If you are taking the leap from corporate, SERIOUSLY CONSIDER building a B2B

I was in a startup pitch event some months ago attended by a good number of people, a lot of which had corporate day jobs. I was listening intently to the ideas being pitched, and I jotted each of them on my tablet to get some sort of idea as to what exactly people wanted to get into. Almost EVERY idea pitched was a B2C (business to consumer: a business which offers products directly to consumers). A good number of them were social networking sites. A good number of them were location-based apps. A good number of them were online marketplaces. In fact, a couple of people thought of exactly the same idea. This is all well and good, of course - it's very good to think big. Why not create … [Read more...]

Insecurity Blanket: No, Your Job Isn’t Safe

As an "HR" guy, I frequently get my share of resumes of people who want to get "placed." A good number of these are people who want to explore other options because they've grown tired of the their current company. A smaller number of these would be from people who were PUSHED OUT of their jobs because of "rightsizing," "downsizing," or "declared redundant." The very interesting trend is that the last 2 years, I've been getting more and more resumes from GOOD people who were pushed out of their jobs - highly productive and skilled people who perform well. I even get resumes BY THE BATCH from HR friends in the industry who need help in facilitating successful placements for people they've … [Read more...]

6 Startup Lessons We Can Learn From Jeremy Lin

I started writing this a few hours after Jeremy Lin hit a dramatic, buzzer-beating three pointer over Toronto's Jose Calderon to win the game for the New York Knicks. This latest episode caps off an incredible two weeks where Lin seemingly appeared out of nowhere in launching himself into worldwide public consciousness, averaging 27 points, 10 assists, and 2 steals, in leading his team to an improbable 6-0 record. The world is just eating up this story because Lin represents the ultimate underdog story- he was basically ignored in the league for two years, until his current New York stint, where his beleaguered coach had no choice but to put him as a last resort. He promptly responded … [Read more...]

The ONE Thing To Focus On When You Start Your Company

We are smart people. So before we started our startup, we thoroughly thought about our business strategy . Perhaps we drafted a comprehensive business plan which outlined our specific market and how to leverage our competitive advantages. Armed with our plan, we started. We marketed and began selling. We talked to our customers. Here is where it always gets interesting. When we offer our product, a lot of times, the consumer will ask us for something else. Another way to use our product. An altered product, perhaps. Or a service related to what we are offering, but not exactly what we are offering. When I was selling our HR technology products in our startup STORM, I was asked several … [Read more...]

6 Tips for Developing a Startup Without Quitting Your Day Job, Part 2

(This is the second post in a two-part series. Part one can be found here.) Here are three more crucial tips in getting your startup to work while maintaining a day job. 4) Organize a STARTUP POWER WEEK I got this idea from my friend Elmer, who  works fulltime in a service firm and manages to have time for a couple of startups. What I've seen Elmer do TWICE already is to plan and execute a STARTUP POWER WEEK. Here are the steps: a) Take a 5-day Vacation Leave 2-3 months in advance. Of course, a vacation is the LAST THING on Elmer's mind, in fact the opposite is more appropriate. The nine days he will free up is the startup equivalent of what Santa Claus does on Christmas Eve - … [Read more...]

REPOST STICKY: 6 Tips for Developing a Startup Without Quitting Your Day Job, Part 1

For a lot of us, taking an immediate startup leap can be a daunting task - as much as possible, we want to remain practical and mitigate risk. Before diving in, we want to ensure that the startup can sustain our family's needs. Fortunately, it IS possible to create a startup while holding on to your day job. Again, the definition of what a startup is crucial here. While I find that it is possible to START a startup on a part-time basis, I would argue that it is impossible to SIGNIFICANTLY GROW one while being attached to a day job. Take note that we are talking about startups here. It is entirely doable to pull off creating a small business like a food stand franchise or an internet … [Read more...]

With great FREEDOM comes great responsibility

When I took the leap to fulltime startup founder back in 2008, the very first thing I felt was total liberation. Suddenly, after a solid decade of bosses, schedules, rules, and policies, there was...beautiful freedom. I could do whatever I wanted anytime I wanted! The first few months of this were so liberating. I would go to the office late, work from home, or take long lunch breaks - without any immediate consequences. If you are a stickler for structure and rules - then this would probably be a hellish experience. If you are a bit of a rebel, like me - then this is heaven. I make the rules. I answer to myself. Of course, I'd love to tell you that it ends happily ever after, … [Read more...]

Why you should build an ARMY of mentors

No startup is an island. Since independence is a pretty common entrepreneurial trait, going at it alone becomes a mistake that's easy to fall into for a lot of startup founders. This is a mistake. Listen carefully. Developing an honest-to-goodness startup is a difficult chore. Most startups still fail within 5 years of being founded. You need all the help you can get. When you get started, one of things you should always remember is to develop your support structure. You need mentors. Notice I used the plural form there. It's easy to think that you have to go looking out for one mentor. Do more. Get an army of great ones. This ALWAYS pays off. Expect not only to receive wisdom … [Read more...]

The Crucial Art Of Momentum Management, part deux

In the previous post, we talked about managing YOUR momentum in the startup process, about how we have to strike when the iron is hot and take advantage of our energy. But what happens now when you're now working with a team of either founders or employees? Things become a bit trickier because now the startup exists outside of you. It now exists in your co-founders/employees, as well as the product you are now presumably working on. Identifying Momentum Shifts First of all, you have to be able to learn to READ how your momentum is. Is there an impasse in activity? Is output slower? Sometimes the signs are subtler: has a co-founder's energy dwindled? How does undergoing your … [Read more...]

The Crucial Art of Momentum Management

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."  - Brutus (in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare) This is a line from my favorite Shakespeare play, where Brutus urges his comrades to seize a fleeting opportunity in an armed conflict. Ships tend to leave ports during high tide, so as to go along with the flow. Brutus is basically telling his mates to seize the day while the tide is high, because that opportunity will come and go. Of course, seizing the day is basically the mantra of any entrepreneur - I'm not here to expound on that. What I want to expand … [Read more...]