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Putting your A-Team together


Business leaders need great people both inside the company and out – investors, customers, partners, advisors – as well as a great support network at home.  All of these people are critical to the business.

As important as any other aspect of your job as CEO is the need to cultivate the best team possible given the limitations of your budget, mission and headcount. Rather than spending time on improving the capabilities of their teams, we find that many chief tech execs spend a great deal of time attempting to compensate for deficiencies within their teams.

Every person you hire will either strengthen or weaken your culture. That’s a tough lesson to learn, but deep down we all know it’s true.

Consider applicants in terms of their personality and fit, and train them through an on-boarding experience that reflects your culture. Look for contributors who are motivated both by the company purpose and a genuine enjoyment of what they do.

On the flip side, you can’t be afraid to fire people based on patterns of violating your company’s values or poor performance. As difficult as it may seem at the time, there’s no doubt your company will be better for it in the long run.

It’s important to  remove under-performers quickly to build superior teams. You can never eliminate under-performers soon enough and you should always be looking for superior talent. Superior people make excellent technology and develop appropriate processes.

Challenges within a company normally point to issues with, or among, the leaders.

“The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle.” – Peter Drucker

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The Most Important Detail in Marketing Your Early Stage Company

Marketing Target

So you’ve built an awesome product/company/service and you’ve clearly defined your value offering – now what?

Start telling people about it! Someone isn’t likely to buy your product if they’ve never heard of it before. But what methods do you use to tout your awesomeness?

Most companies go straight to social media when trying to promote their business. However, while social media is a great and powerful tool to get your brand message out there, if you don’t know who your . customers are or what problems they need solved, you might as well be talking to a wall. (your own lonely Facebook wall…)

So first things first – DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

And when I say define, I mean really DEFINE it. Unless you have funding along the lines of McDonald’s or Coca Cola, you can’t target the world. So narrow it down. Ask yourself or your colleagues what problem does your product/company solve and who is most likely to need the solution you offer?

Things to consider when defining your target audience:

For B2C brands – gender, age, location, income level, lifestyles, interests, etc

For B2B brands – title, job function, industry/vertical, employee size, company revenue, team structure, key decision makers, etc.

The most important element in marketing a startup is to KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.

Know Your Customer

Know who they are, what they like, what they consume, what their emotions are, and what motivates them.  This will help inform what marketing tactics you should leverage to reach them and what your messaging should be in order to truly connect.

If you haven’t asked these questions, or if you don’t know the answers, you’re wasting your time and money in marketing.

For help defining and reaching your best potential target audience, contact me at

Feel free to also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer to help you Position Your Potential:

Working “ON” the business, not “in” it

Working ON the business

Confession time.

I have done exactly what I have been telling my clients NOT to do.  I’ve been working “in” my business, not “on” my business.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post.  I started out writing a post 3 times per week, then 2x/week, then 1x/week, then 2x/month, then 1x/month, then….. nothing. Nothing for over 8 months.

I’ve been busy working on delivering exceptional value for my clients.  Yes, that’s true, but it’s also an excuse.   Read more…

How to find the right buyer for your company


There are a lot of things that you as the CEO need to do to build a good company.  Many of those will also position your company to be acquired by a bigger company.  You can wait for someone to find you interesting enough to acquire or you can do something about it.

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Reap the Benefits of Success

Exit Sign

The whole purpose of being the CEO and/or Founder of a high growth software company is to benefit from the growth in value you’ve created.  While it’s possible to build a big company and create a “lifestyle” business, as I call it, where you have a comfortable living from the profits you generate, that option becomes less viable as more people, from employees to investors, have an economic interest in the business’s outcome.  All of them are expecting you to guide the business to an exit.The expectation on everyone’s part is that the company will have a “liquidity event” within 5-10 years of founding.   Read more…

Why will your startup fail?


It’s very challenging to start and grow an idea into a successful company.  The odds are stacked against you.  A recent FRACTL study of over 200 company post mortems found that the #1 reason most often cited by founders, even more often than running out of cash, was that their business model was not viable.

The research shows that we have good ideas, but bad businesses. Read more…

An easy way to determine your company’s value


Something new is coming and it will affect your privately held business, whether you want it to or not.

Every CEO will at one time or another ask the question, “what’s my company worth?”

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a a simple, trustworthy way to understand and unlock that value.

Now there is.

Think Zillow or your FICO score but for private companies.

Read more…