who needs money anyway
My last post included some tidbits that some experienced individuals shared with a crowd of entrepreneurs recently. I promised I would go back to a few important items and I may as well do so now, especially since a friend of mine just lived through a few of the bullets very recently. Fortunately, it was only a flesh wound but it sucks to see this happen.
I've been slapped over the head by the following realizations enough times to have it finally sink in and I'm compelled to pass on the slap. It stings a bit since I see myself making some of these mistakes and must correct course immediately.
Work multiple investors until the money is in the bank!
Investors will sometimes appear to be very interested which gets the entrepreneur all pumped up thinking they have finally found "the one". They jump through hoops, expend lots of energy and stop chasing other investors thinking this one is so close, you'll be cashing a cheque and popping the champagne anytime. Months and months go by ... you finally start talking numbers and you might even be so lucky to get a decent term sheet thinking .... this is it ... time to polish the dancing shoes. Then you realize the due diligence is just beginning ... many more months might go by and the trail goes cold. What the F&%#!?
Slap, slap, slap!!!
Who needs money anyway!
Although this is not possible in all industries, it is good to be ready to move forward without any significant outside investment. This is especially possible with pure S/W plays, especially in a Web 2.0 environment in the year 2007. Fortunately, this is the space we are in. We are prepared to move forward to develop our product on the slow path if that is what it takes. I'll keep the knee pads on and continue prostituting my brain to the telecom world for a while longer. You go numb after a while ... it isn't so bad ... plus the people are great which makes it much easier.
Go to market strategy!!!
So ... you have a great idea. You know what you are going to build, have a developed a compelling business case that shows you'll be swimming in dollar bills in no time and hopefully making more than you're spending. You know how you are going to build your world changing thingy, how many people it is going to take and where they are going to come from. Awesome ... ready to roll. Now comes the hardest part in my opinion. How do we bring this to market?
Basically, how do we ensure everyone in the entire world knows about our product. This is especially challenging for a start-up since the marketing dollars are simply not there. A huge marketing campaign is definitely out. So we are left with a few options:
-have each of the team members tattoo one of the company letters on their butt and we can start streaking side by side through all the major cities (we'll do Canada in the summer ... nuf said)
-hey ... this might not be half bad ... guys, are you in? I'd better hit the gym a little harder
-work with a big brother/channel partner with a big name
-this is one we are looking into quite a bit. The trick is that you need to prove to them that you can do something for them that no one else can (without giving up your virginity for it).... even though you are absolutely nobody and they could step on you like a bug ... where the hell did they go ... they were just here a minute ago!
-viral. This is a really fun one since it can be super powerful but can be very difficult to predict and control. A bit of luck is required here.
The tattoo thing is sounding pretty good!
If you are into listening to music on the net (if not you will be), I'd like to leave you with a neat service I discovered virally (i.e. someone sent me the link). I'm not quite sure if it is really good yet since I've only used it a few times but it is an interesting take on music streaming. It is very simple and free so give it a shot. Let me know what you think.