When you work in a high-risk industry of startups -- whether as an entrepreneur, an employee, a VC, or a consultant -- there will be failures. You know that. And you are always surprised how much they hurt. You would think by now surely you've learned how to cope with it. It's painful and frustrating, … Continue reading Why Do You Keep Doing It?
I've written about Core, Near-Core and the Outfield. There will be scope creep. And the Definition of Core will continue to develop. With usually longer enterprise sales cycles that can be a problem. Ask your salespeople: Why are we in this account? This is especially true with Near-Core opportunities: There will be a class of … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Why Are We In This Account?
You closed your first customers, all friendlies who you worked with for the past 15-18 months to refine the product (so much for your "three months sales cycle from GA to bookings - that was easy!"). So who's next? You can categorize your prospects into three categories: Core (Hunt): This is the category where you actively … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Core Customers.
"If I ask CEO <x> about what your most transformational value on the board was over the last twelve months, what would she say?" My firm also invests in other venture capital funds, known as 'fund-of-funds'. I recently met a long-time friend from a great fund in enterprise software who I deeply respect. When I asked … Continue reading Do you Know Your Transformational Value?
Wow, just re-found this 5 minutes 56-second video with I had bookmarked. I usually hate these "Five Things Successful Executives Do" etc., but this one was a pretty good framework of four recurring patterns -- instead of "do your taxes yourself." or "smile more." or all the other nonsense you read on clickbait. This one has … Continue reading HBR Whiteboard Session: 4 Things Successful Executives Do Differently.
Startups are notoriously short on resources, especially when they are rapidly scaling. Scaling friction takes more tolls than anticipated. At these moments, startups become vulnerable to ecosystem changes: Not because they need to take immediate action, but because the perceived threat came as a surprise and your organization is frantically scrambling to understand your options … Continue reading Discuss Your Offensive and Defensive Strategic Options With Your Board.
Up to a year ago, I would have said that the CTO is the most important person after the CEO for enterprise software startups. I'm a tech geek, so that's natural. Without a working prototype or technology, there is no high-tech startup, so for most high-tech startups engineering is pretty important, obviously. By now I … Continue reading The Most Important Executive Besides the CEO.
Enterprise IT Infrastructure has probably the most disciplined budgeting process and most rigorous procurement department. Not that they are always on target, but they have a very clear understanding of the different buckets, ROI, impact on operations, and necessary multi-vendor management. Enterprise IT infrastructure organizations know the percentage their enterprise wants to spend on IT … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: IT Infrastructure.
Talk about burying the lead: "The competitive strength of Tesla is not going to be the car; it's going to be the factory," Musk said. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/02/tesla-loses-another-675-million-in-q4-its-biggest-quarterly-loss-yet/ Car manufacturers have known that for years (though some seemed to have forgotten about it) If you ever toured the factory floor of BMW in Munich, you know how … Continue reading Production, not Product, as Competitive Strength
Short answer: Don't. Don't worry about your industry focus (yet), unless you are clearly a vertical solution for a very specific industry; unless you and your first sales team only have experience in selling into one specific industry and have no other contacts and you are determined to keep only this team for a while … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Industry Focus.