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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Founder of DrinkDrop Finds Inspiration from Other Moms

Lisa Guyman, founder of DrinkDrop find other moms are supportive of her new business.

Lisa Guyman, founder of DrinkDrop finds other moms are supportive of her new business.

According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the number of businesses owned by women in the United States has gone up 59 percent since 1997. These companies generate $1.3 trillion in revenue and employ eight million people.

I looked up this statistic after noticing that a large number of women, particularly those with children, in my Silicon Valley neighborhood founded their own companies.

Parents Maitjian and husband Todd Welke started their IT services business CMIT Solutions of Southwest Silicon Valley three years ago.  Mom Nikki Brown has been a self-employed graphic designer and personal trainer for years. I have a son and started my high tech public relations consulting firm in January.

My next door neighbor Lisa Guyman has just jumped on the lady CEO bandwagon with her new company DrinkDrop (www.drink-drop.com) and she says the experience has been a good one.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had a lot of very positive feedback about our products, and I’ve been blown away with how supportive other moms have been. I think that’s the coolest part about being a female founder–the understanding from other women about the balance it takes to have a business and be a mom,” says Guyman.

A DrinkDrop is a frozen, two ounce individual size drink mix that contains whole fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Saratogans can purchase them at Gene’s Fine Foods.

Guyman says that all DrinkDrop mixes are designed to be combined with a particular liquor and club soda. A DrinkDrop cup is provided to measure the rest. The all natural drink concoctions are also good without alcohol, Guyman says.

Guyman says you can keep DrinkDrop mixes in your freezer, and when you feel like a drink, just drop one in your glass. In seconds, you’ll have an attractive and tasty specialty drink.

Her husband Jeff Guyman came up with the idea after the couple held a wedding reception in their Saratoga backyard for her brother and sister-in-law. They needed a way to serve special drinks to a large number of guests.

Lisa is keeping busy promoting her company. She recently hosted a tasting table at Gene’s Fine Foods. Distillery 209 of Pier 50 in San Francisco is sponsoring the next DrinkDrop tasting event at the San Francisco Ritz Carlton on Sunday, August 25. The details are on the DrinkDrop website.

Like other female CEOs, Lisa Guyman is master priority juggler. She and Jeff have a one year old son, three year old daughter, and two rambunctious and just as adorable chocolate Labrador Retrievers. She holds an undergraduate degree from University of California Berkeley and a doctorate in physical therapy from University California San Francisco. She also ran Cal Bear track.

Guyman says, “Raising kids is the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve always needed that something else. I’ve worked as a physical therapist for years, and I actually love being a physical therapist, but I’ve always wanted something that’s my own creation.”

Husband Jeff Guyman also has an impressive resume. He is a sales executive for a local power supply company and a Stanford University graduate who used to both swim and play water polo there. At one point he was ranked the number one water polo player in Washington State.

However, Lisa tells me that Jeff is totally focused on his 9 to 5 sales job so she started the company and handles the details herself. Due to the uniqueness and quality of her product, she is realizing that there is a lot to do to fill demand.

She elaborates on this point by saying, “These days, there is a big trend toward fresh herbal cocktails and mixology, or drinking your garden. We take all the work out of it and just say here, have a great cocktail and feel good about what you’re drinking.”

For additional information about trends in female leadership, read my review of the book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead here.

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Note: This story was originally published in the Saratoga Patch community newspaper in August and as of today, it has received 146 likes on Facebook.

A popular drink drop option

This is what a DrinkDrop looks like. It’s quite small so you can fit a lot of them in a freezer.

An attractive and trendy DrinkDrop option

Hummingbird Nectar is a delicious, attractive and trendy DrinkDrop option.

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