Food For Founders #50

F3 is a FREE weekly newsletter where we find the best concepts on the internet that will move the needle in your business.

Founder Education 

This section is meant to help you grow as a leader, manager, or entrepreneur.

The secret to a great planning process

It’s been too long since I linked to a piece from First Round. This one is extremely timely as we just closed out Q3 of 2019 and begin our strategic planning for the next 3-5 years. 

I really like First Round because not only do they get expert operators to give their advice on fundamental ways that they improve their company’s performance, they also don’t hold back. I feel like you can read each of their posts and you will be 100x the entrepreneur you are right now. A lot of the posts are for when you are past the “I have to pay my bills" stage of venture-building, but they are timeless pieces and reading them once now will give you inspiration for handling difficult situations later on. 

In this article former Product Lead at AirBnB and the former Head of Revenue Strategy at Eventbrite dig into their strategies around strategic planning (yes, that wordplay was intentional). You should definitely check it out so you can hit the ground running in 2020. 

Business Strategy 

This section is designed to help you improve your skills as a strategist and tactician.

Why startups fail to generate revenue quickly

One area that KnowCap really helps founders is with our business development team. At the end of the day, it’s where you focus on your sales process that can really improve or detract from your outreach activity…and that’s assuming that you built the right product, to begin with. 

It’s far too easy to confuse activity with progress, and it’s one of the most effective ways to spin your wheels in the earliest days of your startup. This piece does a great job of touching on the many pitfalls that can affect your ability to generate revenue. Some of them are common sense: “Chasing large customers too early”; while others are maybe a little counter-intuitive: “mapping the full product before getting any customer feedback.”

I’ve seen founders make these mistakes. I’ve made these mistakes while acknowledging that they were mistakes, to begin with. It’s tough to build a company because while there is a playbook for many things while operating your startup, you always think that you know better (when in actuality that’s the Dunning-Kruger effect playing out) than commonly-held, data-backed conclusions.

Favorite quote: "…when we’re in the middle of the startup run, it’s pretty easy to fall into a trap of wasting time on feel-good tasks that feel like progress but don’t bring in any money.”

Mental Snacks

This section was created to introduce ideas that may not related to starting a company, yet is important to your success as a founder.

Fear of Sales

Having a sales focus for this newsletter wasn’t intentional, but if the purpose of this update is to help you build a better company…so be it. A lot of times, it starts with sales and all of the pieces related to it (product, design, customer, etc…)

Fear of sales can come from a variety of places (for me it’s cultural), but at the end of the day, it is table-stakes for starting a company. Or is it? 

Quite a few entrepreneurs I meet with don’t have an issue with sales, they have an issue with cold outreach. It may be doing the actual cold calling or email. It may be the abysmal statistics of actually getting a sale. If it were warm, they would have a field day with the prospect.

As founders, we don’t have the luxury of starting out with a large warm list and dozens of potential customers beating down your door. We have to take the team to speak with those initial prospects, if not for any other reason than to learn if what we’re building would actually help them. And that brings me to a tactic I really like. 

If you are struggling with sales, try just telling a prospect what you’re working on and ask them if you could take up 10-15 minutes to make sure you’re building the right product before wasting time & money. you will have a higher close ratio than if you tried most of the popular spray-and-pray techniques.  

Around The Startup Ecosystem

This section was built to update you on important events, opinions, or pieces happening in the world of startups.

Atlanta emerges as a tech hub

This is a PSA to Atlanta corporations. 

Maybe if I say it enough times these articles will cease to surprise people. With it’s a combination of talent, low cost of living, and corporate infrastructure…soon Atlanta will be known as the best city overall to start a fast-growing business. Even if our own ecosystem doesn’t see it. 

Coke, ATT, Porche, NCR, Turner Broadcasting, Chik-Fil-A, State Farm, UPS, and so many more have a big opportunity to leverage their vast resources to help idea-stage startups will change the city forever, Currently they are apart of a very awesome VC fund that will only invest in already successful companies growing at a pretty urgent clip. This excludes sooooooooo maaaannnnnnyyyy founders. 

Here’s an idea of large corporations in the Atlanta area. Create a single department and give them an annual budget. Their only job is to invest $25,000 of resources into 40 companies each. That’s $1M investment a piece. That’s a drop in the bucket for your balance sheet (you can even write it off as a charitable gift if you structure it properly) and potentially life-changing for the community of Atlanta and the entrepreneurs that aim to improve it. 

Conversely, you can hand us the $1M per year and watch us work our magic.