Nine Guiding Principles for Starting a Technology Business
In June of this year I gave a talk at the TAPPI conference in Washington, D.C. on the guiding principles for building a nanotechnology company. In my mind I was clear about what I wanted to accomplish with my talk. Enough has been written/discussed about the mechanics of starting a business (type of corporate form, how to allocate an option pool, etc.), and I didn’t want to rehash information that was already widely available. But what’s not talked about enough is how do you build a business? What happens after you incorporate and the legal/admin/financing is out of the way? How do you make it happen?
To keep the message digestible and brief, I came up with the Nine Guiding Principles for Building a Nanotechnology Company. In my talk I was able to amplify each one, and I will do so here in future posts. For now, here’s the list:
- It’s all about the markets
- Get the manufacturing right
- Leverage private money with government and corporate development grants/contracts
- No matter how great you think your technology is, you’re much farther away from success then you think.
- A few vocal reference customers is much better than a bunch of “beta testers”
- Make sure you understand what your customers will do with your “products”
- Find board members who know your industry and understand your company
- To survive you’ll need to transition from a “founder-led” startup into a dependable supplier of products to a defined set of customers.
- Sooner or later, the business people need to take over. Understand that from the beginning.