Author Archives: Dave Berkus

The 18-month rule and a harrowing tale

It can take 18 months from initial concern about a critical employee to getting a replacement up to speed. Of course, I’ll tell another harrowing story here. But first. an old friend, Dick Tanaka, gets credit for the 18-month rule.  … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Growth!, Protecting the business | 3 Comments

Entrepreneurs: Employment law is not on your side!

Small companies most often scrape by with borrowed or invested funds, doing everything possible to grow and prosper with limited resources.  So, it is like a punch in the gut when an employee makes a claim against the company for … Continue reading

Posted in Protecting the business | Leave a comment

Insurance is always too expensive – until it’s needed.

I expect that you have a story about how insurance saved you lots of money in your past. As usual, I have a story to make your hair stand on end. But first: here’s a fact. Business insurance is one … Continue reading

Posted in General, Protecting the business | 1 Comment

Any advice can be worthless, or worse.

Ever get bad advice? Sure. We all have in our past. Ever take that advice without question because the person giving it was an investor, a superior in rank, the chairperson of your board?  I’ll bet you have at least … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Protecting the business, Surrounding yourself with talent | 3 Comments

I won’t serve on a board without D&O insurance!

I’ve been sued as a board member too many times over the past twenty-five years of board service.  Five times. Does that shock you?  It does me.  Entrepreneurs blaming their board for failures of a fragile, early stage company.  Shareholders … Continue reading

Posted in Protecting the business | 6 Comments

How about your board members’ time commitments?

Expect a board member to give a meeting a month, emails and phone calls between.  Urgent issues require more of all. Board members are usually busy people, often running other companies or serving on multiple boards.  Early stage boards usually … Continue reading

Posted in Surrounding yourself with talent | Leave a comment

How do you pay an early stage board?

Give one percent equity to each outside board member vesting over four years of service. Many early stage CEOs and board members have asked for some guidance regarding pay and time commitments for board members.  Here is my best advice, … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Surrounding yourself with talent | 3 Comments

Please learn this: “Noses in; fingers out!”

Many of us have someone who reports directly to us and who supervises others in return. If that fits, well then, this one is for you. And it is one of the most important lessons you can learn as a … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Surrounding yourself with talent | 4 Comments

Hire a consultant; ignore the advice.

At one time or another, most all businesses use consultants to fill the gaps in knowledge or to provide guidance for management.  Consultants are good in that you can sample their work with short projects, change to other consultants quickly, … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Surrounding yourself with talent | 13 Comments

Bankers: love ’em or hate ’em. They may affect your future.

Let’s get right down to it.  Your banking relationship can be like a great marriage or a bad trip to the DMV.  In most cases it is strictly your choice.  But the results of that choice will reverberate for what … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Surrounding yourself with talent | 6 Comments