Sales, Marketing, and Strategy

What Can You Learn From A Little Boy And A LEGO?

I was at home Saturday night enjoying a really nice evening with my wife and daughter. We had just finished dinner, and I was thumbing through one of my Twitter feeds. [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can help. Click here.] That’s when I saw this tweet: Boy writes to Lego after…

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How Profitable Does Your Startup Need To Be?

Of all the crazy, stupid, ridiculous things I’ve ever heard, I’d have to say this doozy from “Donald”, a very well known billionaire VC, has to be the craziest, stupidest thing ever: “I hate high margin businesses!” It just goes to show you how much things have changed when it comes to building companies. I’ll…

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Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Startup To Be Acquired

There was a time in the late 1990’s when venture capitalists made a killing investing in semiconductor companies. The companies these VCs invested in were never meant to be companies built for the long term. Instead, these companies were meant to be flipped and sold quickly. The flipping of companies in the late 1990’s was…

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What Should You Steal From Your Competitors?

Our go to market strategy for starting our company was based on copying our competitors. Right down to the part number, the specifications, and the data sheets, that’s exactly what we intended to do. I told an interviewer when we came out of stealth mode and launched our first set of products that companies in…

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How You Can Win A Deal In Seven Seconds Or Less

“You didn’t have me at hello,” the investor said to us. “But I like what you’re doing. Let me think about this and get back to you.” We had just finished presenting to a well known VC in our space. The VC was telegraphing that he was going to pass on investing in our company.…

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How Do You Tell Investors Why You Will Beat Your Competitors?

“They brought up companies we didn’t even know existed,” Mike said in our debrief after a startup pitched to the Venture Capital partnership where I was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Everyone was impressed with the CEO, the company, and we decided to continue forward with the investment. There’s a natural tendency when you’re asked…

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How Do You Know You’ve Got A Great Startup Idea?

“You want to do what?” The investor said to me. “It seems like financial engineering. Why don’t you just skip that phase and get right to the unique products?” The investor didn’t get it. We had a two part strategy that had proven to be successful previously. I didn’t need to wait for the rejection…

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What’s The Best Way To Motivate Your Sales Organization?

Getting your sales organization motivated to sell can be one of the most challenging problems you will face building your company. It’s a true chicken and egg problem. To scale your company’s sales, you need a great sales organization. However, to build a great sales organization, you need to show you have a product or…

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What Is The Most Difficult Part About Building Your Startup?

“The hardest part of building our company will be raising the initial funding,” I naively said to my fellow cofounders. Every one of them nodded their heads in agreement. I continued on with my pep talk. “We’ll be home free once the funding closes. We’ve built businesses like this before. We know what we’re doing,…

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How Your Startup Can Survive A Price War

Years ago, I ran a business where we had developed a groundbreaking product called the MAX232. The product was so successful that fourteen competitors eventually built what they believed were exact replicas of our MAX232. Many of our competitors, including Texas Instruments and Analog Devices, were much bigger companies than we were. They had the…

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