(by Guy Kawasaki, ISBN ...)
Chapter 1: The Art of Starting
- pg 8: Create a mantra for your employees as a guideline; a tagline is for your customers.
- pg 9: Don't write up a business plan, craft a pitch, or start financial projections until you have a prototype.
- pg 13: Don't revise your product to get prospective customers to love it; revise it because customers already love it.
- pg 14: Be sure you can describe your business model in ten words or less, and don't be afraid to copy one.
- pg 16: Important milestones are prove a concept, complete design specifications, build a prototype, raise capital, ship a testable version, ship a final version, and achieve break-even.
- pg 17: List the assumptions about the business, and link them to the milestones above so that you can test them as you reach milestones.
- pg 24: Never admit you're scared to other employees -- a CEO can never have a bad day.
- pg 24: There is much more to gain by freely discussing your idea than there is to lose.
- pg 24: If three close friends tell you to give up, you should listen.
- pg 25: Make a web site, business cards, and a letterhead immediately for customers, partners, and investors to look at.
Chapter 2: The Art of Positioning
- pg 29: Positioning states why an organization was started, why customers should patronize it, and why good people should work at it.
- pg 31: Ensure that your positioning is long-lasting, and that it does not sound like your competitors'.
- pg 33: Target a small niche -- from there you can establish a beachhead and expand your companies into different areas.
- pg 35: When choosing a company name, avoid numbers, try for verb potential, ensure it sounds like nothing else, and it should match what you do.
- pg 38: Make your positioning personal so a potential customer can clearly see how your product fills a need.
- pg 40: Avoid overfamiliar adjectives and find unique language or offer scientific proof points to describe your product.
- pg 41: New hires can provide a rich vein for a positioning statement because it's from a fresh, outward-facing perspective.
- pg 41: Communicating your positioning is every employee's job; provide a refresh every six months.
- pg 43: Don't lie when projecting your image, but don't go out of your way to look undercapitalized, premature, and weak.
Chapter 3: The Art of Pitching
- pg 45: Explain what your organization does in the first minute; don't make it an auto-biographical narrative.
- pg 47: Before pitching, learn from your sponsor what the audience would like to learn, and what attracted them to the idea and gave them an opportunity to meet.
- pg 48: Brainstorm to find connections, hooks, and angles to make the pitch more powerful and meaningful to your audience.
- pg 49: The pitch is to simulate interest, not to close a deal, so only have ten slides or so; don't include a stupid slide about liquidity.
- pg 50: Be able to give your pitch in 20 minutes, to allow time for discussion, or in case the previous meeting ran late.
- pg 56: Get there early to make sure everything works, but bring your own projector, laptop, and printouts of the presentation just in case.
- pg 56: At the beginning of the pitch, ask how much time you have, and if there is anything in particular they would like to know.
- pg 59: If bold, catalyze fantasy, where you provide a line of reasoning that says everyone needs your product, and market size numbers are irrelevant.
- pg 61: Have someone take notes at the pitch, and play it back to make sure you got the correct information. Then follow through, and quickly.
- pg 62: Patch your pitch after each meeting in response to the most recent questions and objections, but throw away your presentation after ten or so pitches.
- pg 63: Use a dark background with sans serif fonts, with your logo on every slide, and with diagrams and graphs. Never nest bullets, and reveal them one at a time.
- pg 65: Don't send your presentation ahead of time; if you hand it out at the start of the meeting, ask them not to skip ahead.
Chapter 4: The Art of Writing a Business Plan
- pg 68: A business plan won't win over investors, but it's a necessity; use it to find holes in your strategy and in your team.
- pg 68: The plan is a detailed vision of a pitch, so only begin working it once you have the pitch right.
- pg 70: The executive summary, which takes the place of the title slide in your pitch, is the most important part of the plan.
- pg 70: Don't let it exceed 20 pages, include the key metrics, simplify financial projections to two pages, and state the assumptions behind those projections.
- pg 71: Investors require five years of projections to help them understand your scale, the capital required, and consider your inherent assumptions.
- pg 73: Write as if you know exactly what the future holds, but react opportunistically when you encounter reality.
- pg 74: To make your plan stand out, provide a list of customers the reader can call to discuss how much they need or already love your service.
Chapter 5: The Art of Bootstrapping
- pg 80: Managing for cash flow means passing up sales that take a long time to collect, and stretching out payments on expenses.
- pg 83: Don't worry about testing; if you would let your mother or father use the product or service in its current state, ship it.
- pg 84: When building a team, focus on affordability; young, unproven people don't know what they don't know, so they're willing to try anything.
- pg 87: When choosing service providers, hire the right people with good references, even if that means paying more, but always negotiate.
- pg 90: Using a reseller isolates you from customers, requires volume to compensate for decreased profit margins, and extends time to delivery.
- pg 91: By positioning yourself against a market leader, you can utilize their brand awareness to save marketing, promotion, and advertising dollars.
- pg 93: You need someone grounded with ten years of operating experience; typically a CFO, COO, controller, or accountant who can make hard decisions like firing.
- pg 94: Intentionally understaff to bootstrap; this may slow your ascent, but its' better than laying people off or running out of money.
- pg 95: A great board of directors can provide guidance and help you get money, but can't be hard to build without funding in the first place.
- pg 97: Set and communicate goals, designate people responsible for them, measure the execution of them every 30 days, and praise execution.
Chapter 6: The Art of Recruiting
- pg 101: The CEO must hire a management team that is better than he is; the management team must hire employees better than it is.
- pg 102: If you're not getting a reference that's superlative, you're getting a negative one.
- pg 103: A startup needs kamikazes who work long hours, implementers who turn their work into infrastructure, and operators who upkeep the infrastructure.
- pg 106: Ignore functional weaknesses; be attracted to candidates with major strengths than those who lack major weaknesses.
- pg 107: Ask the candidate who all his important decision makers are, and then work with the candidate to answer their concerns too.
- pg 111: Check references early; checking after the interview will lead you to only hear comments that affirm your decision.
- pg 113: Establish an initial review period where after 90 days you go over what's going right, what's going wrong, and how to improve performance.
- pg 114: Reference checking is not to disqualify a candidate, but to look for consistency in how he represented himself.
- pg 116: Don't recruit to make an investory happy; instead, recruit to build a great organization.
Chapter 7: The Art of Raising Capital
- pg 121: Current investors, other entrepreneurs, and professors can serve as a credible third party to get you an introduction.
- pg 124: Your company is flawed if you have friends or roomates in CXO positions, or former employees claiming your technology belongs to them.
- pg 126: Openly acknowledge your competitors and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses; if needed, zoom out until you have competitors.
- pg 128: Don't tell investors about deals that will be signed to bring in revenue. Only talk about deals after they're done.
- pg 129: Investors all know one another, so don't try to play them against one another.
- pg 130: The optimal number of times to mention your technology is patentable is one; zero is bad because then you have nothing proprietary.
- pg 134: Courting one investor will make it easier to court others.
- pg 134: To help court an investor, check-in with them afterward and show improvement and progress after they don't commit, but don't nag.
- pg 135: When you take outside money, you're obligated to all shareholders even if they own a minority position.
- pg 138: You need people with two kinds of experience on your board: company-building and deep market knowledge.
- pg 139: Send reports to your board two days before a meeting, so you spend little time communicating the facts and more time trying to improve upon them.
- pg 140: When you have bad news or need to make a key decision, meet privately with each board member in advance.
- pg 143: A law firm recognized for its finance/VC work shows what you're doing, and will assist with the paperwork of a financing.
- pg 144: More investors means more people helping you, multiple sources of capital, and can give you allies if you disagree with one investor.
- pg 146: When a VC offers a valuation, ask for a 25 percent higher valuation because you're expected to push back.
- pg 147: Freely circulate your executive summary and PowerPoint pitch; only ask for an NDA if an investor wants to learn more at the bits-and-bytes level.
- pg 148: Don't be intimidated by your board of directors; instead, give them assignments and hold them accountable.
Chapter 8: The Art of Partnering
- pg 152: Never form a partnership to make the press happy or silence critics; do it only to increase revenue.
- pg 153: When you form a partnership, always define deliverables and objectives.
- pg 155: A partnership requires an internal champion at each company who is empowered and whose sole goal is to make the partnership a success.
- pg 156: Form partnerships that accentuate the strengths of each partner, rather than covering their weaknesses.
- pg 158: Never use a legal document as a straw man to get the discussion rolling; discuss on the whiteboard, define a framework, then draft a document.
- pg 159: Add an "out" clause within some defined number of days to ensure both parties won't be trapped in an untenable predicament.
- pg 161: When schmoozing, ask questions and then shut up; follow up quickly while making it easy to get in touch; give favors, return them, and ask for the return of favors.
- pg 165: Ensure your emails have a signature, containing your name, organization, postal address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail and web addresses.
Chapter 9: The Art of Branding
- pg 171: Design a product that delivers basic functionality without requiring the user to refer to an instruction manual. Test it on your parents.
- pg 172: Make it easy to switch from competitors to your product, but also make it easy to switch away; making it difficult will scare potential customers away.
- pg 174: From your customers, recruit evangelists. Assign tasks, keep communication open, give them the required tools, respond to their desires, and reward them.
- pg 178: Per dollar, building a community is the cheapest way to create and maintain a brand, so don't wait for a community to form on its own.
- pg 178: To achieve humanness, try to target the young, make fun of yourself, and feature your customers. Don't be impersonal.
- pg 180: Press coverage doesn't convert readers to customers; instead, lower the barrier to entry, get customers, and then the press will write.
- pg 181: No matter what the weather, maintain good relations and contact with the press. You establish your credibility when times are bad, so don't lie.
- pg 185: If given the opportunity to give a speech, cut the sales propaganda, don't denigrate the competition, and just say something interesting.
- pg 186: When on a panel, be entertaining, never look bored, and don't look at the moderator but the audience instead.
- pg 189: You might insult an evangelist by trying to pay them; instead, make your product better, offer them information, and honor them publicly.
- pg 190: If you want to change your logo, look and feel, mantra, or tag line, consider that it may only be now that they're entering the public's mind.
Chapter 10: The Art of Rainmaking
- pg 193: If your product succeeds in an unexpected market, find out why and adjust your business accordingly.
- pg 197: Ignore titles and find the true influencers in the middle and bottom of companies.
- pg 198: When you’ve found those to “suck down” to, don’t try to buy them, empathize with them, and never go over their head and complain about them.
- pg 200: Enable someone to do something they simply could not do before, as opposed to having to displace an entrenched product or service.
- pg 201: If your product doesn’t resonate with a sales prospect, ask why they won’t buy your product and take good notes.
- pg 203: Offer a smooth, gentle adoption curve; if your product or service really is great, this will help with the hardest step of getting in the door.
- pg 205: Don’t rely on the sales types to do all the work for you; encourage everyone to make it rain.
Chapter 11: The Art of Being a Mensch
- pg 211: The three foundations of menschhood are helping lots of people, doing what’s right, and paying back society.
- pg 213: A mensch does the right thing, not the easy thing, the expedient thing, or the money-saving thing.
- pg 214: A mensch pays back for goodness already received, as opposed to paying it forward.
Last modified 02 December 2022