Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'm a start up guy


I'm a start up guy.

I don't know how to make you rich. I have no idea what business you should start, though I do know something about how you should start. I don't know how to get you into fancy cars.

I don't know jack about managing companies with more than a dozen or so people involved as owners. I don't know jack about taking companies public.

I do know about starting businesses. Small, cool enterprises. Ones that help you and help the planet. Most importantly, ones that keep going. I'm a start up guy. I know how to make startups smarter and more sustainable.

I've been involved in more startups over the past 30 years than I can probably remember. Here's what I've learned: you'd damn well better get smart about what makes them fail.

The startups I've been involved with have been across many industries and markets, non profits and for-profits (and those that hoped to be profitable). Some ideas were dumb. some were great. Some were done with toxic partners, some done with partners and friends I'd give my life for.

I've started new businesses as a sole proprietor. I've started partnerships. I've started LLCs. I've started S Corps and I've started C Corps. Most have been done with owner's money. In recent years, I've worked within the start up system to raise outside money. I've been through angel investment rounds. I've been through venture capital investment rounds. I've raised outside money for our manufacturing business during the worst recession in manufacturing history since the Great Depression. I've been blessed by magical mentors who’d been through many startups of their own. They will forever be my insiders. I've set up outside boards of directors to help run our start ups. I've also squeezed hands with my wife, best friend and business partner during vicious cash flow meltdowns.

This isn't easy, but it's much better than not trying. Are you going to wait for a better life to come in the mail? Nothing happens until you take a shot. My point is to aim carefully.

I'm going to use this blog to talk over ways to help get your enterprise started smarter. I want to help you aim it.

I want your new business to keep going. For your sake and for all the rest of us.

Once you figure out how to get rich, famous and laid, eMail me.


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