After 20 years: Updating the Berkus Method of valuation
NOVEMBER 4, 2016
Well, it had to happen.
How to think like a growth CEO
DECEMBER 15, 2016
Growth CEO’s differ from those who merely station–keep their way into the status quo, protecting the enterprise by reducing risk and cost – without creating a vision and action plan for growth. Here is a way to test yourself with a tool useful for any leader seeking to create positive change.
Startups: What are your odds for success?
MARCH 9, 2017
Well, the numbers don’t lie, even if there are several sources of these statistics. Starting a company is HARD – in so many ways. And risky too. I read several years ago, that the average startup restaurant lasts only about a year.
Five ways we are surviving long term
DECEMBER 8, 2016
Dave’s note: This week we invite long-time CEO of Quicksilver Software to respond to our question: “How have you remained relevant in the gaming software business over so many years?”
The lion and the ant: A managerial lesson
JUNE 9, 2016
This story has been making the rounds lately, and I confess that our research cannot find the source. So, with thanks to whomever created this great little parable, here it is: “Every day, a small Ant arrived at work early and started work immediately, she produced a lot and she was happy.
Hire for talent. Rent for experience.
JULY 14, 2016
Want the best way to create your core competency quickly and inexpensively? Think like a startup, with little resources, a limited window of time, and few dollars to spend on expensive experts.
APRIL 30, 2015
What a title. Of course money motivates. But there is more to it then this. Salaries or hourly wages must be within reasonable limits set by the industry and matched by the competition, both regionally and for the same job classification.
The seven attributes of a highly successful start–up CEO
MARCH 24, 2016
Dave’s note: This week we welcome guest author, David Friedman, to tell us about his favorite startup CEO, and his take after interviewing her – asking for her list of attributes for startup success. . By David Friedman.
Don’t go on a phishing trip!
JUNE 16, 2016
Dave’s note: Our guest author this week is Kevin McDonald, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Alvaka Networks, a network services and security firm in Irvine, California.
The best advice startups will never follow
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Let me tell you a few short hair-raising stories of entrepreneurs who have raised money and regretted it later. Here are some rules that entrepreneurs almost always ignore to their future peril.
How to avoid “death by meeting.”
SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
Imagine yourself with a calendar requiring you to be in six meetings in a day. Day after day. How long would it take to induce you to rethink your use of time – and that of the others sitting (or standing) beside you?
It’s what you ask, not what you know.
OCTOBER 27, 2016
A friend recently told me a story that had nothing to do with business, but unintentionally had a great lesson for all of us. He had asked his arborist if he could move a mature tree from one part of his property to another – to make room for an addition to his home. “Yes,”
Premature scaling kills businesses.
MAY 21, 2015
Venture capitalists sometimes make an error in directing their portfolio company CEOs to push resources to the limit and scale the business to immense size quickly, all to seize market share.
Eye of the needle? Why worry over your bottlenecks.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2016
Think for a minute whether there is any process or person that could be classed as the eye of the needle in your organization. Is there anything, process or person, that stalls the flow of work from start to finish?
How do you focus your team for action?
NOVEMBER 3, 2016
How do you get your team to focus and move forward effectively? A fellow CEO recently told me of her method of assuring positive movement within her team.
A simple test: “Are we managing like jerks?”
SEPTEMBER 8, 2016
Are we who issue orders to associates or employees ever acting as jerks? We’d never like to think so, or we wouldn’t do it in the first place. If someone is saying “This is confusing to me” when you’ve given an instruction or order, there are a number of ways to respond.
The “drop dead” question for a customer survey
AUGUST 21, 2014
Sean Ellis, the marketing guru behind DropBox and other successes, advises clients that “The most important question on a survey is, ‘How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?’” He goes on to quantify the response.
Big data: Information is NOT knowledge
FEBRUARY 4, 2016
Say that you have a log file of every contact to your website. Or that you are a cell phone company with a multi–billion record log file of every call made from every location to every number dialed using your network. You can accurately state that you have big data at your fingertips.
AUGUST 6, 2015
This piece of wisdom came from Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of Amazon, during a board meeting for one of the companies where he sits as board member. Jeff asked the question “Is there anything big or small, which is working better than you expected? Is there anywhere we could double down?”.
Nail it; then scale it.
JUNE 2, 2015
So your business has begun to take off. You’ve figured out your channels of distribution, pricing model and how to support your growing list of customers. Don’t be alarmed by this next statement. That’s relatively easy.
Fire yourself. Rehire a new you.
MARCH 12, 2015
When a new CEO or manager is hired into a company, for a while lots of energy flows from the top and new ideas seem to be generated daily.
You are watched more closely than you think.
FEBRUARY 5, 2015
Ever had a manager above you who said one thing and did another? At least once? Or in a pattern of repeats? Well, you’re not alone. Did you think less of that person for it? Would you follow that manager to the ends of the earth?
Drive your recurring revenues.
JUNE 4, 2015
This week, our guest post is by David Steakley, a past President of the Houston Angel Network, and a reformed management consultant. David is an active angel investor, and manages several angel funds in Texas. . I have a positive fetish for recurring revenue.
Reward success and failure. Punish only inaction.
APRIL 9, 2015
Reward failure? That may be a difficult concept for an executive. And there are limits of course. We wouldn’t reward a failure to follow laws, or protect lives, or deliberate endangerment of the company or its people.
Sell when growth is high, even if cash flow is low.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
Dave’s note: Our guest author this week is John Huston, founder of the 300+ member Ohio TechAngel Funds and a past Chairman of both the Angel Capital Association and the Angel Resource Institute. . By John Huston.
Three things you need to have when raising money.
MARCH 20, 2014
Here’s more advice from professional investors for aspiring entrepreneurs. Each of us has a list of things we look for early on when identifying whether we want to go to the next step in analyzing a plan. Come to think of it, these are good for challenging any business plan.
Angels and VCs: Don’t be greedy even if you can.
OCTOBER 1, 2015
Sometimes the end game or sale of the company is not a happy event for the early investors, including the entrepreneur or the founders.
Hugh opportunities do NOT command amazing pre-money valuations.
JUNE 5, 2014
Dave’s note: Popular Bill Payne returns this week with a thoughtful take on valuations. By Bill Payne.
The “inciting incident:” Movie scripts tell us how and when to look for investment.
MARCH 13, 2014
By David Steakley. If you are a screenplay writer, you are familiar with the dogma of the inciting incident.
Both sides must be fair in a term sheet negotiation.
MAY 15, 2014
By Basil Peters. After being an active angel investor for about fifteen years, I realized that many of the discussions I was involved in were virtually identical to ones I’d had many times before. A good example was during the negotiation of a term sheet.
The three legged stool of marketing excellence
JULY 31, 2014
Marketing is a science devised to help drive customers to your door. There are lots of ways to define how to market well, including the four P’s of marketing (1): product, price, promotion and place. This is considered to be the producer-oriented model.
Hire on ability. Fire on fit.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2016
This is not necessarily the way we intend to behave as managers, but our headline reflects the reality of most experiences when viewed in retrospect. We carefully vet the potential hire for experience required.
Who cares about customer loyalty?
NOVEMBER 24, 2016
Repeat customers, raving fans, angry backlashers, commodity shoppers. Oh boy, what a range of loyalty these represent. And in your years, you may have experienced all of these. Here’s another way to look at the ladder to an ideal customer loyalty relationship.
Exit timing and price: WHEN to sell? How long does it take?
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
We are pleased to host Basil Peters, perhaps the best known name in the world of early stage company exits. His groundbreaking book, “Early Exits” has become a textbook for angel groups and entrepreneurs throughout the world.
Be an Adaptive Business Leader.
DECEMBER 31, 2014
The title of this insight happens to be the name of a CEO roundtable organization I belong to, and have been a member since 1989 (Adaptive Business Leader Organization – or ABL).
Create a ten percent profit model.
JULY 24, 2014
Most entrepreneurs, when starting to model their business operations using a spreadsheet, start with expected revenue by month. Then they calculate cost of sales, and then project their expenses, to find the bottom line profit or loss each projected month.
Are you an old school customer marketer?
DECEMBER 10, 2015
“Broadcast the message and they will come!” “Segment my broadcast and I will have better response.” Both of these time–honored methods of reaching our customers have worked for as long as there was print and radio–TV to get the message out.
Timing your exit – Don’t ride it over the top.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
Dave’s note: For the second time, we invite Basil Peters, author of “Early Exits,” back as our guest – to provide more of his insight into the “when” to exit by selling your business.
The five tactical skills of a great executive
DECEMBER 11, 2014
While we are on the subject of great leadership, let’s list the five principal tactical skills of a great leader.
Three qualities of a great leader
DECEMBER 4, 2014
By Dave Berkus. There are lots of ways to measure a great leader. Here are three that should resonate with you as leader and with those who follow you.