Guy Kawasaki says Entrepreneurs Make these Top 10 Mistakes

ImageGuy Kawasaki spoke at The Startup Conference this week. (Photo credit: Guy Kawasaki)

By Michelle McIntyre

Investor, TED Speaker, startup expert, former Apple evangelist and author of nine books, Guy Kawasaki gave a talk called “The Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make” at The Startup Conference in Redwood City, Calif., Wednesday. He is currently chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool.

Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

As a PR and business strategy consultant to many startups, nothing he said shocked or amazed me but his side comments and answers to audience were very funny. He has always had a way of giving business advice in an entertaining and highly digestible fashion.

Here is his list of 10 top entrepreneur mistakes:

Mistake 1 Multiply big numbers by one percent to calculate market size.

Solution: Entrepreneurs should calculate from the bottom up and have realistic expectations.

Mistake 2 Scale too fast.

Solution: “Eat what you kill.”

Mistake 3 Form partnerships, or just focus too much on them.

Solution: Focus on sales. Kawasaki says, “Sales ‘fixes’ everything!”

Mistake 4 Focus on the pitch.

Solution: Focus on the prototype. Code writing software is more important than Microsoft PowerPoint.

Mistake 5 Use too many slides.

Solution: Use the 10-20-30 rule. It is 10 slides or less, 20 minutes in length and no smaller than 30 point type. I agree with this. In fact, I tell clients no more than six slides.

Mistake 6 Make serial progress.

Solution: make “parallel progress.” Startups need to multitask and be flexible instead of deciding that everything must be done in an exact order.

Mistake 7 Try to retain control. It’s a mistake to think that if you own 51% of the company, you can call all of the shots. Most decisions voted on in the board room are decided ahead of time.

Solution: Instead of focusing on how much of pie you have, focus on “making a bigger pie.”

Mistake 8 Use patents for defensibility.

Solution: Use success. He cautioned against mentioning patents more than once in a pitch.

Mistake 9 Hire in your own image.

Solution: Hire to complement. If you are a male founder, look for a female to round out the management team. Diversity is good for business.

Mistake 10 Befriend your investors.

Solution: Simply exceed expectations.

ImageEnchantment is one of nine books by Guy Kawasaki. (Photo credit: Guy Kawasaki)

My key takeaway was that early stage startups need to make their top two priorities developing a quality product and building the user base. Nothing else is as important.

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Michelle McIntyre, @FromMichelle, is a PR consultant for tech startups, an IBM vet, on the executive team for TEDxSanJoseCA and director with Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators.

 

 

 

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Do You Charge for an e-Book?

By Michelle McIntyre

Oakland-based business coach for midlife entrepreneurs, Dina Eisenberg recently spoke to my Women in Consulting (WIC) group in Los Gatos last week about how to kick start an information product or “infoproduct” business.

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An information product is any product or service that you can sell to people to provide them with information. It includes e-books, books, audios, CDs, DVDs, seminars, videos, tele-seminars and more.

Because the event description mentioned her law degree and creating a “passive income,” I was expecting tips on self-employed (S.E.) IRAs and 401Ks. I had just set up a S.E. 401K so I figured it will probably be redundant to what I already just learned after spending hours with a Fidelity representative to set up my own plan. I went to the meeting anyway for the networking. 

 I was pleasantly surprised when Eisenberg started talking though.  

What it was really about was creating sustainable income to make, what Eisenberg calls “a cushion for life’s bumps.”  Consultants and entrepreneurs who are typically actively involved in delivering their service benefit from creating passive income streams that work, even when they cannot.

A self-proclaimed “information product junkie,” Eisenberg has also produced a range of products from online courses to retreats and subscription programs.

She said she it all started when her husband, whom she considers a successful entrepreneur just like herself, went on disability for two years due to a medical issue that has since mostly gone away. He was her fiancé at the time.

She shared her tactics with the consultants, many of whom had created their own infoproducts. Several consultants had their products on hand and the talk turned into a brainstorm and information share of sorts instead of just a presentation.

Two of her messages stuck in my mind.

First, start charging!  Yes, the internet is awash in free material however, people will pay for the exact right product that solves their specific problem at that time. Don’t assume you have to start with free.

Second, ask first.  The difference between a profitable infoproduct and one that flops is research.  Search Linkedin threads and comments for a wealth of topic ideas for your information product.

To learn more about Dina Eisenberg, visit her website at http://infoproductdoctor.com/.

Here are related Twitter handles.

WIC: @WIConsult

Dina Eisenberg: @DinaEisenberg

The author of this post: @FromMichelle


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Michelle McIntyre is a blogger and high tech PR consultant based in Saratoga, Calif. She’s also the director of marketing communications for the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators and on the executive team for TEDxSanJoseCA.

 

Working Moms: Read this if your Child is in Daycare this Summer

Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg is on the bestsellers list at my local library this week.

Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg is on the bestsellers list at my local library this week.

One thing about Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean-In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” that hit home with me was the statistic she mentioned in the chapter “The Myth of Doing it All.”

The main message of the book says is that it’s okay and even recommended that women, if they choose, take their careers to the highest level.

She is frustrated that there are so few women at the upper level of companies. She says that women tend to have less confidence than men and are each perceived much differently in the workplace. One way is that women who are tough are seen as bitches while men who are aggressive are seen as awesome.

Sandberg is wicked smart and has had senior executive roles at successful companies like Facebook. She was in the right places at the right times but at the same time, she worked hard and seemed to have the right attitude in advancing her career, which she says sometimes meant moving sideways instead of up the ladder.

Let’s go back to the topic at hand — the point she makes about guilt and the working mom. I like this fact because for most of the past 12 years, my son has been in day care while my husband and I worked.

In 1991, the Early Child Care Research Network, under the management of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, studied 1,000 children over 15 years. In 2006, the researchers released a report summarizing their findings, which concluded that “children who were cared for exclusively by their mothers did not develop differently than those who were also cared for by others.”

Sandberg goes on in great detail about how it can hurt children when you feel guilty and show stress about leaving them in daycare.

The truth is that children are fine and can even thrive when they don’t have a stay at home mom. I have seen proof as well. My son is funny, smart, and mature and has his act together. I had a lot of help raising him from YMCA and Walden West camps in the summers, and from on-campus daycare programs during the school years. Not staying home to raise him 24/7 didn’t hurt him one bit.

My son is going to basketball camp this week but instead of feeling guilty about it, I’m taking Sandberg’s advice. I feel fine and look forward to a super productive week serving my clients.

Sandberg actually repeats the message in different ways but it seems she likes this statement the best.

“Exclusive maternal care was not related to better or worse outcomes for children. There is, thus, no reason for mothers to feel as though they are harming their children if they decide to work.”

Thanks, Sheryl Sandberg for writing this book that is way overdue for the working moms.

The book is available on the best sellers’ shelves20130619_193004 at the local libraries or at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Lean-In-Women-Work-Will/dp/0385349947/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373246869&sr=8-1&keywords=sheryl+sandberg%E2%80%99s+lean+in

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