Entrepreneurial

The entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours”

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

50 coffee meetings. It should stick in your head as a metaphor for networking. For getting outside of your comfort zone. For starting relationships today that won’t pay off for a year. It’s the entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours.”

Anybody who has spent any time with me in person will be tired of this advice because I give it so frequently. It’s a piece of actionable advice that if you put into practice starting next week, will start paying dividends in the near future. There’s a direct correlation to your future success.

5 meetings/week = 250/year.

Imagine the human progress you could make with 250 short, relationship-focused meetings.

Here’s why it’s critical:

1. Recruiting. Are you looking for great engineers? Talented brand sales people? A smart young marketing exec? If you wait until you need to fill somebody in a roll, you’re losing valuable time as an entrepreneur. You should always have a steady stream of “friend of the firm” hanging around your company. You invite them to cocktail parties. You send them update emails. You don’t have a budget for them – not yet. But when you do, you’re ready to go.

10 marketing lessons for early stage tech startups

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

I made every textbook mistake at my first startup, which is why I believe I was much more effective at my second one. I have adopted the motto “good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.” We need to learn from doing, by trial and error.

If I can help you avoid some of my first-time mistakes it would be a victory. The following are some lessons I learned about early-stage startup marketing. Because market is such a broad topic, I’m restricting these lessons to PR marketing (as opposed SEO, SEM, product marketing, etc.).

Invest in lines, not dots

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

Everyone seems to be in such a rush to get shacked up these days.

In normal times investors will look for “traction” before investing. We want to make sure we’re in love. This sometimes frustrates entrepreneurs who just want to “get back to running the business.” But if you understand it you’ll see that it’s perfectly rational and it should also influence how you form relationships with investors. And remember, if we get married you’re stuck with us, too.

The first time I meet you, you are a single data point. A dot. I have no reference point from which to judge whether you were higher on the y-axis three months ago, or lower. Because I have no observation points from the past, I have no sense for where you will be in the future. Thus, it’s very hard to make a commitment to fund you.

Small Talk: Elephants and entrepreneurs

Mark Suster’s blog – “Both Sides of the Table” – has become a hotspot for people seeking an insider’s glimpse into the world of venture capital investing.

This week Suster wrote about the things in entrepreneur pitches that give VCs pause when considering whether or not to invest. Suster likens it to the elephant-in-the-room adage, more specifically: “those things that the VC would automatically be thinking about when you’re speaking but he/she may not immediately ask you about either for legal reasons or out of courtesy.”

Suster’s blog goes on to list some real-life examples of pitches he’s heard with Elephant-sized problems, such as the founder is no longer with the company or having Google as a prime competitor. Suster advises entrepreneurs to deal with their issues before they seek funding, as they will inevitably be addressed in their meetings with VCs. Suster says it’s better to be pre-emptive in this regard.

Wanted: investors for online job board

elena-bajicIvy Exec, a job posting and recruiting website, targets high-profile professionals by offering exclusivity: job-seekers must first be approved as a member to access the site’s job listings.

“They don’t like to be part of the masses,” explained Ivy Exec founder Elena Bajic (read her entrepreneur journal) about the site’s 25,000 members. “They’re looking for a way to differentiate themselves, an exclusive club and a network of peers. So the fact that they have to get approved to be members of Ivy Exec is very important to them.”

THE PITCH

Initially free to join, Ivy Exec recently started charging a monthly fee that ranges from $22-$42 depending on the package. On the corporate side, Bajic charges an average of $8,000 for her selective recruitment services, which include pre-screening all job applicants to find a better match. In this way Ivy Exec operates more like a dating site for job seekers.

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