and product are usually indistinguishable, and the founders are tasked with getting both off the ground at the same time.

 

This is also the level that everyone associates with the Hollywood version of startup. This is the daring young genius tucked into a dorm room under a hoodie level. This is the Mark Zuckerberg wanna-be level. The Shark Tank level.

 

Don’t fall for any of that, because despite everything you’ve learned from television and the movies, this is the level at which you will most likely fail.

 

Risk is a word constantly uttered in startup circles. Everything about startup is risky. Starting a company is risky. Hiring people is risky. Taking a job at a startup is risky. Investing in a startup is risky. Bringing a new product to market is risky.

 

And on and on.

 

Yeah, well, to that I say, going to work for someone else is risky. Staying in a position longer than your skills are valuable is risky. Starting a family is risky. Buying a home is risky. Investing in stocks is risky.

 

Let’s face it. Getting up in the morning is risky. It’s fraught with risk.

 

Risk isn’t something you avoid. It’s something you anticipate, measure, manage, and conquer. In Level 2, we’ll talk about doing just that.

 

Creativity, in my mind, is what separates great entrepreneurs from good entrepreneurs. It’s not the single factor that’s going to determine whether the startup is successful or not, but having it sure helps. 

 

The product you have in mind when you first start building is not going to be the product you end up launching, and that product will likely be different than the one your customers want and ultimately buy. But wait, even once you start making sales, that product probably isn’t the one that will rocket your company into the stratosphere. 

 

They’re all the same product, but you will pivot, adapt, advance, and evolve through an endless series of changes before you find success. This is where creativity is a must.

 

Furthermore, the company you start will go through similar shifts and changes and problems. You’re going to need maximum creativity to deal with this.

 

Logistics are the opposite of creativity, in some sense, but they’re crucial. They’re the nuts and bolts of starting and running a company. This includes everything from incorporation to drafting share agreements to hiring to finding space to work to establishing processes and rules for how you want to operate. 

 

Logistics are boring, unfun, and the bane of every entrepreneur, but they’re important. No entrepreneur ever thinks they need an attorney close at hand until they run into their first legal issue. The same goes for employment agreements, sales contracts, and term sheet templates downloaded from the Internet.

 

Planning  is where leadership first becomes a factor at a startup. I am a planning fanatic, and I'm also a huge proponent of creating backup plans -- Plan B, Plan C, and so on -- until I run out of letters at Plan Z.

 

You’ve got to plan your company’s operations, growth, finances, and resources. You’ve got to plan your product and its feature pipeline and release schedule. You’ve got to plan your path to market, your metrics and goals, and how and when you’ll react to your product’s performance. You’ve got to plan your marketing campaigns, your sales pipeline, your pricing, delivery, maintenance, and support.

 

You don’t have to plan your exit. And you shouldn’t.

 

Execution follows planning. I put execution at the end of Level 2 because that’s where the dreaming and idealism and newness of what you’re doing wears off and execution becomes the single-most important metric that will determine the success of your company.

 

If planning is your map and execution is your engine, measurement is your compass. You never execute without a plan, and you never complete a plan without defining and documenting how you will measure the execution -- what means good and what means bad and what means scrap everything and start over. 

 

You will fail at execution. A lot. Most of those fails are going to be OK and are in fact necessary, but too many of them in a short period of time can be fatal. Good planning, solid execution, and well-thought-out measurement will stave off those fatal fails for as long as possible. 

 

When does Level 2 end and Level 3 begin? That’s a very good question, as now the gates between the levels become blurry. Usually, a good marker is when the product is launched or when the company lands significant funding. At that point, Start is in the rear-view mirror and you’re well on your way.

 

Level 3: The Journey

Leadership, Making, Hiring, Funding, Customers

 

 

So far in this series, I’ve covered:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. When a great idea becomes a great product.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. When a company is formed, figures out how to operate, and launches that great product.

 

Now we embark.

 

Level 3: The Journey

 

The Journey begins when the startup looks, acts, and feels like a real company. There is a product or service out there on the market, and customers are now the most important factor in determining success.

 

The Journey is the best part of startup. It’s the early days when there are few rules and everything feels new and fresh and within your control. The Journey can last a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. Enjoy it. It’s why you did this.

 

But the journey can’t last forever, and you can’t coast through this level. You’re building on what you’ve accomplished and driving forward at top speed, trying to perfect the product, sell the product, grow the company, and scale the operation. Here’s what you’ll need to do that.

 

Leadership is a tough concept to get your brain around. It’s one of those terms where you’re pretty sure you know what it means until it’s required of you.

 

In startup, leadership means laying out the vision for both the company and the product -- not just for the next few weeks, but for the next few months and the next few years. You'll need to clearly define the path that leads to short-term, medium-term, and long-term success. You'll also need backup paths, and you'll need to know when and how to jump off the main path and onto the backup.

 

Leadership means telling people how to navigate those paths, but it’s more than shouting orders. It’s up to the leadership team to get everyone working toward the same goals, by clearly explaining those goals, dividing up tasks, and handing out assignments.

 

And leadership means making tough decisions, living by them, and taking the blame when they don’t work.

 

Making is another concept that sounds simple until you start doing it. Whether your product is a piece of tech, a piece of machinery, or a piece of clothing, making is more than constructing the item. You’ll need to figure out how to make the best item on the market at a cost that comes in under the price your customers are willing to pay. And you’ll need to keep improving it.

 

Yeah. It’s a lot.

 

You’ll need experts, or people who can quickly grow to be experts, to build your product. You’ll need ongoing research to make sure your product is better than the competition and stays that way. You’ll need to spend a bunch of money to get a prototype built and a production run off the ground. And of course you’ll need to plan every release while reacting to all the things that will go wrong along the way.

 

Hiring  is one of three pillar concepts, along with Making and Funding, that will take the vast majority of your time at this level. In order to make your product and grow your company, you'll need people -- and not just any people, but the right people.

 

Hiring the wrong people is the quickest way to sink the company.

 

There’s a ton of stuff to cover here, from company fit to salary to options and ownership. Then you’ve got to keep those people happy and grow their careers as you grow your company. You’ll also have to fire at least one of them at some point, which is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do as an entrepreneur.

 

Funding can come from anywhere, especially at this level, and that’s an important concept to keep in mind. A lot of people associate funding only with venture capital. This should never be the case.

 

If you really want to make a run at starting your own company, you should be heavily invested in it, in time, in reputation, and definitely in dollars. The more you can invest in your own company, the more of it you will own, because you won’t have to hand chunks of it out to investors and hires.

 

These days, it’s getting easier to find and land outside funding, but now more than ever, you have to be extremely careful about the promises you make and the deals you negotiate.

 

Customers, from this point in the life of your startup until the very end, are going to be the only thing that matters. You can raise a ton of money, you can assemble a genius team, you can build the world’s best product, but if you can’t find, land, and keep customers, then you’re sunk. End of story.

 

You’ll hear the term “customer-first” quite a bit in startup. This is not just some slogan, it’s the first, last, and only thing you should be thinking about. Your funding should be driven by revenue from your customers. Your product should be built on feedback from your customers. Every decision you make from this point on should be made for the benefit of your customers.

 

But here’s one of those secrets of startup you won’t hear very often: The customer ISN’T always right. And it’ll be up to you to decide when they’re right and when they’re wrong.

 

The graduation line between Level 3 and Level 4 is blurry, because it’s the first jump from level to level that is entirely out of your control.

 

How and when you move from Level 1 to Level 2 is all up to you. You’ll still pull the trigger to move from Level 2 to Level 3. Going from Level 3 to Level 4, however, will be determined by the customers coming in and the money that they spend.

 

Level 4 is also when the seas get a little more choppy, and momentum starts building towards the end (Level 5). You’ll need all the skills described above and more to navigate your way through it.

 

Level 4: The Grind

Growth, Culture, Change, Trouble, Pivot

 

 

So far, everything we’ve discussed about startup has been straight-up awesome. The early days are the reason most entrepreneurs start their own companies in the first place. It’s living the dream, writing your own ticket, creating your own destiny. 

 

But not every day is going to be your favorite day at your startup. Sometimes, it’s going to feel like a job. And there will be those rare times when it’s going to feel like the worst job you’ve ever had.

 

Let’s deal with that. 

 

Level 4: The Grind

 

The Grind is the part of startup that is the least glamorous, the most difficult, and probably lasts the longest. Now, nothing about startup is easy. Coming up with a great idea is hard. Turning that idea into a product is hard. Building a company to sell that product is hard. Getting your first few customers and funding is hard.

 

But once all that machinery is in place, it’s time to make it better, faster, stronger, and more efficient. This is the point where the steady state changes, and it changes often. Customers won’t be happy, investors will meddle, competition will appear out of nowhere, costs will rise, employees will quit, and everyone around you will, at some point, stop caring about the success of your startup.

 

Did I talk you out of it? No? Good. Here’s how to get through the rest of your startup’s life cycle. 

 

Growth is mandatory from this level on. You can make mistakes and try new strategies all you want, and you should, but if you stop growing, everyone will notice. And growth comes down to one thing, acquiring more customers who are spending more money on your product more often. 

 

Growth does not mean landing more funding, or getting more press, or hiring more people. And it certainly doesn’t mean grabbing more customers if those customers aren’t spending enough to cover your costs. 

 

There's a term -- cash flow break even -- that you'll start focusing on in Level 3, and by this level you should have reached it. It means you're making more money than you're spending, and it's a very easy question to answer. It's yes or no.

 

But there are also growth traps. You don't want to grow too far beyond your capacity to produce, which is a good problem to have, but one that needs to be dealt with. You want to make sure your margin -- the percentage of money your customers are paying per product over and above what it costs to get that product into their hands -- is always rising. And you don't want to be building a dead product, in other words, something that people are going to tire of.

 

Culture is probably the most overlooked concept in startup. Who cares what your company looks and feels like as long as it’s making money hand over fist, right? 

 

Like a lot of these concepts, you should start thinking about culture from day one, but when you get to this level it becomes a critical factor. 

 

It starts with the problem you’re trying to solve, and making sure everything about your company focuses on solving that problem. If you want to do it right, you’ll need to make sure that the place your employees come to work every day is their dream job, and this means adhering to all the values that made the last level, The Journey, so satisfying. 

 

Those values will be tested as you grow. In fact, a lot of the time, Growth and Culture will seem like diametrically opposed goals, like two things that are too big to both fit in the same box. It’s difficult to do one without sacrificing the other. But it can be done.

 

Change is, like a lot of the concepts I’ve discussed up to now, something that sounds really easy until it happens. Only this time, it isn’t something you decide you want to do and tackle it. Change will sneak up on you and punch you in the back of the head. Change isn’t friendly, or nice, and it doesn’t care about you. At all. 

 

Most people, when asked, will tell you that they’re good at dealing with change. But they’re usually thinking about it in a scenario with no context and nothing on the line. The truth is, most people are terrible with change and they don’t even realize it.

 

I’m terrible with change, even after decades of dealing with it. But I realize that. You should too.

 

I like to talk about change with this example. Every time a big change happens, you have this awful feeling in your brain and your gut that wants you to fight against all the new and unfamiliar. This is human nature, and if you’re going to get through the change and find equilibrium and use it to your advantage, you have to get over this awful feeling. But sometimes, you have that awful feeling because you’ve made the wrong decision and you need to turn back.

 

Learning to figure out the difference between those two scenarios is what makes you good at change.

 

Trouble usually comes with change. Your customers’ needs can change, the competitive landscape can change, your suppliers’ prices can change, your employees’ priorities can change, rules and regulations can change. 

 

This doesn’t always result in trouble. Bad planning or lack of planning can bring trouble, because planning is your best defense against change. But sometimes trouble just comes out of nowhere, and all the planning in the world can’t defend against some kinds of trouble.

 

Trouble can best be defined as risk, which I talked about all the way back in Level 2, that comes with no warning signs. It’s those parts of life that you have little control over in the first place. You’ve had those days, when everything seems to go wrong and none of it was your fault. That’s trouble.

 

It’s a big concept because it lies around every corner. It’s difficult because you can only deal with it after it has happened. But, like everything else, you can beat it.

 

Pivot is a single word that means making big, sweeping changes quickly in order to avoid disaster. I try not to throw a lot of startup buzzwords around, but this is one you need to know. You will do this at least once if not a dozen times from the very beginning of your idea, but at this stage, it’s harder to do and much more dangerous.

 

There are going to be times, especially at this stage, when risk, change, and trouble conspire against everything you’ve built and all the plans you’ve made in an effort to sink you. When those times happen, there may be times when all the small fixes in the world aren’t going to right the ship.

 

Pivoting is something you do because you have to, because you’ve identified a huge problem or a series of problems that create walls between you and your goals that you can’t knock down with your current operation. It’s not something you enter into lightly. It’s like fighting fire with fire, and it will seem like tearing everything down and starting over.

 

Which is something that, sometimes, you will absolutely need to do.

 

I realize that this is hands-down the darkest chapter in these five stages. I’ve been through all five stages a number of times, and each startup had its Level 4, and it was always worse than I imagined it would be. But then, isn’t that true about everything you do in life? If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be worth getting to the end. 

 

And that’s where we’re going next.

 

Level 5: The End

Exit, Failure, Graduation, Next, Giving Back

 

 

This is the final stage of the generalized startup timeline, and with this, we’ve now covered the entire roadmap, from humble beginning to glorious end.

 

Level 5: The End

 

The End can happen a few different ways. There are happy endings, horrible endings, and endings where you just shrug your shoulders and move on.

 

You shouldn't really do a lot of planning for the end. Your goal is to build an incredible business, one that you want to work on every day for the rest of your life. But let's face it, you're an entrepreneur, and you might find that there are other ideas you'd like to pursue -- ideas that may be totally different from the one that got you where you are today.

 

If you've done your startup right, there will be several knocks of opportunity at your door, people who want to buy everything you've built, and you'll need to listen to most of those offers. If you've done it wrong, failure -- inevitable, heartbreaking failure -- will come calling instead, and that's a call you've got to answer too. 

 

Oh, and I need to tell you that you can do everything right and failure might just show up anyway. He’s kind of a jerk. 

 

Regardless of how you close the curtain on your startup, the end is also a new beginning, and you’ll need to know how to start over. 

 

Exit is another startup buzzword you’ll hear a lot. Simply put, it means getting out of the startup phase. 

 

Good exits are the ones where everybody makes money and starts a new chapter. Bad exits are the opposite, where everyone loses money and you don’t get to choose what happens to your company. Then there are a lot of exits that fall somewhere in between, mostly good, mostly bad, or even a kind of “to be determined,” where the quality of the exit ultimately gets figured out over time after the deal is done. 

 

When most people talk about Exit, it comes down to one of two options. 

 

The more familiar option to those outside of startup is going public, in other words, shares of the company are made available for sale on a public stock exchange. This is the option where (allegedly) everyone gets rich. But going public happens very rarely, like lightning-strike rarely, and that part about everyone getting rich is also a little bit of a myth.

 

The second option is less talked about, but it's far more likely for the average entrepreneur. That option is acquisition -- selling all or part of your company to someone else, usually to a bigger company or maybe a big investment firm.

 

Exit doesn’t necessarily mean that you leave your company. In fact, the ideal situation calls for you writing a brand new story for your company beyond the startup phase. 

 

Now, on the flip side, the end can also mean the implosion of your startup -- sometimes your hand is pushing the big red self-destruct button, and other times it's pushed for you.

 

Failure is something we will cover a lot. A lot. It’s a part of everything you do with startup and, like almost everything in life, you have to fail often and learn how to recover if you’re to have any chance at success.

 

I know people already talk about failure a lot. A lot. But very rarely do you get any sort of useful information out of those one-way conversations. It’s like that speech I got in freshman year of college, when they told me to look at the person to my right and then to my left, and that two of the three of us would drop out or fail out, and that the only way it wasn’t going to be me is if I worked hard and kept my head down and blah blah blah. 

 

I left my first college career less than halfway into it. It had nothing to do with how hard I worked or where my head was at. And then I spent a lot of my startup career being advised that I needed to fail early and often. But then every time I failed it seemed like all of those advisors were nowhere to be found.

 

I’d rather tell you how to deal with failure than just use failure to try to scare you into working hard. If you’re not ready to work hard, don’t do startup.

 

Graduation is the first of three post-Exit concepts that we’ll talk about. It’s learning how to run your company when your company is no longer a startup. 

 

Graduation happens a couple different ways: It could be when you reach an exit point but you stick around to run the new operation or it could be when your company grows to the point where it’s no longer acting like a startup.

 

This is an excellent position to be in, but since there are already a ton of resources for leaders in the corporate or big-business world, we’ll mainly just talk about the transition out of startup and into that world. 

 

Next is a concept for those who don’t stick around after exit. Next is starting over, but doing so with all of the experience that comes with having completed a startup. And to be honest, it doesn’t matter how successful that startup was, it just matters how much you learned.

 

Next could be a new company or it could be an entirely different kind of operation. You may become an investor in other startups or you might just start funding some of those ideas you’ve been saving up, letting other people do the heavy lifting while you navigate. You may try to teach other people how to do what you did, because it changed your life so dramatically.

 

You may even do some combination of those things, or you may do something else entirely. I mean, if you want to spend the rest of your life on a beach somewhere, or fixing up old cars, or you want to become a doctor, that’s cool too.

 

Giving Back seems like a throwaway concept, but it’s absolutely mandatory. I’m a believer that all businesses need to give back, and I’m a big believer in the necessity of this practice in the startup universe.

 

Giving back isn’t for some do-good or feel-good kind of vibe. Startup just works better when there are experienced people helping inexperienced people get further along. And the kicker is that those who give back usually get just as much in return. 

 

You should actually start giving back early, even from the beginning if you can, but once you get to the end you’ll have a lot more to offer.

 

So now we have a map. In Teaching Startup, we’ll tag every entrepreneur we meet, every startup they run, and every lesson we produce with one of these levels. Where you are on the map will dictate what you need to know, how much and what kind of information you’ll need to know about it, and how you’ll use that information to move forward.

But there’s more to startup than just where you are. There’s also WHO you are. That’s what we’ll talk about next, a new set of tags for Five Roles of Startup

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Roles of Startup

 

Vision

Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future

 

 

One of the truest descriptions of an entrepreneur is a person who has to do a lot of different things at the same time. The term for this has always been “wearing a lot of different hats.” I don’t like this term, mostly because it implies that you have to take your leader hat off to put your builder hat on. 

 

The truth is you have to stack several hats on your head at once. Like Bartholomew Cubbins.

 

On any given day, an entrepreneur must be a leader, a builder, a salesperson, an accountant, and do several other jobs. As the company grows, you can hire other people to do some of these jobs for you. Hopefully, the people you hire will be better at these things than you are.

 

If you think about all the things an entrepreneur has to do, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you’re an expert at one or two of them, or maybe none of them, and that’s OK. Maybe you’re good at a few others. Maybe you stink at finance, or sales, but if nobody is paying the bills or bringing in money to pay those bills, your company is not going to last long.

 

I’m not going to talk about every job at once. Much like when I wrote about the Five Stages of Startup and broke the timeline down into a simplified roadmap, I’ll reduce the dozens of jobs an entrepreneur needs to do down to five basic roles you have to fill.

 

The five roles I’m discussing are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup’s organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and most of the time two or more of these roles are going to be played by the same person.

 

First off, here are all five roles, because before you dig deeper into any of them, you should be aware of what they all are:

 

Vision -- Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future. This is the one I'm talking about now. There is also:

 

Build -- Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support

 

Sales -- Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations

 

Operations -- Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Administration

 

Growth -- Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community 

Vision

 

Vision determines company direction and momentum, primarily focused on making the product better, the sales stronger, and the company bigger.

 

A startup exists to turn a great idea into a great product to be sold to a large market by a great company. The vision role breaks down every piece of that sentence and answers all of the questions along the way. Why is the idea great? How will the idea become a product? What specific problems does the product solve? How will the company make and sell the product? Who will the company be selling to? How will the company reach these people? 

 

And on and on.

 

The Vision role informs and leads the four other roles -- Build, Sell, Operate, and Grow -- and it does this in the following ways:

 

Founding is a big job and it deserves its own category. There is a difference between founder and leader and there is a difference between founder and manager. Founders must be all three, but generally, founders are focused on the soul of the startup. 

 

The founders are the explainers. Founders create the company and explain what the company will do, what it will make, how it will act, and what it will look like. Founders set and explain the future destination of the company’s journey, defining and explaining every goal along the way. Founders also make and explain the company rules, establish and explain the company culture, and set and explain the company’s tone and voice. 

 

Founders explain all this to people inside and outside of the company.

 

Leadership is both a skill and a role, and leaders can exist anywhere in the organization, from top to bottom.

 

People tend to confuse leadership with management, but you can’t do that in startup. While management is a position within the company that moves the company forward, leadership is the stuff that allows them to do just that. 

 

Leadership isn’t assigned to someone, it’s not something you can declare with a title or an organizational chart. You can’t just call yourself a leader. Leadership is earned by turning skill and experience into words and actions, especially during difficult times.

 

Management is both a position and a practice. If Founding is about defining the destination of the company and Leadership is about drawing the map, Management is about getting there. In other words, managers must always be leaders. But leaders don’t necessarily have to be managers. 

 

Management's number one job is executing plans. They do this by owning the map as drawn by Leadership and using the resources they are given -- the people, the tools, and the money -- to get from point A to point B on that map. 

 

Management has to execute these plans within the limits of their resources, of course, but also in accordance with the goals, rules, and culture as set by the founders. Not an easy job, especially in startup.

 

Product takes its cues from Founding, Leadership, and Management, and actually builds the vehicle to move the company forward. The Product people are the mechanics of the company, constantly fixing and enhancing the car as it gets bigger and faster, and the road starts to curve a lot.

 

Oh, they have to do this while the car is moving.

 

Product’s primary focus is on the thing that’s being sold and how it’s being sold. Product is the link between the company and the customers, in everything from figuring out the price of the product and the cost to build the product to making sure the customers’ problems are being solved by the product and that they are happy using the product.

 

If any of that cycle is not working to perfection -- in other words, if the product is priced too high, costs to much to build and deliver, or doesn't completely solve the problem quickly and easily -- Product has work to do.

 

Product ALWAYS has work to do.

 

Future  is sometimes ignored, but when this happens, failure tends to sneak up on an startup. A startup has to build not only for today -- making customers happy, building a better product, running an efficient company -- but it also has to have an eye on the next few years.

 

Future does this by figuring out what the product and the company must look like when you get to the part of the road that hasn’t been mapped yet.

 

Future can be research and development, it could be a team dedicated to customer outreach, it might even be an innovation team within the company tasked with searching out new ideas that may not come to reality for a few years.

 

Future can be expensive, as it costs time and money to figure all this out and doesn’t provide an immediate increase in the company’s revenue. Future efforts should be small at first, but you shouldn’t ignore them, and they should grow as the company grows.

 

If these concepts describe your primary role at your startup, then you are Vision. That might not be your only role -- you might also be Build or Sales. It might not be your primary role -- you might be Build with some Vision.

 

If you’re a founder and your company is just getting started, you are likely playing all five roles at once. You don’t have to lock yourself into any of them for our purposes, but it helps to pick one as your primary role.

 

Build

Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support

 

 

While the Vision role might seem the most important, the truth is that every one of the five roles is just as critical as the next. To illustrate that point, someone has to make the thing you’re going to sell.

 

Build

 

Build is that role, the people who design, make, test, move, and maintain the product. That’s what we’ll outline here.

 

Build can be difficult because the skills required for this role totally change depending on what kind of product the startup sells. You need a completely different kind of expertise to make software as opposed to soft drinks, or heart rate trackers as opposed to heart medicine. 

 

Furthermore, some startups don’t even sell a product, they sell a service. For our purposes, however, a service should be treated as a product in most respects. A service startup should be trying to break new ground and invent new solutions to old problems, whether that’s with consulting, photography, pet washing, or whatever.

 

So the concepts I’m outlining in Build are meant to apply to any kind of startup, regardless of the type of product or service. 

Design is almost exactly what you think it might be, the people who put pen to paper and sketch out what the product does, how it does it, what it looks like, and how the customer uses it. But it isn’t as straightforward as that.

 

In today’s digital world, we’re no longer putting pen to paper, we’re on the computer. And we’re not just sketching, we’re documenting everything about the product, from using it to building it to packaging it. 

 

Designers plan every aspect of the product -- those things that will make it unique, attractive, affordable, and successful. These plans are then used all the way through the build process.

 

Again, the type of plan depends on the type of product. There’s a huge difference between designing clothing and designing software. There are even big differences between designing mobile software and enterprise software. Designers have to know their industry, but they also have to know the concepts of good design.

 

Engineer is the most expensive and critical role. These are the people who actually make the product. 

 

In some cases, engineers create the physical model. Other times, they create the formula or recipe. In each of these instances, they’re probably also figuring out the production line, so that other people can build a lot of the product less expensively. 

 

In software, engineers are usually writing code. And most of the time they're also responsible for the production line -- the infrastructure to build the software as well as the infrastructure to deliver the software. These days, there are widely-known, user-friendly packages out there to make setting up this infrastructure easier and cheaper.

 

Perform means making sure the company is building the best product that can be built, one that not only meets the plans drawn up by the designers, but also meets the grander plans that the Vision people have communicated. In tech, and most other industries, these people are called Quality Assurance, or QA.

 

If you want all sorts of problems with your product, do these two things: 1) Put off QA until the end of the build process and/or 2) Reduce the time for QA as the build process falls behind schedule. Most startups, even most non-startups, do those two things regularly. 

 

But over the last ten years or so, companies are learning from their mistakes. QA should get involved during design, and as the designers dream up each feature, QA is there writing test plans to make sure it works like it should. QA should also be determining a definite PASS or FAIL at the end of the process. If the product doesn’t pass, the product should not launch. Period.

 

Deliver is sometimes overlooked until later in the build process, but it’s crucial. Someone should be managing the supply of whatever the company needs to build the product, as well as making sure that the company can get the product to the customer quickly, cheaply, and without hassle.

 

Another all-too-common mistake in startup is building a product that is too costly to sell at a price customers are willing to pay. The main reason this happens is because the startup doesn’t know how much it costs to build the product and/or doesn’t know how much their customers are willing to pay.

 

Deliver makes sure this doesn’t happen. Then they find ways to drive the costs lower while maintaining both quality and profit.

 

Support is, again, almost exactly what it sounds like, but it’s more than just answering questions and responding to complaints. Support is the direct connection between the startup and its customers. It’s the first impression most of your customers will have with your company, and it has to be a perfect first impression.

It should also be a good second, third, and tenth impression. All the impressions.

Support also includes training, documentation (like user manuals), outreach (like contacting customers to see if their needs are being met), and issue resolution (like when everything blows up for no good reason). 

So yeah, this isn’t just people answering phones and email. 

Once you have Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, and Support covered, you have your Build team. And with this role and the Vision role locked in, you have your great idea come to life in your great product. Now you have to sell that product to a large market with your great company. The remaining three roles will lead the way on that.

 

Sales

Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations

 

 

So far we’ve covered the two roles in startup that focus on turning a great idea into a great product. The Vision people are your leaders, your explainers, your decision-makers, while the Build role defines the team that makes the product. 

 

But even when your startup has built the most awesome product ever, someone has to actually get out there and sell it. And no matter how amazing your offering is, this is not an easy job.

Sales

 

Sales is the role that pushes your product into the hands of paying customers, but this means much more than exchanging money for goods or services. In fact, for most startups, sales is where the grand plans break down, because too few entrepreneurs understand the sales process, and even fewer put a priority on the Sales role. 

 

A common misconception in startup is that once the product is built, the customers will come knocking at your physical and/or digital door, wallets open, ready to purchase. But the famous phrase “Build it and they will come,” was never true, regardless of what you’ve seen in the movies. “Viral sales” is also a myth, in the sense that you have roughly the same odds of creating a viral smash hit as you do of winning the lottery.

 

Sales must devise a strategy, or a series of strategies really, for reaching your market, educating them, persuading them, negotiating with them, closing the deal, and retaining them. Then all of these events must happen in the shortest possible time frame at a perpetually lower cost, all while figuring out how to get existing customers to buy more product more often.

 

Salespeople  are the front lines, the ones who facilitate and negotiate the aforementioned exchange of money for goods. It doesn't matter whether you sell your product through a website, on a street corner, in a retail store, or with late-night infomercials. Your Salespeople are directly responsible for the top line of your business -- in other words, how many dollars come into your company as the product goes out.

 

The best Salespeople are experts in the industry they sell into, and they’re up to speed on the latest developments and challenges in that industry. They know everything there is to know about how your product works and why it’s unique and important. They’re also aware of the other options, your competition, and what their flaws are.

 

The most important tool of the Salesperson is their ability to create and maintain relationships with your customers. Those relationships should be diligently tracked, that includes every interaction between your company and your customers (using a Customer Relationship Management tool like Salesforce) as well as every interaction between your customers and your website (with Google Analytics and the tools that break that website traffic data down for you). 

 

All of those relationships should be prioritized in terms of the revenue they produce. Sales is a little cold in this respect, but this is business, not personal, and good Salespeople know the difference.

 

Marketing is directly responsible for the world’s awareness that your company exists and that it sells something they can’t live without. Marketing should always operate under three basic rules:

 

1) Find the people most likely to buy the product.

 

2) Lure most or all of them to a sales channel (Salespeople, website, retail store).

 

3) Do this as inexpensively as possible.

 

Marketing has evolved over the last few years and will continue to change dramatically over the next few years. One thing that has not changed is the level of creativity required to elevate your company and product above the noise of all the companies and products screaming for attention over the various channels -- events, advertising, website, social media, etc.

 

But the biggest change over the last few years is the way marketing campaigns are executed, in that they can now be measured down to the smallest degree. Plans are devised using messages and channels that are flexible. Costs of the campaigns are broken down and weighed against the revenue that those campaigns bring in. Everything is tracked, measured, and constantly revised as the results become known. 

 

So Marketing needs to know the technology and the science of their job. It’s no longer just an art.

 

Note that with both Salespeople and Marketing, I keep hitting on two advice themes. 1) Watch the costs and 2) Measure the results. There’s an old saying about trying to get rich by selling dollar bills for 99 cents. Don’t do that.

 

Business Development is Sales, but it’s not exactly Salespeople. Business Development exists to create relationships that will provide larger numbers of customers over a longer-term. It helps to think of Business Development this way: While Salespeople and Marketing are finding and creating customers, Business Development is finding partners that will create customers. 

 

When we talk about reaching a lot of customers in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, Business Development is a great way to do this. 

 

Business Development efforts usually come later in the life cycle of a startup, but there’s no reason to wait. This is especially true if your offering is business-to-business (B2B) rather than business-to-consumer (B2C). One of the first things I do once I figure out my customer base is look for any way I can reach a group of them. Then I chase those groups down and start trying to build relationships that hopefully bloom into partnerships.

 

This is Business Development in a nutshell.

 

Public Relations  handles your interactions with the press, bloggers, user groups, fan clubs -- basically any organization that can promote your company and your product.

 

While press attention is important, keep in mind that attention does not equal success. There is value in publicity, but you should be in a position to benefit immediately from that publicity. 

 

Public Relations tells the company’s story. Just remember that not every moment of that story is interesting. Public Relations should work in a proactive manner to tell the right parts of the company story in the right way at the right time.

 

Once you reach the point where you sell your first unit, sales becomes the single most important measurement for your startup. Now that you have this role filled, it’s time to make sure your company is on solid footing. This is the job of Operations, and that’s what we’ll talk about next.

 

Operations

HR, Finance, Legal, Administration

 

 

The prior three installments in the Five Roles of Startup series were all about getting product out and revenue in. With Vision we set up leadership, with Build we’re getting the product made, and with Sales we’re putting the product into the hands of customers, the lifeblood of your startup.

 

You might think that once those three roles are filled, you can just sit back, repeat the cycle over and over, and carve out a lifelong career with maybe a golf membership and a better car than you would have driven otherwise.

 

I’m here to tell you that you probably can.

 

You were expecting the opposite, weren’t you? Come on, admit it, you thought I was setting you up to slam the door in the face of your dreams.

 

Sure. Fine. It’s no guarantee, but if you can dominate Vision, Build, and Sales, keep your employees motivated as they grow more experienced, stay relevant and unique, keep out of hot water, and continually solve customer problems in a way that makes them happy, you can repeat the cycle until you retire.

 

No joke, I’m totally cool with you doing that. Chances are, however, that you won’t be totally cool with that. At least not for long.

 

So the final two installments in the Five Roles series are about building a better, faster, stronger company, with less emphasis on the product. The role I’m going to talk about in this lesson is one you need to think about every day. And to be honest, you have to fill this role whether you want to be the biggest company in your industry or you just want to coast.

 

Operations

 

Operations keeps your startup afloat, tasked with making sure that your company is doing well today and that it’s set up to do better tomorrow. 

 

These people are the gears, the nuts and bolts, the heart of the company. These are the folks in charge of finding your employees, keeping an eye on the money, making sure you stay out of trouble, and otherwise helping everyone else focus on their job.

 

Again, there are probably dozens of specific roles that make up Operations, and the very term can mean different things to different people. However, most of the role breaks down into a few broad, necessary components. 

 

Human Resources (HR) goes by a lot of different names, but no matter what you call it, the role is responsible for finding the best employees at sensible salaries, selling them on your company as the next best step in their career path, bringing them into your organization, and making sure they stick around for a long time. 

 

In the vast majority of businesses, employees are the most expensive cost and the most important resource. Establishing a well-thought-out hiring policy is critical to a startup’s success, and there are so many pitfalls and traps that it won’t be long before you can’t do this without a dedicated professional at the helm.

 

Mistake hires are huge wasted expenses -- in dollars, in time, in progress, and in morale. Firing someone is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Replacing a valuable employee can cost anywhere from 50% to twice their annual salary. 

 

Furthermore, one of the quickest paths to failure is a toxic workplace. And one of the leading causes of toxicity is unhappy employees. Even one unhappy person can spread negativity like a plague. HR plays a big role in creating a workplace environment that is in line with your company culture.

 

Finance tracks every dollar in and every dollar out, and they make sure that those dollar amounts are balanced in the past and budgeted for the future.

 

It’s never too early to fill the Finance role, even if that’s just you logging into Quickbooks or some other accounting package once a week to confirm that the numbers are correct. At some point, you’ll need at least a professional accountant, even if it’s just on a part-time basis. 

 

A few events will mandate a larger role for Finance. The first is when you are setting your company up as a legal entity, and then again for tax time at the end of your corporate year. 

 

In the meantime, the moment you start spending money and/or collecting revenue, you’ll need all of those transactions recorded. You’ll need to know what’s a proper business expense and how to document it. You’ll need to know how to invoice people and how to pay people. If you’re going after outside investment, any kind at all, you must have your finances straight and documented.

 

And there are taxes and fees everywhere, like a financial minefield. 

 

So most of the time, Finance is one of those roles you don’t want to do yourself. The other is Legal.

 

Legal is a role your company needs but can probably farm out for quite a while, because the need for Legal is very event-driven. However, when the call for Legal does arise, don’t try to do it yourself. At the very least, talk to an attorney and ask questions.

 

You don’t necessarily need Legal to incorporate, but any other type of agreement or contract should be drawn up or at least reviewed by Legal. This includes hiring agreements, sales contracts, partnership agreements, trademarks, patents, and definitely investment agreements.

 

Again, if you’re not sure whether or not you need Legal, you probably need Legal. It sounds scary and it can get expensive, but if you approach it early and proactively instead of at the last minute during those desperate moments, it winds up being much cheaper, in a lot of ways.

 

Administration is kind of a catch-all, covering everything from physical space to inventory and maintenance to reception and more. It’s a luxury to dedicate people to this role, but great Administration is what separates great companies from average companies. 

 

Good administrators anticipate every need of the company, now and in the near future, and plan for those needs to be met. They make sure your employees are productive from their first minute on the job. They create a great first impression for customers and potential customers who reach out directly to you. They make sure, as the old saying goes, that the trains run on time. 

 

So with Operations taken care of and Vision, Build, and Sales cranking along, your startup is set for success and growth. However, there’s growth, a continuous expansion of your company that’s important for survival, and then there’s Growth, a proactive approach to make your company the best at whatever it does.

 

The latter is what we’ll talk about next, and it’s the final role you have to fill.

 

Growth

Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community

 

 

Up until now, all of the roles we’ve discussed have been people you bring into the company.

 

If you lock down these four roles, you are well on your way to building a successful startup that has a very good chance of having a long life. I will say, in all seriousness, that you can stop there, as long as you keep the best people in these roles. 

 

However, if you're building a startup with an intent to be not just good, but amazing -- world-changing, dominating, life-altering, that kind of thing -- you're going to need boosters for your rocket, so to speak. 

 

Filling this final role is what brings a business up to the speeds that we normally associate with the startup stories we see and hear about in the press. But just because you chase growth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to launch your startup into the stratosphere, up there with Google, Facebook, Uber, and the kinds of companies that grow to be worth billions of dollars.

 

Ultimately, how far you go depends on both how good you are and what you want out of your journey. You don't have to hit a home run -- a triple or a double is what you might want to aim for -- but regardless of how far you want to get, you're going to need to fill this final role.

 

Growth

 

Growth is the role that propels a startup beyond the limitations of the talent and resources within the company itself. Most of this role is filled with people who don’t work for the company directly, but partner with the startup as a key member of the extended team. 

 

The Growth people provide additional resources, including money, advice, connections, services, education, and more, usually in exchange for something else. That something else can be a piece of the startup, a percentage of the revenue, or even cash payment.

 

Two things to remember about the Growth team:

 

1) It should be relatively small, no matter how big your startup gets.

 

2) The individuals on this team should be temporary.

 

Those aren’t hard-and-fast rules, but it should be in the back of your mind that almost every member of this team will eventually be replaced, either by someone new or by no one at all because you no longer need what they provide.

 

Investors put money into the company in exchange for a percentage of the ownership of that company, called equity. They may also add value in terms of their knowledge and connections, but mostly they’re buying equity in your company with the expectation that the equity will eventually be worth more than what they’re paying for it.

 

Make no mistake, that last part is the primary function of investors. They’re not your friends, even when they’re your friends, because they can be your friends, or your family, especially in the beginning. A lot of startups get their initial funding from people they know personally.

 

Outside of personal relationships, there are several different kinds of investment:

 

Venture capitalists (VCs) manage large funds that invest in startups. This is called institutional capital, and these investors can be thought of the same way as hedge funds or mutual funds, only instead of investing in public companies on the stock market, they’re investing in private companies like yours, and thus are expecting a larger return due to the higher risk of failure. 

 

There are also private equity firms that invest capital in startups, usually much later when the startup has grown up. 

 

Angel investors are individuals who usually invest in startups earlier than VCs, and usually in smaller amounts for smaller equity. Angels, as they’re referred to, can be full-time or part-time investors, and sometimes they’ll be a part of a group that combines their experience and money to make more and/or bigger investments. 

 

The rules for investing in startups are loosening up, meaning startup investing is becoming an option for more people, in some cases no longer limited to those with a lot of cash on hand or high net worth. This means your investment can be crowd-sourced, with a lot of people investing very small amounts. 

 

You can also raise money online via donation or pre-sales vehicles like Kickstarter. No equity should be handed out here.

 

However, the first investor you go to should be you, and you should be financially committed to your startup as not just an investment of your time and your future, but also whatever cash you can scrape together. The more money that comes out of your pocket, the bigger the piece of the company you can keep.

 

I’ve written quite a lot here about Investors, because they play such a large role and change the direction of the startup so dramatically. Keep in mind though, that investment should always come second in your growth plans. Customers are always first. You can always build a huge, successful company with customer revenue, and keep a lot the equity for yourself. You can’t always do that with investment, no matter how much money you raise. 

 

Advisors provide direction to the company. They’re usually experts in the industry in which the startup operates, and while they’re not always employed by the company, they’re sometimes listed as company leadership, because having a seasoned advisor on board can make the startup more attractive to customers and investors.

 

Advisors can be paid, either with cash or equity or both. Some advisors work for free, but they usually have some vested interest in the success of the company.

 

Advisors do more than advise. They make connections, open doors, act on behalf of the company in certain situations, and can even participate in building the company and the product. You don’t have to have advisors, but they help.

 

Mentors are go-to help for company leadership and they can help in just about any way possible, from help making decisions to help finding connections to general and specific advice on the company and the product. 

 

In this, Mentors are a lot like Advisors, but the Mentor role is usually less formal. Also, while an Advisor’s relationship is usually connected to the company itself, the Mentor relationship is more personal, usually connected to one or more people on the leadership team. 

 

In this, a founder should always have a couple of mentors at every stage of the company’s life, and some will be around longer than others. 

 

Service Providers offer services and products to the startup, and this can be anything from laptops to Legal to coding to Human Resources. Really, it can be anything the startup is willing to pay for but not own. 

 

Service Providers usually work for money, either on an hourly-as-needed rate, a fee structure for services or product delivered (pay as you go), or a retainer basis (have them on hand for when you need them). Sometimes service providers will work for reduced or no cost in exchange for a small piece of equity. 

 

Some Service Providers specialize in working with startups and others have at least a team that has experience working with startups. Also, Service Providers may work with a startup for a discounted cost early-on with the expectation that they’ll keep your business as you grow.

 

Community is a broad name for the various organizations that work with startups to help them grow, usually for either a membership fee or for free as part of a program. This role includes a lot of different players, including individuals.

 

Incubators and accelerators act like investors, only they focus on additional resources, like education, training, physical space, equipment, and introductions to experts. They also, in most cases, introduce their startups to investors with whom they have established relationships. Some incubators and accelerators also make direct investments in the startups they select. 

 

Support organizations are usually non-profit entities that offer assistance, and in some cases even money in the form of grants. Support organizations work with either a selected group of startups or any startup that pays a membership fee, and this assistance can be almost anything, from training to connections to space to equipment to advice.

 

Finally, there are usually always little dots on the community map of small organizations or sometimes individuals, who help startups just because. 

 

The Startup Community is a powerful resource, and the smaller your Community, the harder it might be to find, but take advantage of it. You also don’t have to be restricted by your physical location, as there are a vast number of Community players who work primarily online. Do some research, especially within your industry.

 

Once you fill the Growth role, you’ll have a different sort of startup experience. This is startup, accelerated. But again, while having the Growth players in place increases your chances for a bigger  success, it doesn't necessarily reduce your chances for failure -- that's up to you and your customers.

 

Want More?

 

If you got anything out of this book, for you or for someone else, there’s just one thing I want you to do.

 

Join Teaching Startup

 

Teaching Startup is an educational network that delivers entrepreneurial mentoring at scale and in a unique, easily-consumable manner, to people of all ages and backgrounds.

 

Using quality, tested content and an unstructured learning framework, Teaching Startup creates valuable new paths for anyone, regardless of experience, connections, or access, to embark on an entrepreneurial career. In short, Teaching Startup builds great entrepreneurs.

 

Whether you’re a kid, a novice, a struggling entrepreneur, or a massively successful entrepreneur, you will get a lot out of Teaching Startup.

 

Go. Sign up. Be a part of this.


Teaching Startup: Getting Started

Teaching Startup: Getting Started is a quick, easy-to-understand, comprehensive guide that walks you through everything you should know before you start your own company. It's for anyone, from middle school to middle age, from novice to seasoned small business owner. There are 10 chapters in the book, split into Five Stages of Startup and Five Roles of Startup. Five Stages covers the entire timeline of a startup, from the period before the thing is actually a thing to the very last day when you exit and cash out: Level 1: The Jump Creation, Ideation, Formation, Community, Help Level 2: Start Risk, Creativity, Logistics, Planning, Execution Level 3: The Journey Leadership, Making, Hiring, Funding, Customers Level 4: The Grind Growth, Culture, Change, Trouble, Pivot Level 5: The End Exit, Failure, Graduation, Next, Giving Back Five Roles breaks down the necessary expertise every startup must have on hand, even when more than one role is played by the same person: Vision --Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future. Build -- Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support. Sales -- Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations. Operations -- Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Administration. Growth -- Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community. If you've never done startup before, this short, light, jargon-free read will get you started. If you've done startup all your life, you may learn a thing or two as well. Teaching Startup is an educational network that delivers entrepreneurial mentoring at scale and in a unique, easily-consumable manner, to people of all ages and backgrounds. Using quality, tested content and an unstructured learning framework, Teaching Startup creates valuable new paths for anyone, regardless of experience, connections, or access, to embark on an entrepreneurial career. In short, Teaching Startup builds great entrepreneurs. Joe Procopio is the founder of Teaching Startup and a 20-year serial entrepreneur. His most recent exit is Automated Insights, and automated content startup that raised $11.5 million before being acquired by by Vista Equity Partners at an amazing return. While that was going on, Joe started and sold startup network ExitEvent, which he built in his spare time over three years.

  • Author: Joe Procopio
  • Published: 2016-07-22 02:20:15
  • Words: 11670
Teaching Startup: Getting Started Teaching Startup: Getting Started