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If you’ve looked for capital for your startup, you’ve almost assuredly been asked about product-market fit. It’s a gateway for most investors in determining if your venture is worth their investment. Why is it so important? While hardly a guarantee, it’s a fundamental point in the process of converting your idea into a successful product and testing whether it has a chance to grow into a business.

So, what exactly is it? Product-market fit is the extent to which a good market (many potential customers) is addressed with a product that meets that market’s needs, wants, or desires. …


The Secrets to Building a Founding Team

Missing Puzzle Piece — Founding Teams — The Startup Playbook
Missing Puzzle Piece — Founding Teams — The Startup Playbook

The quality of the founding team is probably more correlated with the success of a startup than the idea the company is founded on. Yet, few entrepreneurs are as diligent in building their founding team as they are in even finding office space. Often, founding teams are assembled from a convenient and available group of friends or coworkers. That is, of course, when there is a team at all. Entrepreneurs frequently set out on their own, taking on the incredibly difficult task of building a startup without any else’s help or support.

Let’s face it, 9 out of 10 startups…


Many new entrepreneurs think that the success of their startup rests on the quality and uniqueness of their idea. It doesn’t. It’s the business that they plan and build around that idea that matters.

The Startup Playbook & Coffee
The Startup Playbook & Coffee

5-min read

So, let’s get something clear. An idea that turns into a startup isn’t just a passing thought. It’s the combination of the unsolved problem that you see in a market, and the solution you come up with to address the need created by that problem. It’s the hole you’re going to fill and what you’ll fill it with that we’re talking about. Problems aren’t sufficient to be the foundation of a company, even at the earliest formative stages, nor, conversely, are solutions without a real problem to be solved.

And I’m sorry to say that it’s highly unlikely…


The investment deck is likely your first introduction to an investor. Don’t take its development lightly.

INvestment or Pitch Deck from The Startup PLaybook
INvestment or Pitch Deck from The Startup PLaybook
Your investment deck — Image from The Startup Playbook

So, you’ve kicked off your new startup, built your team and have a solid plan for the coming 6–12 months. Sometimes, entrepreneurs don’t think about the plan much. That plan — part of your overall business model — should include delivery milestones and achievements; a list of the resources you have at your disposal to make those things happen; and the metrics for the path your business is on. It is, in fact, what you’re pitching to potential investors after all.

What you’ll need now is the pitch deck or investor deck, as it is often called. You’ll either send…


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Knowing how much to raise is important as knowing where to raise it . . .

Much of this information is taken from the new, second edition of my book, The Startup Playbook: Founder-to-Founder Advice From Two Startup Veterans.

When I started my first company, Dataware Logic— which was a miserable failure, by the way — I didn’t think I needed any outside capital. I thought I’d be so successful, that my meager savings would cover me for the brief period between starting and having enough revenue to support my growth. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. The company went bankrupt in what seemed to be a blink of an eye.

Many founders struggle with pinpointing…


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Much of this information is taken from my new book, The Startup Playbook: Founder-to-Founder Advice From Two Startup Veterans.

The first two startups my co-author and I worked on were founded on the following belief: we know the solution to our customers’ problems, those customers will find our solution, smack their palms to their foreheads, and beg for an opportunity to pay us for it.

It didn’t work out that way. In fact, both companies failed.

Over time, we learned that our initial ideas were only the beginning; there was no way to know what to do without involving our…


(Or, is Moving Fast in all Things the Best Way to Build a Successful Startup?)

Will Herman — Co-author, The Startup Playbook

The conventional wisdom in the startup community these days is that to create a successful startup, you need to move at breakneck speed in everything you do. And, to facilitate this, you should consume as much money as you can get your hands on along the way to make sure you’re removing all obstacles from getting to market. …


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I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing angel investor over the years which has given me the chance to meet many great entrepreneurs. In general, when an entrepreneur contacts me, he/she is looking for money, advice or both. Generally speaking, I make a quick determination if the people are some that I might be interested in working with; whether or not the idea is something that I can actually add some value too; and, oh yeah, whether or not I can make any money by investing in it, if that’s appropriate. More often than not, the discussion ends with…

Will Herman

Will Herman is a 5X entrepreneur, active angel investor, corporate director and startup mentor. He’s also the author of The Startup Playbook.

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