Nine cofounder factors to consider, including past history, what type of projects and common experiences you’ve shared, common vision and goals, how to analyze your chemistry together, techniques to create a balance of power and work distribution that leverages different skill sets. Why do shared values matter? Is it better or worse to be “wired” similarly? What is “grit” and why is it important? What should you do if you can’t find the right cofounder fit?
Learn the nightmare story about govWorks.com, as depicted in the movie Startup.com, of a cofounder who gave his partners an ultimatum, forcing them to hand over $700,000, including $290,000 from their pockets. Subsequent collapse of the entire company. How to avoid and protect against these scenarios and move past dispute.
Twelve issues to negotiate and clarify early, and avoid big headaches down the road. Division of rights and responsibilities, buyout options, time commitments, salaries, decision making, personal investment of cash or assets, potential of future sale, how to resolve scenarios when one founder is not covering their share, leaving the other to pick up the slack, and much more.
How to use an Advisory Board to strategize and be more lucrative. Benefits of Advisors vs. Directors. Finding mentors. How to know when you have enough to be beneficial, but not too many. Using mentors to boost fundraising and growth. Big name advisors vs. talented unknowns. What type of time commitment to reasonably expect from advisors. How to get candid feedback from advisors, and make sure they are not just “yes-men.”
How much (if anything) to compensate advisors, and how to keep them excited. Bring in an advisor with little personal value, just for their network? Can you fire advisors? If so, when?
Places (eg. in your community) to find effective and trusted advisors. Key questions to ask references. Tips and techniques to connect with desirable mentors who have not heard of you. Create the perfect Advisor pitch.
Why poor financial planning is the second leading cause for companies’ decline. How to tell you’ve outgrown Quickbooks. Will an outsourced consulting firm suffice? Ready for a full-time in-house employee? If so, should you hire a bookkeeper, accountant, or CFO?
Hiring process. Crucial interview questions you may not think of. How to grasp personality, and determine if they’re a specialist in areas relevant to you. Do they just know tax code? Or can they strategize to make you more profitable?
Duties and responsibilities of an in-house accountant. What fees are reasonable? Keeping your accountant motivated to maximize revenue and minimize your expenses.
How to tell if you need a lawyer. How to determine if they have an intimate knowledge of your specific industry. Type of experience to look for, eg. schooling, past work etc. Fee structure. Red flags to watch out for. How to know if the lawyer you hire is actually the lawyer who ends up doing the work (this is especially important in big firms.)
Why it’s so hard to gauge tech people’s reliability and professionalism. How to distinguish between someone who loves programming, and someone who chose it because “it pays the bills.” Evaluate a portfolio if you know nothing about tech. What’s more important–compatibility with your company, or competence? Simple trick to screen out least qualified candidates.
Important factors to consider when hiring, eg. testing, quality assurance, which devices they use. How to define the deliverable (eg. source code etc.) Who owns it. How to assess the Developer’s portfolio.
Sales and Marketing Team
Why even great companies with products in high demand still need a strong marketing and sales team. Why no product can ever sell itself. Secret to turning your product into a monopoly, even if it’s not distinguishable from the competition.
Sales and marketing categories: Complex sales, Personal sales, Viral marketing, advertising. Determining which you need, leveraging marketing for maximum sales in the broadest market.
Mindset vs. Toolset. Where to look for growth team specialists and experts. Talent vs. creative problem-solving skills. How to tell from their blog if they’re qualified. 2 simple questions to determine if you need an outbound sales team.
Four responsibilities of a sales team. Three types of salespeople: Mavericks, Journeymen, Superstars. How to leverage each for maximum growth and revenue.
What are an account executive’s responsibilities?
Whom to offer them to. Tips to formulate great incentives WITHOUT giving away the farm. REAL examples of a stock options plan structure.
What is reverse vesting? Creating a vesting schedule. Time-based vs. Milestone based vesting plans, benefits of each type, how to decide which is right for you.
Who to avoid hiring
Why to avoid or completely retrain MBA’s. What business schools overlook that makes it hard for graduates to meet innovative startup needs.
How to handle employees who cause more damage than they’re worth. How they weaken team morale and loyalty, decrease output and effort, cause others to spend less time at work, and sometimes chase away customers.
Two great tests to determine if an employee is toxic. Twelve devastating employee behaviors that are red flags, and require zero tolerance.
States vs. Traits: How to tell if an employee is having a bad day, or is a bad guy.