Five Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask…Every Day

Smartness, like great humor, is always a distillation.   Mark Twain famously said:  “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”  Twitter has taught us to be even briefer.  So here’s my brief learning from the world of start-ups:

  1. Do you know the questions to answer and the issues to be avoided for a successful pitch for financing? Your smart product now needs to be married to smart positioning, smart marketing and smart management.  VC’s are looking for your brilliance here too…beyond the product.
  2. Do you know how to go beyond your zone of comfort to find and hire the ‘top guns’ you will need? Whether it’s a CEO (see Google and Yahoo) or a head of Sales (lots to choose from), creators often have to bring in major talent from the ‘outside’.  Have you figured out what help you’ll need to find the right person(s), how to take advice from experts, how to negotiate this kind of deal, etc.?
  3. Can your company navigate the often murky waters of customers and their advisors? Agencies and clients, consulting firms, procurement offices…these are just a few of the essential obstacles in every sales process.  Your understanding of them is critical to your success.
  4. Do you have a plan for getting known, liked and respected? These are the essential underpinnings of all business.  Do you know where you stand today and how to get to where you’re going…without going broke?
  5. What’s the difference between you as a start-up and you as a going, real, concern?  As companies grow there are important changes they have to make to accommodate that growth.  But there are also cultural essentials that made you successful when you were small.  Do you know the difference between the baby and the bath water?

Five simple questions with five not so simple answers.  Are you asking?


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