Volume 3 of this collection, “Starting a Company”, consists of four chapters that address various issues and aspects that a would-be entrepreneur will probably need to consider. Anyone first starting down this path will probably take issue with the overall title phrase of the articles in this collection: “Easy to Start; Hard to Run”. The path from a company’s first inception to actual operation is far from easy. However, once operations have begun, most entrepreneurs will think back to their early days and how they had control over all aspects of the business and, seemingly, had control of their destiny. They are likely to say: “It was easy back then.” However, during the startup battle, those words are never said!
Once operations begin, customer demands, competitive threats, the constant need for revenue, employee issues and cash management will consume every waking hour of the entrepreneur who has transitioned to become the CEO. All of these operational subjects are covered in other volumes in this collection.
Experiencing those operational issues is a high-class problem for an entrepreneur. It indicates that the entrepreneur was able to START the company. Realistically, most would-be entrepreneurs never get to that stage. Instead, they stumble along the way. In most cases, they do not stumble due to their lack of commitment. Instead, a host of individual issues seem to constantly appear, impeding their progress. Those issues are precisely the subjects of the articles in this Volume.
After reviewing the titles of the articles in this Volume, the reader may think that a more appropriate name for it would be “Startup Challenges”. Objectively, a strong argument could be made for that name. In fact, attempting to address all the issues discussed in the articles at one time would probably provide enough discouragement that a would-be entrepreneur may never even start! Couple that perspective with the facts presented in the articles related to “Principle One: Stay in Business”, an individual may indeed decide to not even try. However, the vision of success and the encouragement from others helps thousands of individuals take the leap and give it a try every year.
The best way to keep a positive attitude and focus on success is to move through the process one step at a time. The chapters in this Volume have been prepared to facilitate that approach.
At the first mention of starting a company, friends and relatives will begin talking about Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, Dropbox, Google, and other billion-dollar startups now referred to as Unicorns. They will also bring up terms such as venture capital, angel investors, valuation, stock options, equity, funding rounds, crowdfunding, patents, trade secrets, Shark Tank, and a host of other terms. Once past the initial hype discussions, the reality sets in and the list of tasks seems to grow without bound. One trait that all entrepreneurs share is that they never need to worry about not having things to worry about! Such is their chosen life!
The articles in this Volume cover many of the challenges that an entrepreneur may face and offer some guidance as to how to address them. Many of the articles in this Volume could have been placed in different volumes in the collection. Most of the articles apply to existing companies and their normal operations. They also apply to companies that are launching new products or services or changing direction. As with all of the articles in this entire collection, they can be read in any order desired with no need to start at the beginning of a volume, chapter, or even a section. However, to keep from being totally overwhelmed, it is probably wise for a would-be entrepreneur to read the articles, or at least the article abstracts, in the order presented. Consider each article sequentially, resolve them, and then continue to move down the path.
Volume Chapters and Summaries
- Opportunity Identification
There are many issues to consider before taking the plunge and moving from the visionary stage to the action stage of making the idea a reality.
- Approaching Investors
In all cases, it will take money to start a company. Those funds could be from the entrepreneur themselves, friends and family, or many other sources. Independent of who provides the funds, each investor is entitled to and expects some form of return on their investment. Understanding funding options and developing the correct expectations should be considered early in the company creation phase.
- Pitching the Opportunity
A carefully crafted explanation of what you intend to do that can stand close scrutiny by independent, non-emotional, and objective outsiders is always in everyone’s best interest. Entrepreneurs can easily lose their objectivity due to their passion and belief in what they are doing.
- Beginning Execution
Once the business is funded, the real work begins! Overnight, the tasks that require “immediate” attention seems to grow without bound. Prioritizing issues, establishing clear goals. and milestones is essential to avoid inefficient and unnecessary thrashing.