Startup Insights Forum Overview

Quick Summary: Share and solicit opinions in an informal atmosphere from others to avoid costly mistakes.


Sharing experiences and insights with a diverse group of individuals can help everyone in the entrepreneur/startup ecosystem.  Informal, round-table discussions on specific subjects can help entrepreneurs and their partners, coaches, and mentors avoid costly mistakes that otherwise could be fatal.

The Startup Insights Forum program, sponsored by and held at the Alpharetta Georgia Technology Innovation Center, are interactive discussion sessions on a selected, pre-announced subject.  The Innovation Center is a shared working space for technology startups in Alpharetta, GA.  It is sponsored by the City of Alpharetta and several high technology companies with offices in and around Alpharetta.  The sessions are led by Tom Berger (author of the CxO-Atlas. com website) with active participation from all others encouraged.  Sessions are held on every other Wednesday from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM.  The session topics are announced in advance. There is no charge for the sessions, and all are welcome.  Attendance varies from eight to eighteen individuals.

The attendees have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences including first-time entrepreneurs to seasons startup veterans, coaches and service providers.  They all share one thing in common:  interest in all phases of the entrepreneur/startup ecosystem.  The open-dialogue, informal format provides all participants with the opportunity to share their experiences and ask for guidance from others.

Forum subjects are summaries from the content contained in the website.  The website is a collection of over 610 short articles covering a wide range of subjects for entrepreneurs and company managers.  Typically, a two-sided, one-page handout is provided to participants at each Forum Session.  The handouts consist of outline notes on the topic and a list of relevant articles from the CxO-Atlas website that may be of follow-up interest to the participants. Occasionally, a PowerPoint presentation is used.

The session handouts are available as individual PDF files from the CxO-Atlas website.  The handouts are in the form of bulleted notes that may be of limited value to the reader.  During the sessions, the bulleted notes were used to prompt discussions among the participants.  The session topics are divided into four categories and are accessed through the four website articles listed below.  Each article contains a brief, one paragraph summary of the topic.


Article 8.041002

Forum Topics: Company Focus

2020 Trends to Think About

New technologies represent new opportunities and new obstacles.  Think hard about how these trends will impact your business -- and they will!

Dancing For the Stars

Many entrepreneurs spend an inordinate amount of time trying to impress investors instead of building their business.

Entrepreneur's Four Horsemen

The four most critical areas that foil entrepreneurs’ plans are the lack of focus, execution., cash, and prospects.

Force Multiplication: Get Others to Help Carry Your Load

Invest in your core competency; rely on others for everything else.

Movin’ On Up

It is natural to want to sell to larger, more sophisticated prospects, but new issues and considerations will, most likely, be required.

One Entrepreneur, Two MVPs, and Three Phases of Discovery

A Most Value Player that is an objective mentor is equally important as a Minimum Viable Product.

Article 8.041003

Forum Topics: Internal Issues

Attorneys: Necessary or Evil

Relying on attorneys for (only) the "right" things is critical.  Deciding what is "right" is hard.

Avoidable Pitfalls

Most business landmines are visible, take the time to look for them before it is too late.

Don’t Hire Your Double

Hire your opposite to address areas that are not your strong suit.

Good Intentions, But Bad Advice

Make sure that you listen to people that have direct, applicable experience only.

To Scale or Not to Scale: That is THE Question

Early on, think about what would happen if your business grew ten times what it is today.

Unforeseen Consequences When Others Join the Party

There are many new communications challenges as you begin to grow.

What if They Say Yes

Can you deliver what you promised now that you received the giant order?

Article 8.041004

Forum Topics: Investor Considerations

Evaluating a Company

There are multiple factors that need to be objectively reviewed to determine a company's potential.

Follow the Money: LP & VC Returns and VC Deal Terms

Understanding VC firms and Limited Partner return requirements can help an entrepreneur develop an appropriate funding strategy -- or not.

Music to an Investor's Ears

There are a handful of statements that will turn a potential investor on or off.

Pitches: Home Runs or Strike Outs

Understanding who you are presenting to and what you want to accomplish is critical to success.

Sour Notes to an Investor’s Ears

There are several statements that a company can make that will instantaneously turn off an investor.

There Are Only Three Numbers that Count

It's all about how much cash and when you reach cash flow breakeven and the revenue ramp.

Why the “Why”

Why is it important to explain why you started your business.

Article 8.041005

Forum Topics: Sales and Revenue

Are You Truly the Intergalactic Leader

Be realistic in your claims; prospects will quickly determine the truth.

Delay Hiring a Sales Rep

Entrepreneur and new CEOs need to stay very close to prospects to get unfiltered information.

Delayed Sales: There is Always a Reason

Capturing and understanding sales impediments helps to minimize or avoid them in the future.

There is Always an Outcome

There is an outcome for every prospect you pursue.  Understand each one.

What Others Care About

Understand what is important to prospects -- it may be different than what is important to you.

It Starts with Referenceable Revenue

Until customers actual buy from you, everything else has been speculation about what you thought they would do or you hoped what they would do.

Scalable Revenue: The Next Step

Referenceable Revenue validated the business, but as you expand “more the same” will not be sufficient.  Fulfilling volume demand is a challenge.

 Planned Future Topics


Focus is Necessary but NOT Sufficient

Once focused, it is all about the details; you must "Sweat the Small Stuff."

Tiny Goals for Maximum Results

Yearly slips happen one day at a time.  Set very short-term goals.

Without Focus, You WILL Fail

The number one reason that new companies fail is that they try to address too many opportunities.

Junior High School Kids Know that They Know All the Answers, Some Entrepreneurs Do Too

Some entrepreneurs totally focus on their vision clouds the advice given by others.

M/A Success or Failure is Determined Before the Deal is Done

M/A success is based on internal communications.  Someone will fill any voids -- it should be you that fills those voids.

You Want Money In, They Want Their Money Out

Investors invest to make money; entrepreneurs invest to build a company -- there is a difference.

Build a Wall Between Suspects and Prospects

Be selective in which prospects you pursue; your time is your most precious resource.

Improve Your Foresight Not Your Hindsight

Focus on why you might miss your forecast -- you probably know now; then take pre-emptive action.

Rifle or a Shotgun, Which One to Use

Decide if you want to shoot into the herd or go after a trophy shot -- either can be correct.


Article Number : 8.041001   

A Handy Reference Guide for Executives and Managers at All Levels.

9 Volumes 42 Chapters ~689 Articles

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The weight of your world does not have to be on your shoulders.
The articles in this site will help to lift that weight from your shoulders.
Pick an article similar to how you pick a route on a page of an atlas.
There is no need to look at other articles, just as you ignore other pages in an atlas.
It is easy to start a business but it is hard to run. Bumps and unexpected sharp turns in the road are always present.
Others have traveled the road before you; learn from them. This site may help.