Key takeaway - Growth comes from building a "platform" - a business connecting people in a way that benefits all sides. That lesson from successful tech companies applies to all businesses.
According to the Kauffman Foundation's annual Index of Startup Activity, 2015 saw new business creation up for the second year in a row.
Key takeaways: Listen to your customers, respond quickly, make meaningful improvements based on their feedback.
Interesting comment on the changing role of the CFO - Key takeaways are:
- Executes the CEO's vision
- Knows how to build scaleable systems and processes
- Understands the financial, legal and regulatory environment
From noted marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki - The Only 10 Slides You Need in a Pitch.
A couple of thoughts for early stage companies (and for everyone) about how to pitch for something (especially money):
- Have a plan.
- Know your audience and understand the criteria that will drive their decision-making.
- Be brief and to the point.
Not everyone has the necessary expertise in communicating with investors. A pitch has to hit the points that are important to them. That's where it's helpful to seek assistance from someone whose been there before.
Interesting perspective from Mark Suster at Upfront Ventures in LA. For an early stage company, it's important to focus on stabilizing the business and reaching the next level. Once that happens, it's a good time to re-assess and look at the big picture. Also, Mark provides valuable insight on recent startup success stories - decreasing the price of a good or service while increasing the market often leads to significant and rapid growth.
PitchBook Data's analysis of trends in VC financing for 1H2016 is out. VC financing remains robust, but is concentrated in the mega financing rounds for companies like Uber. For early stage companies, financing is still available, but becoming more limited. Early stage funders are more selective about the companies they back, looking for solid management, and a good fit in a good market.
With the pullback in early stage funding, it's even more important for entrepreneurs to consider all available sources of funding and not automatically default to the VC funding model.
With increased scrutiny of venture capital and private equity funds, it's more important than ever to make sure that a company's financial statements are right, and that systems are in place to demonstrate that to outsiders. For a growth company, it's never too early.