Startup Resources

/Startup Resources
Startup Resources 2020-09-18T16:32:22+00:00

Critical Startup Tools and Resources

As an entrepreneur and business advisor and coach, I receive lots of questions from startup and early-stage founders about basic organization tasks such as: what type of entity to create, where to create their entity, how to allocate equity, and how to manage their capitalization table.

It’s always good to get expert advice when you need it but it’s critically important that you do your own research and due diligence so that you understand the basics of the problem you are trying to solve before you being those discussions. At least that’s the way I approach knowledge gaps.

This page has some of my favorite resources related to the critical steps in launching and successfully scaling a business. There are resources for managing your company’s equity, setting your initial valuation, and prepping for the term sheet process if you are planning to accept outside investment.

Some of these resources are pretty lengthy but you can listen to them on Audible in your car. Others, such as Stephen Poland Founder’s Pocket Guides, are quick reads that provide a basic understanding.

Creating the product and getting the business running are the fun and exciting bits of the process. But you must master the details to keep you equity stake and grow the company. You’ll need to hire experts in these areas but you’ll want to have a basic understanding so you can guide the process and be sure your interests are protected.

Part of my personal give-back to the entrepreneurial community is sharing my insights. I’m happy to take a short 15-minute call anytime I’m available.

Just complete one of the contact widgets to schedule a short call.

Wishing you and your team great success in your venture!

Robert Hess

Founder, Investor, Startup, and Early Stage Advisor

The Insights in These Books are Guaranteed to Save You Time and Heartache as You Grow Your Business. Enjoy!

Allocating Startup Equity

Mike Moyer suggests you create a “Grunt Fund” that lets the team earn equity in proportion to their contributions. Read this before you make any equity promises to your team.

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Back Door Angel Investing

There are dozens and dozens of books on how to approach Angel investors. Reverse engineer the process by reading Jason Calacanis’s advice to Angel investors.

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How to Take Charge or Build Your Team

This book is for senior executives landing in new jobs but it contains critical insights for entrepreneurial leaders. It is worth a read!

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How to Think About Your Product

Written by the man Time magazine called “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry,” these principles still hold true.

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“The” Startup Checklist You Must Use

If your goal is to build a scalable company, this is a “must read” book. It will give you the tools to turn your idea into a workable business model.

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How to Make Certain Your Idea Survives

This is my absolute favorite book. It’s so important that I give copies to all of the Founders I work with. It gives you the critical structure you need.

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How to Avoid the Pitfalls That Can Sink Your Startup

Bad decisions at the beginning lay the foundations for eventual ruin. Early decisions can make or break a startup and its team.

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19 Ways to Get Traction for Your Business

Most startups fail because they can’t get traction for their product. Traction shows you  19 channels to build a customer base.

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The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

“The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable.” Wired. This is an invaluable resource before you begin.

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Founder Pocket Guides – Fast Bites of Important Insights

How to Survive Term Sheet Negotiations

Investor funding comes through term sheets. You’ll need an attorney but you must have a good personal understanding of the process. This guide covers key terms associated with equity fundraising, such as pre-money valuation, founder dilution, down round, etc.

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How to Master Your Capitalization Table

Your capitalization table is critical to fundraising. This guide explains Founder’s shares, option pools, angel investor rounds, VC rounds, fully-diluted shares outstanding, preferred shares vs. common shares, Series A, Series B, and more. This is a “must have” and “must read.”

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How To Set Your Startup Valuation

Assigning a pre-money valuation to your startup is one of the more daunting startup challenges. You need to get it right. This guide explains all of the key topics around early-stage startup valuation and provides step-by-step examples for several valuation methods.

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Should You Use Convertible Debt?

Learn what convertible debt is and how it can fit into a fundraising structure. Key terms and definitions associated with convertible debt: conversion triggers, valuation caps, and conversion discounts. SAFE’s – Simple Agreement for Future Equity are another option.

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How to Split Founder Equity

The equity split is critical to a startup. Read this and then Slicing Pie by Mike Moyer. These insights may just save your company.

How to Raise Angel Capital

If you are new to the startup funding process and need to raise angel capital, start with this book.  Learn if you are really “investor ready.”

How and When to Use Stock Options

Understand the forms of equity compensation, tax implications, and the other IRS rules governing equity ownership.

Raise Funds from Family & Friends

Learn all of the common friends & family funding structures: simple loans, profit sharing, equity deals, and convertible notes.

Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success

Start-ups unfold in a predictable pattern. Howard Love has done 15. This book shows you the journey.

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Start-up Law. “Must Knows”

It’s easy to ignore start-up legal steps but that could kill your idea before it gets off the ground. This is a “must read” before you begin your journey.

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Business Model Generation: The Handbook

Your idea needs to generate cash. Learn how to organize to create, deliver, and capture economic value from your idea.

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Design a Killer Value Proposition

This is the first question an investor is going to ask you.  Your value proposition is linked directly to needs (not wants) of your target market.

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