Ten Pitfalls For Early-Stage and Growing Companies and How To Avoid Them Pete Higgins Partner Second Avenue Partners #1: “Radio is Stuck on Talk” • CEO/Company must be bi-modal • Be optimistic but introspective and paranoid • CEO as voice of customer • LISTEN • Customer feedback loop is most important process in company #2: Falling in Love with First Plan • Product is ―done‖; it’s just a sales/market problem • ―Great technology‖ – Customers don’t care; problem doesn’t exist – Too complicated – Who’s the customer? • Recognize it is an iterative process #3: Stuff Just Takes Longer • Product development • Sales learning curve • It’s more important to you than the customer • You have to plan for realistic scenarios #4: Getting Ahead of Yourself • Do not confuse activity with revenue – Brother in law sales – Great meetings – Pipeline Value • Jerry Maguire • Invest FOLLOWING growth #5: Paying Lip Service to Being Cheap • Good intentions…but it is a slippery slope • It isn’t supposed to be comfortable • It is okay to be small for awhile • What do you really need? • Minimum now vs. cash crunch • What culture do you want to establish? #6: Don’t Treat Board Like IRS • Arms length relationship leads to wariness • Communication is frequent and informal • Good news and bad news • If frequent, they can be trained to handle • Do the worrying for them – Thinking about right goals and problems? – Right process? People? – Right solution? – Can I be helpful? #7: Failure to Manage the Company, Even When It is Small • Don’t assume everyone knows • Communicate goals and objectives – Share successes and failures – Enroll people; Encourage debate • Communicate often; clearly; think about it – Think about cultural icons #8: Hire in Context • Right person, wrong time • Right kind of skills and experience • Strategist vs. scrappy • Big company vs. little company • Personality or Culture Fit #9/10: Knowing What You are Good At Or, Why “Founder” Becomes a Dirty Word • Fixated on first vision • Personal agenda—it’s not your company • Over-rating your own capabilities • Failure to delegate and micromanage • Statistically, you’re eventually the wrong person • You don’t know if you even want the job #9/10: Knowing What You are Good At Or, Why “Founder” Becomes a Dirty Word • Focus on your strengths • Aggressively complement yourself • Focus outward--make everyone else successful • Ongoing conversation about yourself
"Ten Pitfalls For Early-Stage and Growing Companies and How To "