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TLDR GraphicYet another “Lessons Learned” post from a first-time entrepreneur.  Except this one is incredibly wise beyond his years.  The insights are so in depth and valuable that even the most seasoned serial entrepreneur would be envious. The sad part is, since the article is not one of those pithy “10 secrets to building a successful venture” posts, it will be lost on the typical reader seeking quick-fix advice.

 

Worthless Advice?

I have a deep cynicism when reading first-time entrepreneurs pontificating

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startups_by_the_numbers-thumbSome interesting “numbers” on “startups”.

The term ‘startup’ is used too broadly to have any meaning . Many of the numbers really apply to small businesses  – which is not synonymous with ‘startup’.

And, I hesitate to call these statistics or data because they are subject to much interpretation. For instance, this infographic perpetuates the meme that 50% of new businesses fail within 3 years. This is a gross generalization. 50% may not exist after 3 years, but this also may be due to other factors such as the owner retiring and closing the business.

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staff-com-cost-to-run-startup-thumbA rather interesting infographic/analysis on the annual cost to run a small startup , in different cities around the world (assuming your startup is at the point where it can actually start paying developers):

Staff.com is based on the idea of hiring employees from all around the world.  And we’re a startup. So we thought it would be interesting to compare the costs of a startup including a small office and hiring 2 developers and 1 designer from different cities and countries:

 

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18-Mistakes-That-Kill-Startups-THUMBInfluential and iconic venture capitalist and entrepreneurial though leader Paul Graham, known for his epic essays on entrepreneurship, recently penned an interesting one listing the 18 mistakes that kill startups.

While I wholeheartedly agree that there are many fundamental mistakes that can derail (or even kill) a startup’s chances for success, not all 18 of these are true “startup” mistakes.  Mistakes like “Poor Investor Management” assumes that your venture is far enough along that you have investors who need managing.  Like all advice – these 18 cannot be taken at face value.  Mr. (Dr., actually) Graham cites “Obstinacy” as a top-5 mistake –

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Prior to the dotcom era and the age of Facebook and iPads, it was the lemonade stand or newspaper route that was quintessential first job of the future entrepreneur. Certainly these jobs instill (or at least expose) the essential entrepreneurial qualities of discipline and persistence while offering a daily lesson in dealing with competition, business ownership, cash flow, and direct interactions with customers.

Today’s budding entrepreneur is probably more likely to be working on the next great iPhone app or social sharing sensation – all formidable tech pursuits that have a chance to reach millions of users or be acquired by Facebook.

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An excellent overview of the kinds of funding available for entrepreneurs (startup funding). But this can be very misleading in a way: The “money available” and amounts invested absolutely do not reflect the likelihood of attracting funding from each source – nor do the amounts indicate how effective the funding source is towards the success of the startup.

Startup Funding Infographic

 

SWOT Analysis is not just a B-school exercise.  It is indeed a valuable tool for entrepreneurs – whether for internal planning and “reality check” exercises, or as a way of explaining the new venture’s prospects to investors and other external stakeholders.

SWOT1What is SWOT?

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats.

SWOT analysis is a methodological tool designed to help workers and companies optimize performance, maximize potential, manage competition, and minimize risk.

SWOT is about making better decisions, both large and small. It can help you determine the efficacy of something as small as introducing a new product or service or something as large as a merger or acquisition. Again, SWOT is a method that, once mastered, can only enhance performance.

The Essential Guide to SWOT Analysis is a well-researched, well-written, and well-rounded guide co-authored by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille from the University of California.

Give it a read!