The Non-Valley Valuation Discount

One of the more frustrating concepts for entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley is the non-Valley valuation discount. With numerous high-profile valuation announcements, especially the excitement around unicorns (startups with a valuation of $1 bill or more), it feels like everyone is getting amazing valuations, especially as a multiple of current revenues. Only, if you peel back…

Front-End Only Minimum Viable Product

Steve Blank and Eric Ries helped popularize the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) as a way to get a functional prototype into the hands of potential customers as quickly as possible. Previously, too many entrepreneurs built complex, elaborate products without incorporating customer feedback, resulting in failure. Now, with some of the latest JavaScript frameworks, the minimum…

Review of the Previous Quarter

With Q1 2015 wrapped up, now’s a great time to reflect on the previous quarter. Did anything dramatic happen? Why, yes, there were some serious ups and downs. From a rhythm, data, and priorities perspective, there are several items to review: Simplified One Page Strategic Plan – The one pager is the overall business alignment…

High EQ, High IQ, and Strong Work Ethic

A few days ago I got into a conversation about what makes for a great founding team. Of course, we hit the normal topics like passion, resourcefulness, and vision. Then, I heard it summarized in a way I hadn’t heard before: amazing founding teams have high EQ (emotional quotient), high IQ (intelligence quotient), and a…

The Gap Between Selling a Company and Telling the World

At 11:05am on Tuesday, October 9th, my co-founder and I finished digitally signing all the legal documents. Pardot was officially acquired by ExactTarget. At lunch that day, with three other senior leaders from the team, I looked up, smiled, and commented that we were all unemployed. See, as part of the selling the company, each…

9 Entrepreneurial Team Member Traits

Sam Wheeler of PayRight Health Solutions posted a great comment yesterday about traits he finds in entrepreneurial team members at thriving startups. After seeing the list, I readily agree. Here are his nine entrepreneurial traits of successful team members: Flourish with ambiguity. Love constant change. Feel as if they are on a mission. Comfortable being misunderstood. Can make…

More Confidence With Each Customer Count Milestone

The early days of a startup are the hardest. So many ups and downs, incredible amounts of uncertainty, and the realization that startups are actually much less glamorous than they seem. And, every time a potential customer says “no”, a potential employee says “no”, and a potential investor says “no”, the entrepreneur’s confidence is slowly…