Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Viewing all posts by Martin Zwilling

user Martin Zwilling Founder and CEO,
Startup Professionals

Martin is a veteran startup mentor, executive, blogger, author, tech professional, and angel investor. He is the Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to startup founders and small business owners.

How To Build Startup Credibility Before Your Brand

With the estimated 510 million live websites at last year-end, and 280,000 new ones being added every day, the biggest challenge for an entrepreneur is to get found, and get some credibility for a new startup. I can attest from experience that publishing a regular blog to properly showcase your brand value, even before you have it, is a most

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How True Entrepreneurs Make Themselves Accountable

Everyone seems to like the aspect of being an entrepreneur that goes with “being your own boss” and “able to do things my way.” But sometimes they forget that this kind of freedom comes with a price of personal accountability. Accountability means “the buck stops here,” and “all the failures are mine.”

Too many people seem to do whatever it

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High Performing Virtual Teams Have 8 Key Attributes

Almost every startup is a virtual team these days, since most don’t start out with dedicated office space, and some or all members of the team work part-time or out of their own home. It’s a small world, so these team members may not even be in the same town, or the same country. Outsourcing is just another extension of

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How To Turn Friction Into Value In Your Startup

Entrepreneurship is not a job for the Lone Ranger. Every startup requires building and maintaining effective relationships with people, including partners, team members, customers, and investors. That means giving and asking for feedback, and learning from it, especially negative feedback.

“Friction” is feedback mixed with emotion or drama, making it all the more difficult to sort out the value. There

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10 Ways To Kill A Growing Business With Bad Hires

Every startup with any traction quickly reaches a point where they need to hire employees to grow the business. Unfortunately, this always happens when pressures are the highest, and business processes are ill-defined. At this point you need superstars and versatile future executives, yet your in-house hiring processes and focus are at their weakest.

The result is a host of

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Customer Engagement Is Key To Branding Yourself

The days are gone when a techie or a genius could build things in his garage and customers would find and buy the product, based purely on the “wow factor” of the technology. New technologies are everywhere today. People have seen so much that they are blasé, or actually fear pure technology. They want a personable brand, before they will

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Don’t Forget Grants If You Need Early Seed Money

In the US, many entrepreneurs see grants as “free money,” since they are not loans and don’t have to be repaid. A grant is not an equity investment, so the entrepreneur doesn’t have to give up a stake in the company either. Typically they can be used to fund product development and commercialization that would otherwise require outside investors.

A

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7 Steps To Making A Great Entrepreneur Impression

Entrepreneurs are all about firsts, and the most important is you making a great first impression – on investors, customers, new team members, and strategic partners. Poor first impressions can be avoided, but I’m amazed at the number of unnecessary mistakes I see at those critical first introductions, presentations, and meetings.

The key message here is “preparation.” People who think

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Don’t Let Investors Conclude Your Startup Is A Hobby

Even when your startup is a one-man show and lots of fun, a “business” needs some discipline and controls to keep it from being defined as a hobby by investors, and assure some financial return. Like it or not, you are now entering the dreaded realm of specifying and documenting “formal business processes.” The right question is “What is the

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10 C-Level Positions That Are Red Flags For Funding

It’s your startup, so you can give early partners any title you want, but be aware of potential investor and peer implications. VCs and Angel investors like to see a startup that is running lean and mean, with no more than three or four of the conventional C-level or VP titles. More executives, or other more creative titles are seen

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