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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Startup Development Against All Odds

Here are some (but not an exhaustive list of) useful tips for startup entrepreneurs as well as wannabe political candidates:

1.   Spend your own money first before asking for anyone else for money. It is common advice to hear from commentators that you need to have "skin in the game." Less common is a coherent explanation of the various reasons (and yes, there are several) why this is important.  These reasons go beyond money. One reason is to establish credibility with others. The foundation of that is that you need, at a minimum, to avoid insulting anyone you approach for financing. The second reason is that anyone with merit, or at least relatively good credit, should be able to scrape up $10,000 from personal savings and/or credit or cash advance from a credit card account. These days, it is ridiculous to claim you cannot get to $10,000 from that combination of sources. If you don't have that much money of your own to bankroll seed capital, you are not enough of a success to be in a position to expect anyone else to give you money, in which case you are lying to people, don't have your priorities straight or you simply don't have any merit. Don't accept any excuses on this front. Excuses are for losers and liars. Avoid both categories as if your life depends on it. 

This is why I ask potential clients for a cash retainer, even if they offer equity. It's not the money that's the issue. It's the demonstration of credibility.  

And if you're thinking of running for office and won't pay a cash retainer, you simply are either going to be a bad client or have no business being a candidate. I don't waste my time with people in this category. I do not represent losers.


2.  Get used to "no." Most people will say no to you. But you need to get over the fear of being told "no." You simply won't ever hear "yes" if you are afraid of hearing "no." This is true in all sorts of endeavors. You may have a bad product or service, but if you are introspective enough you will discover the difference between a product/service failure and the general naysayers who are skeptics or just can't bear to see someone else get ahead of them. Revise your product/service if need be, or scrap it and start fresh, but keep plugging.

3. Remember who told you "no." Remember the people with merit, who have accomplished far more than you, who tell you this. Learn from them and never take their feedback as a personal affront. Be thankful for the feedback. Also be thankful for the response of indifference. Every reaction is a "tell" and you learn about these people, their personality, their character, from their reactions. But be far more worried about the people who will pretend to give you positive feedback, pretend to want to learn more about your idea, and all the time are trying to steal your idea. 

4. Learn from the past.  Life is a collection of experiences and observations. Looking backwards is useful if used for introspection, reflection and contemplation of what to do in the future. It is part of planning. Just don't repeat what you've done in the past if you failed, and expect a different result. That is the sign of a sure loser, someone who will be a never-will-be. Don't do it. 

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