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Things to do before starting a business (REDUX)

I’m writing this in response to an article that came out in The Des Moines Register on March 9.

If you click on this link, you’ll probably be asked to click the 7 day trial button which is a pain but a while back the Register decided that they’d wall in their news content and eliminate most subscribers.  But I digress.

I don’t think Marc Ward the author is wrong, nor do I think his article is inaccurate for certain people.  I would just like to add a different perspective.

Bold are Marc’s words.  My responses are italics.

1.  Write it downWriting a business plan is often times the distraction that sucks the time you could using for doing.  Don’t waste time dreaming about getting money from a bank or investors to start.  Build sales.  Sales are your business plan.

2.  Be realistic.  No one cares about your business as much as you.  Dream limitless dreams and tell people about it.  Focus on being the best in a tiny market and don’t get distracted by “.005 of an $8 billion market…or you’re already dead.

3. Ask for enough money.  Don’t ask for money.  If you have sales and a track record people will give you money. 

4. Be introspective.  Most founders are crappy growers of companies (in my experience.)  There’s a limit to how far they can go before they get bored and tired of the details.  You’ll probably want to do something else in a few years too unless you’ve brought in the talent that will take your vision to the next stage.  Know what you suck at and what you hate.  Don’t do those things.

5. Control your ownership.  Be sure you give out ownership in such a way that you can get it back since you’ll probably screw up the hiring process royally for a while when your core team starts to need external help.   Or, give other forms of ownership or opportunity to your team. 

6. Lock up key employees.  Huh?  There’s no such thing in today’s world.  Sure NDA and non-competes are essential.  But the implication of “lock up” is that you are forcing someone to stay.  I’d say that if you’re running the company into the ground and I’m 12 months into a 36 month contract and you’ve locked me up…that you unlock me. 

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