Category Archives: Ignition! Starting up

How to reach beyond the prospect’s gatekeeper

What’s a gatekeeper? Looking for an entrance into a VC, an angel group, a bank, a CxO for a sales opportunity, or any other entity?  There are always gate keepers whose job it is to filter out the inconsequential or … Continue reading

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What if you and your investors don’t agree on an exit?

First, the implied promise: Taking money from professional investors such as angels or VCs usually requires that you agree to seek an exit for those investors in your plan, often targeting five to seven years as the ideal period for … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | Leave a comment

Don’t just raise money. Do it on good news!

Why is this important advice? Because the first rule for raising money is to do it on good news – right when sales are increasing at an accelerating rate.  Or when a major customer signs a significant deal.  Or when … Continue reading

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The best advice startups will never follow

Dave’s note:  This is a reprint of a 2015 insight that seems to have struck a chord with investors and entrepreneurs. None of this advice has changed… Let me tell you a few short hair–raising stories of entrepreneurs who have … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | 1 Comment

Don’t get hung up on early stage valuation.

Here’s the “what.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked away from deals where the entrepreneur insists on a start-up pre-money valuation that is so high, no angel could expect to make a return upon the investment, even … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | 1 Comment

Three Important Issues for Your Business Plan

Some professional advice            Here’s more advice from professional investors for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Each of us has a list of things we look for early on when identifying whether we want to go to the next step in analyzing a … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | 2 Comments

Can you build a company, not just a product?

Some businesses are built around a single idea.    And sometimes that idea is just too small a slice of the big picture to be interesting to investors.  There was a recent investor event where I was keynote speaker, on … Continue reading

Posted in Finding your ideal niche, Ignition! Starting up | 2 Comments

My dad said: “Never take on a business partner.”

My dad was a smart businessman, even if not formally trained. He occasionally gave me advice that turned out to be more than wise, looking back at subsequent experience and events.  His personal teaching event was a typical experience, as … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Ignition! Starting up, Protecting the business | 8 Comments

Should you include your sweat equity in a business plan?

Investors love it when entrepreneurs draw little or no money from their startups.  It extends the cash available for research and other necessary fixed costs and gives the fragile, young company more “runway” to get to breakeven. What are you … Continue reading

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What’s the most important thing in a young business?

Cash is everything to a new business.  How many times do we have to say this?  The days of being able to trust that there will be an investor or lender on the other end of a call or email … Continue reading

Posted in Growth!, Ignition! Starting up | 1 Comment