Focus – Focus – Focus

August 28, 2010

A big challenge for companies going through their start-up phase is "FOCUS".  I was recently with a client. They are early start-up. Their product is built and they have won their few first customers

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Youthful Entrepreneur: An Oxymoron?

August 23, 2010

I read an interesting article in Newsweek (The Golden Age of Innovation) that argues that "new research has found that older workers are more likely to innovate than their under-35 counterparts." Contrary to stereotypes, the most successful entrepreneurs are not the 20-something tech savvy, but rather the 40+mature, experienced engineer. In fact, "the highest rate

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How I hire Sales People

August 18, 2010

A CEO of a start-up recently asked me how I hire software salespeople.  I have a simple rule that has served me well. I look for three things in a salesperson's resume. Experience and successful track record selling software. Selling software is different from other high tech.  Your product is "selling a vision" more than

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Managing Risk in your Go-to-Market Strategy

If you haven’t read Howard Gwin’s blog on Digital Puck regarding VC’s and start-ups in Canada, I would recommend that you do. It has some powerful arguments about how VC’s and entrepreneurs should look at building great companies. Howard also uses a model for assessing risk on go-to-market strategies. He looks at company growth opportunities

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When is it time to fire?

August 9, 2010

I recently met a CEO of a start-up. He was describing his business to me and that even though he had hired a Sales leader, he was being dragged into every sales deal in order to close it. His sales leader had been hired to find & close deals, create & grow a sales force and

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A glimpse into the VC world

August 8, 2010

In sales, a good salesperson learns what motivates their customer's behaviour, including how they are personally incented and rewarded in their job. When negotiating any deal, they must understand what is "in it" for the other side, both at a business and personal level. They also learn to speak the customer's language and acronyms. Yet,

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Teach me, Coach me, Tell Me

July 29, 2010

Early in my management career, my bosses' boss Bert taught me about "teach me, coach me, tell me" management.  Bert had been a very successful sales rep but as a rookie sales manager, he was failing. He was struggling to make quota and his team was not happy working for him. He had been an aggressive sales

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Senior Talent – The Art of a Great Hire

July 27, 2010

Howard Gwin  and I developed a Leadership presentation a few years ago. We argued about one slide. Howard's assertion was that when hiring senior level talent into your business, a world class executive's batting average will be 400. In other words, only 4 out of 10 hires will be good or great hires. From my

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Two Economies

July 26, 2010

I was talking with a colleague recently. We are both consultants working with senior management of emerging tech companies and both of us are busier than we have ever been. It has been like this through most of 2009 and continues into 2010. This isn't the first time that I have had this conversation or

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Looking at your Target Market through a Different lens

I recently attended Communitech's Tech Leadership Conference 2010 to hear Clayton Christensen, author of Innovator's Dilemma speak and have been applying his principle to a client's business. Christensen argues that new technologies will disrupt and defeat existing companies when they enter the market and fulfill demand by either serving a market that is currently over-served by

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