Sales, Marketing, and Strategy

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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How Do You Turnaround And Rebuild Your Company?

 “Bring us up to your level,” “Bob” the CEO said to me in his office. Bob was pitching me on becoming general manager of one of the company’s three business units. I smiled, we shook hands, and I left his office. The truth was that I wasn’t sold on whether I wanted to work with…

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Why You Need To Know What Your TAM & SAM Are

“Tell me about the whole market first,” Jack Gifford, Maxim’s CEO, said to me. We were meeting at the Peppermill in Cupertino like we always did for our Tuesday morning breakfast meetings. For this meeting it was me, Ziya who was my boss, Dave Fullagar who was the VP Engineering, and I believe Len Sherman…

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When Do You Consider Your Business Ready To Launch?

I used to meet with my cofounders a few times a week. We were each working on parts of our business plan. “John” was working on the engineering model, “Jim” was working on the marketing model, and I was working on the overall financial plan. After about two months of staring at each other across…

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