Start Smart: Positioning Your Software Venture for Success (v2)


Published on

Updated version of the Start Smart slide deck we use in the 2-3 hour version of our program. Added alternate title: Stop Coding: Put Down the Keyboard and Do the Hard Stuff First

Published in: Business
1 Comment
  • No one has summarized better than you. This presentation is awesome. You and I share the same fundamentals in business. Thanks Lincoln.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Start Smart: Positioning Your Software Venture for Success (v2)

  1. 1. Start Smart Positioning Your Software Venture for Success
  2. 2. Alternate Title... @16v on Twitter
  3. 3. Stop Coding Put Down the Keyboard and Do the Hard Stuff First!
  4. 4. Agenda • Pre-Game Prep • Idea Due Diligence • Technical Resource Engagement • Raising Capital • Missing Pieces @16v on Twitter
  5. 5. Ideas = $0.10/dozen • ideas don’t matter; execution does • people won’t steal your ideas • you need feedback from others @16v on Twitter
  6. 6. Pre-Game Prep mental • Focus • Failure IS an Option • Fear • Motivation @16v on Twitter
  7. 7. Pre-Game Prep organizational • Equity • Software Ventures 101 • Does the Founder need to be a Programmer? @16v on Twitter
  8. 8. Pre-Game Prep business • Revenue Model • Technology Has ZERO Value @16v on Twitter
  9. 9. @16v on Twitter Focus • One Venture at a Time • Don’t be greedy • Don’t “hedge your bets” • but <<famous entrepreneur>> has six ventures going at one time • he’s famous for a reason; you aren’t. Don’t worry about what he is doing. Besides, he has people. Mental Prep
  10. 10. @16v on Twitter Failure IS an Option • Nobody wants to fail but you must know it is possible • don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying • If you do fail, fail fast • do the “hard work” early to avoid failure later • do not hold onto an idea that won’t work Mental Prep
  11. 11. @16v on Twitter Fear is Okay • without fear, you lose focus • lack of fear breeds sloppiness • fear is a very personal word, and at this point in your venture, it is personal Mental Prep
  12. 12. @16v on Twitter Motivation • Desperation is the wrong reason to start a business, especially a product-based business • Looking for an “out” • Consider Service-oriented business rather than a product-based company Mental Prep
  13. 13. @16v on Twitter Equity • Understanding It; it is much more complex than you think • Two-Sides to the story • Until you are ready to engage proper legal counsel, you are not ready to discuss equity Org Prep
  14. 14. @16v on Twitter Equity your perspective • Equity is NOT currency • you are too early to be dealing in equity positions • hold onto as much as possible for as long as possible (this is not greed) • entrepreneurs often feel like those they bring in “need some skin in the game” as if that will get more out of them • pay cash whenever possible; it will save you money in the long-run Org Prep
  15. 15. @16v on Twitter Equity their perspective • you are asking them to invest in your venture • equity only pays on exit or buy-back • without control as well as equity, they are at the mercy of your performance or whims • cash is king
  16. 16. @16v on Twitter Software Ventures 101 • ISV defined • On Premises vs. On Demand • If its on the web, its a software venture, right? • Growth vs. Lifestyle Org Prep
  17. 17. @16v on Twitter Founding Programmer? • Not required • Should be technical (or willing to learn) • should not learn to program • focus on the business • you wouldn’t learn to weld just because you wanted to open a body shop Org Prep
  18. 18. @16v on Twitter Early Team Members • Be Cautious • Attorney • Advisor(y board) • Board of Directors? Org Prep
  19. 19. @16v on Twitter Revenue Model • what is a revenue model? • 7 different ways to make money • do startup software ventures need to have a revenue model? • You can’t know what revenue model(s) to choose at this stage in the game, but you MUST be thinking about it Biz Prep
  20. 20. @16v on Twitter Revenue Streams Biz Prep
  21. 21. @16v on Twitter Technology = 0 Value • the fact that you use Ruby on Rails or Java to build your app means nothing • Postgres vs. MySQL? Who cares • Ajax UI? Android client? Nothing! • Solved a problem? Aha! Now we’re onto something Biz Prep
  22. 22. Idea Due Diligence • Goal: determine if the idea is a good idea, or a good business • Ideal Idea • Validation • Detailing your Vision • Presenting your Vision @16v on Twitter
  23. 23. Ideal Idea • It Solves a Real Problem in a Low-tech, fragmented vertical market, with few relevant competitors and a proven business model • Deviating from this rule increases chance of failure • Adhering to the rule does not guarantee success • Whole Product Solution, not just a Feature • No “Me Too” products just to be “in the market” • Avoids “commodity pricing” by not just solving the pain, but doing it in a *great* way @16v on Twitter
  24. 24. Market Validation • is there a market for the product/service? • Primary vs. Secondary Market Research • Target Market Identification • Competitive Research • Sustainable Competitive Advantage • Talking to Potential Users • You Must Be Present to Win @16v on Twitter
  25. 25. Detailing Your Vision • Extract it from your brain • put it into a format that other people can make sense of • screen mockups, process flows, etc. • You are not a Product Manager... forget UML, Req. Docs, etc... just draw pictures! • use this to get feedback, engage technical resources, and/or raise capital @16v on Twitter
  26. 26. Presenting Your Vision • Show trusted advisors, colleagues, friends, and family your vision drawing • make sure that they “get it” immediately from your drawings... if they don’t, refine • determine minimum features required for version 1.0 @16v on Twitter
  27. 27. Technical Resource Engagement • Partner, Employee, Consultant or Software Development Firm • Protect your Intellectual Property (IP) • Build vs. Buy • Hosting / Platforms and Architecture • Beware “Bet Your Business” Decisions @16v on Twitter
  28. 28. Raising Capital • Bootstrapping • Go-to-Market vs. Raise Money • Money Talks • Choosing Investors • Formal Business Plan • Exit Strategy @16v on Twitter
  29. 29. Until Someone Pays You, Its Just an Idea