On Links for Startups & Entrepreneurs
With the advent of the Internet, it is no longer the case that we are missing out on information. We now have the opposite problem of having massive amounts of information of varying quality scattered across different websites, podcasts and other venues available via the Internet. Having access to everything can often paralyze us. It’s not useful unless it’s curated or specific pieces of information provided to us right when we need it.
It’s hard to know when someone needs what information without any interaction, but when I get questions from people considering a startup or in early stages of one, there are some set things I find myself mentioning. I’ve been keeping a tally of these links so I’m able to give out generic guidance and pointers quickly.
Perhaps this list would be useful to others, and by sharing it, the list will improve with feedback from others. Many of the resources listed are Silicon Valley-focused, but many of the localized offerings still have “resource” type sections on their sites that have good information.
- List of lists: Collected by Founder Institute, an organization which hosts educational programs to launch startups, containing links sorted by stages of company and types of resources
- List of accelerators: Collected by Kauffman Foundation. Even if you are not applying to accelerators, entrepreneurs can learn by what they are looking for by reviewing their application requirements and formats
- Fundamentals of Finance: Many tech founders without business background fail to see the importance of having a basic understanding of finance. Think of finance as one of the key tools to measure the productivity, efficiency, and growth of the startup. The more comfortable we feel about the language of finance, the more command we will have about operation of the business (and can speak with investors with confidence because you can start to think like them). This “Art of Startup Finance” is a series of videos sponsored by Kauffman Foundation delivered by Bill Reichert of Garage Ventures. He’s succeeded in boiling down finance to the bare essentials for a busy startup entrepreneur.
- Crafting the Pitch: Speaking of Bill Reichert, his “Getting to Wow” presentation takes a different look at putting together a startup pitch. He encourages us to throw out the blind following of formula (state the problem, describe the solution, why yours is better, who the team is, etc.) by focusing on the goal of the pitch: to woo the investor (or the customer). His method to appeal to the brain, heart, and the gut, however, is not new: he has resurrected the concepts of appealing to ethos, pathos and logos, Aristotle’s modes of persuasion outlined in Rhetoric in a manner appropriate to entrepreneurs.
- Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make: I don’t care for some of Paul Graham’s recent rhetoric but his list of common mistakes startups make is on point.
- Legal and Other Resources: Some law firms and other service providers catering to startups tend to have useful links. While many focus on blog posts that boost their own firm’s name, Artiman’s resource site has pragmatic information on handling board meeting, templates for offer letters and other documents required in the course of operating a business.
- Business Plan Templates: For folks struggling to get started on a business plan, try BizGym’s system. I like that you can try it out for free (ability to print requires fee), because it helps you think through your business.
What are your favorite links (and tools)?
My thanks to Bill Reichert of Garage Ventures, Tim Dick of Startup Capital Ventures, and others who continue to be a resource of resources.
Photo: Colorful peppers at the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building, San Francisco