Entries from September 2010 ↓

Your Market is Smaller Than You Think

The subject of measuring market size comes up every few weeks in my interactions with startup founders, and one point I always raise is the difference between a top-down and bottom-up approach.

The top-down approach is the one you would traditionally link to business school case studies and startups going after large markets.

The approach involves going to a source of (often public) data and finding out how many X’s there are in the world, where X is your target consumer…be it a barber shop, web design firm or male under the age of 34.

The challenge with this approach is that unless you have a stack of cash from here to the moon, you have zero chance of reaching all of those X’s.

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Ten Things I Will Never Have to Do Again

Almost four years ago, after a failed attempt to grow my consulting firm, I made the decision to never hire another employee.

Through my experience as a manager and employer I realized that the time and energy it takes to hire, manage, motivate, train, administer, and retain employees would be better invested in adding value to my products.

In other words, I’d rather spend my time writing code, talking to customers, and marketing my products than managing employees who would do that work for me.

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Lesser Known Traits of Successful Founders

I’ve worked with several hundred entrepreneurs over the past few years, and after the first 50 or so I began to notice a pattern. There are traits that successful founders possess that tend to be weaker or absent in people who are never quite able to make it work.

There are obvious traits that you need as a startup founder: a strong work ethic, perseverance, a desire to learn, etc… But at this point we’re all bored to tears of these entrepreneurial generalities. If you need someone to tell you to work hard and persevere, you should cut your losses now and head back to your cubicle.

So today I want to focus on a handful of lesser known traits that will contribute to your success as a founder.

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