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Advice for Startups

May 15th, 2003 · No Comments

MIT $50K Judges (for the entrepreneurship competition) give advice:

— Know your customers and your customers’ pain instinctively. Be absolutely clear about how you can uniquely mitigate their pain. (Mike Grandinetti, veteran entrepreneur and MIT Sloan School of Management senior lecturer)

— It’s customer, customer, customer. Find a customer for whom your product or service is a “must have” and who will buy again. (Joe Hadzima, Main Street Partners LLC and MIT Sloan lecturer)

— Clearly articulate your intellectual property strategy. Without that you won’t get any money. (Joe Capraro, partner at Testa, Hurwitz, Thibeault)

— If you can avoid raising venture capital, do so. If you need venture capital, raise more than you think you need. Either way, focus on sales and conserve cash. (Rich Kivel, CEO MolecularWare)

— It’s all about cash and cash management these days, as opposed to metrics like eyeballs or number of users. You have to know you’re going to make money today and not try and figure it out later. (Dan Roach, Brown & Brown, veteran entrepreneur)

— Know your competition and find examples of companies that have succeeded doing something similar to what you propose. Do this before writing a plan or trying to raise money. (David Stone, Managing Director, Flagship Ventures)

— Focus on your sustainable advantage: how you’ll respond to competition. That’s what gives a company life for the longer term. (Michael Feinstein, Senior Principal at Atlas Venture)

— Surround yourself with good people and let them do their jobs. Don’t get caught up in control issues. (Jon Gworek, partner at Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton)

— Put your heart behind what you’re doing. If you believe in your product and its value to consumers, down to your soul, you can move people to action. (Dan Hart, CEO, Echo)

— You’ll be facing significant challenges. Get as much qualified advice as you can. (Bob Curtis, president & CEO, Histometrix)

Tags: Entrepreneurship

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