When starting a company one of the best things you can do is to talk to as many people about the idea and get their feedback and introductions. A successful startup is 20% idea and 80% execution. With that said, there is some “help” that should be avoided whereby people take advantage of first-time entrepreneurs.
Here are some tactics to stay away from:
- Fees charged to get an introduction or to pitch angel investors or VCs
- Offers to write a business plan in exchange for thousands of dollars (I’m against writing business plans as testing business models is the way to go, and if you do need a business plan for something like a bank, you need to be able to do it yourself to understand your own business)
- People who pose as angel investors only to try and sell you consulting services requiring big fees and stock options to work with you first to see if they might invest later
- People who pose as angel investors that really want to do business development deals for you in exchange for a percentage of revenue with no desire to actually invest
My recommendation is to talk with people that genuinely want to help and have a clear motive of helping the community or offering a standard service (legal, accounting, commercial real estate, banking, etc).
Thanks to my friend Wayt King who inspired this post with his tweet:
What else? What are some other examples of startup “help” to avoid?