Day 1 Evening - Colford Presentation

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  • Day 1 Evening - Colford Presentation

    1. 1. Lead to Win Some Lessons Learned May 19, 2009 Chuck Colford, CEO – Congruance IT, Inc. Lead to Win
    2. 2. My Biases I like helping people solve problems – especially customers I LOVE invoicing – its one of my favourite things to do I like calling the shots – While I’m not a control freak – I HATE to be controlled – Don’t ever tell me I can’t do something I like some VCs – 99% of them give the other 1% a bad name – I probably won’t do business with them again I admire good private investors – They are cut from a different cloth than VCs I’m a results junkie – I have a bias for action over study – I’m impatient – I believe I can do anything, but know others can do certain things better than me I’m probably a lot like many of you – but maybe with a bit more scar tissue – I would like to help you avoid acquiring that the hard way Slide 2 Lead to Win
    3. 3. Lessons to learn – LTW 2002 Class Graduates were good at • 29 participants raising money • 10 went on to found firms securing VC money and launching businesses – More than $90M VC funds raised – Every founder who secured VC financing is no Graduates longer running their company had difficulty – Founders who used VC last time that have retaining pursued VC for their next startup - 0 control when VCs • 7 bootstrapped employed – 3 are still running their businesses Slide 3 Lead to Win
    4. 4. Lessons in Venture Capital I pitched to You will deal with an employee of the VC firm over 100 VCs – As employees they have salary & pensions – they may not be – Some things entrepreneurs - Their skin in the game is not the same as yours I learned – Their “experience” may not be applicable to a startup – They don’t want to own a piece of your company – they want to sell it Types of VC firm plays you will meet – The analyst – Does not make decisions – screens & researches – The displaced executive – Left a large corporation as VP or higher – The one-hit wonder – Had a good exit – possibly lucky – The serial entrepreneur – Did it more than once; Has scar tissue # 1 is not that helpful, # 2 & 3 can be dangerous, # 4 is a rare and ideal find – May be very helpful and most respectful Smart money has a centroid – Menlo Park first; Waltham next, then elsewhere Slide 4 Lead to Win
    5. 5. Listen to Customers Customers Your sales calls should outnumber your money-raising will help you calls find your – My VC pitch went through about 50 iterations story – My sales deck went through > 100 – They got excited in what was unique about my product – and Customers told it to me • It was not what I thought can be your • It was not what Gartner said (then; Gartner have learned too) biggest • It was not what the VCs thought advocates Customers are your best referrals – To potential investors – Don’t release their identity too early – To other customers – To their strategic investment groups Protect your customer advocate – at all costs! Slide 5 Lead to Win
    6. 6. Learn to Sell Good • Selling - Get over the discomfort relationships – Learn, get coaching – Practice, practice, practice can create – You will need to know this stuff to manage the sales team many “pull anyway through” – It will put you in the situations to hear customer needs opportunities. – It gets easier as you go – It gets more profitable too • Don’t ignore channel relationship opportunities – If there is something in it for them – they can be GREAT advocates – Grease the wheels as necessary – Making the pie bigger can be more rewarding than owning all of it. – With channels I send less time selling and more time invoicing Slide 6 Lead to Win
    7. 7. Everything is Negotiable • Extend your runway & avoid dilution – A dollar saved is $1 or more you won't need to raise • Downturns are great for getting a bargain – Resist the urge to pay “the asking price” on anything – Priceline.com + BetterBidding.com for travel – Negotiate with hotel management – You can beat corporate rates – Sharpen your own sales skills • But don’t squeeze small businesses to death – leave some goodwill on the table – You may need relief and your suppliers can become good advocates Slide 7 Lead to Win
    8. 8. Manage Your Personal Exit Strategy How are you • Plan to take yourselves out going to get – Selling your business to someone else – Going public money out of – Succession/transition plans & timeframes your – Winding up business? – Handcuffs • Who will your acquiring partners be? Will you exit – Likely players who will acquire your business – Why? your – Plans to attract and engage them company? Or – Window of opportunity (timeframes, triggers) will your • Getting Cash Out company – Voting rights – all players not equal exit? – Registration rights – Severance payments – Dissent rights – Capital gains, Dividends (Tax implications, benefits) – Stock or Cash Founder’s plans may differ from the investors! Slide 8 Lead to Win

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