Business Strategy

The Idea Maze

Startups are about speed. Speed beats incumbents. But speed alone rarely wins and it never endures. Truly successful startups—ones that win, grow, and stick around—also require slow, careful thinking. It’s great ideas plus speed that make startups so powerful. A handful of big ideas have become ubiquitous in Startup World as frameworks for understanding that kind of entrepreneurship. These are ideas like Increasing Returns, The Innovator’s Dilemma, software eating the world, reasoning from first principles,…

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Raising Capital: The Ultimate Strategic Guide to Funding Your Startup

Raising capital is a sales job. And for most of us, selling is hard. But with the right approach—the knowledge, tools, and mindset—it doesn’t have to be. Even if you’ve never sold a thing and the idea of it unnerves you, you can learn to sell investors on your idea, your team, and yourself. This is a guide to raising capital drawn from my first- and second-hand experience, and from the experience of veteran investors…

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How to Think about Strategy in Tech and Traditional Markets

There are only two ways to create long-term competitive advantage. Efficiency isn’t one. The goal of strategy in business is creating long-term competitive advantage. A pair of classic articles from 1996 describe two paths to that goal. In traditional industries like manufacturing, retail, and most services long-term competitive advantage can be achieved by skillfully differentiating business activities. In tech, stable advantage requires rapid growth, lock in, and market dominance. Michael E. Porter, in What Is…

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Raising Capital Will Change Your Business

Raising capital will change your business. Take the decision seriously.

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A Machine that Works

Systems are at the heart of every successful, scalable company. Systems should be built in layers, starting as early as possible in your company’s growth. New systems will be added and existing systems improved as your company grows. An owner builds systems to make herself redundant—so the company runs without her. Only when the company has systems in place and becomes a machine that works, will it become an asset and not just a job….

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You Are Using Lawyers Wrong

If you hired a lawyer to produce paperwork—clean up a contract, draft a motion—you’re doing it wrong. Paperwork is a byproduct. Contracts are memorials to the real work. You should hire a lawyer who is an advisor, a strategist, and a tactician. What lawyers really do, and where lawyers really add tremendous value, is in the guidance that helps you decide how to execute. Both over the long term and in a crisis. The contracts,…

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Why We Sign Contracts

Often business owners think they can get by with just a handshake and “an understanding.” But that approach fails to appreciate the true value of a negotiated and written contract.

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