Hello, you’re listening to Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed on Startup Club. We are almost a million members strong and we are growing every day. We’d love to have you on. Uh, the club is all about connecting with each other, learning from each other, and becoming sort of part of a family, really. Uh, we do the show every Friday.
Two o’clock, uh, Eastern. And you might not know this if you’re listening to this in replay or if you are listening to this in podcast, but it’s actually a live show. It’s a live studio audience. We have people who come on stage, uh, and you’re welcome to come on stage. You don’t have to fly anywhere. Don’t worry about that.
Uh, it’s live audio only, and it’s done through clubhouse. So you can go to clubhouse. Click on Startup Club, follow Startup Club, follow Colin C. Campbell and Michele Van Tilburg, my co host. Uh, if you click on notifications, always, then when we speak, it’ll ping you right away. The show takes place every Friday, 2 o’clock Eastern.
We are Startup Club, and today’s show is Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. And specifically, we’re gonna focus a little bit on Start. Now, I wanna let you know that the way we’ve set this up, the next four weeks… We’re going to be talking about the content in the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. Uh, and this week we’re talking about Start.
So we’re going to focus on Start this week, we’re going to focus on Scale next week, we’re going to focus on Exit the week after, and then focus on Repeat the week after that. So the next four podcasts that you listen to, you’re going to get a real MBA in how to Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. Now why is it called that?
On Tuesday, we launched the book, let me tell you this, 10 years writing this book, over 30 years as a serial entrepreneur. The team here, Michele and others, Mimi and others, have worked for almost 2 years. We interviewed over 200 people, and about 50 of those interviews actually made the book. And those interviews were with authors.
Experts and serial entrepreneurs, billionaires, unicorn. We had one guy, Babin Turk, I had multiple unicorns, uh, and we had a number of different people who we interviewed in the book. And there’s so many stories. The book is a compilation of stories that deliver a, that delivers theories. So we’ll talk a lot about the book about, you know, how to start a business.
What is the story you’re trying to create? Who are the people you need? How do you motivate people? How do you hire great people? How do you lead great people? Who, who are the, um, sorry, the, uh, the money, how much, who are the investors and how much money do you need to raise for your startup? And the last thing, the systems, we talk a lot about systems.
Uh, and, and again, we go into the good and the bad. We don’t just talk about in this book. about the successes. I share my failures. I put, lay them all out there. How I’m at the age of 28 years old, I lost a hundred million dollars. You know, would I prefer to say, Oh, I’m great. I’m this, I’m that. Yeah, absolutely.
Do talk about those successes and the eight or so exits that I’ve had over the last 30 years that have been very successful. But I also talk about the bad, the mistakes I’ve made and others do in the book as well. A number of people share their stories about the mistakes they’ve made. The lessons from the edge.
It’s the thing. It was an incredible journey putting this book together and it all came out on Tuesday. It debuted as the number one bestseller on Amazon for entrepreneurship, new releases for e commerce, for private equity. It debuted number one on Amazon. Uh, today we were told by, uh, by Forbes, who published the book, that they, they, that they had only ordered 1, 500 copies originally.
They ordered another 2, 000 a week ago, uh, from the printers, but they’re down to 120 physical books. Uh, and so please do not purchase the physical book. We know that we’ve been talking about how amazing it is, and how it’s for color, and It’s designed for ADHD and it has, um, no, I’m joking. It’s obviously an, it’s an incredible piece of work.
It’s either considered a piece of art, a 10 year journey. And, uh, many have been talking about who’ve received the book, have been talking about how, you know, powerful this book is, it is a little larger than most books, but it’s written with very short chapters. 58 chapters, over 200 call outs, 30 illustrations.
The book is, um, it is a compilation and also a, uh, what’s very interesting for those on Clubhouse, it was really a testament to the community of Clubhouse. We interviewed a number of people who we met on Clubhouse. We met Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok, on Clubhouse. And he became a feature in the book and he’s set throughout the book.
We interviewed Vern Harnish, who wrote Scaling Up. Uh, we interviewed Jeffrey Moore, who wrote Inside the Tornado and Crossing the Chasm, one of the most iconic books of our lifetime in technology adoption. He actually invented the technology adoption curve. Uh, we interviewed Marsha Reese, who we met on here, who invented Sideway Chuck, and I’m actually going to try to do a podcast with her next week on Amazon.
So very excited about that. Uh, but, uh, that’s the topic today. How do you come up with the idea? What is it that you can do? To come up with an idea that to start a business, like, and if you’re in the audience and you have an idea and you want to come share it with us or vet it with us, that’s great. Or if you had an idea and you launched it and you were successful, uh, and that idea took off, please raise your hand, come on stage.
We want to hear from you. And if you had an idea and you launched it and failed, we want to hear from you as well, because again, we learn from each other. That’s the power of the clubhouse community. We learn from each other, Michele, what do you think about today’s topic before we jump into it and I mean, oh, you’re the moderator.
So I’m going to let you moderate and, uh, and I will try to participate as you wish I participate. All right, I have the book right here in front of me and I’m going to say it’s, it is like four books in one book. Because each section in depth goes into each of the phases, start, start, scale, exit, repeat, but call it, you know, uh, we have a lot of members here, so I kind of just want to jump into it so that we have enough time to work through, um, the content here and help people with how do they actually start their business.
So I’m going to jump right into it and, um. You know, I’m going to read out loud here a couple of the chapters that are in the start section. So give me a second here. And then I think I’m going to start. We’ll jump right in the questions, and we’d love for people to start thinking about questions they have for Colin, or comments or stories that you have that you would like to share.
But just so you get an idea for it, here are the seven chapters in the start section. The first one are ideas are everywhere, and it may not be what you think, so we’re going to dive into that. The second chapter is from idea to action. So you’ve got this idea. This is, I’m going to say this is, you know, one of the very hardest parts, is how do you take your idea and propel it to action?
Chapter three we have is catching the next wave is critical. So there’s a lot of really cool content AI.
Which is the next wave. And I was going to say also, you know, there’s some amazing interviews, especially associated with that chapter that were done here on clubhouse with Jeffrey Moore, who did, who wrote one of the most. amazing and most popular business book ever, which is about crossing the chasm. Um, so, meaning the technology and adoption chasms.
The fourth chapter we have is focusing on something you and others love. Chapter five, pick an idea that you can scale. Okay. That’s important, right? I think everybody could agree with that. There’s a lot of good ideas out there, but can you scale it? Meaning, can you make money off of it? Et cetera. Chapter six, can you build a moat around your…
Now here, this chapter talks about how you build a defensible product, a defensible service, something that can be protected, uh, uh, you know, against a bunch of me too, people just jumping in on, on your idea. So how do you keep competitive? What are your competitive advantages? And then last but not least is the last chapter, which talks about stage Gates.
Yeah, I, I’m going to say Colin, that’s probably my first favorite one in this section because it really talks about how do you keep yourself propelling and getting activity and going in the right direction, or even if you have to declaring it a loser because being able to do that is just as important so that you don’t waste your time.
But Colin, let’s start with ideas are everywhere. Are they really? Like, if it’s so easy, Colin, why don’t we all do it? You know what? I hate hotel rooms more than anything else. I know that sounds extreme, but it’s the truth. I traveled for 30 years practically living in hotels. So whenever my wife and I go somewhere, we’ve always opted for vacation rentals because the experience is so much better.
Okay, so that’s the first paragraph in the chapter of Ideas Are Everywhere. Where am I getting at with that? The first thing is we live in a, in a, in a, in a, we live, we experience life and we do see problems with respect to the traveling and I do hate hotel rooms because I had did travel for so long. I know Michele did as well.
Uh, you know, I love the cleanliness and the beds and hotels, but they’re boring and depressing in a lot of cases. And then, but my wife and I would actually stay in vacation rentals and we hated those too. In fact, the last two vacation rentals we were at, we canceled, we left early because that we couldn’t stand the mattress and we couldn’t sleep in the You know, there was food in the freezer for goodness sakes.
There was, um, there were so many issues. So we put together a company called Escape Club in South Florida with 19 properties. It’s an Airbnb company and they feature Westin Heavenly Beds, Pottery Barn, uh, utensils, and, uh, I don’t know what you buy from Pottery Barn, but the fact is they feature all the, all the things that you buy very.
Thank you for helping stylish furniture. I’m sorry. Yes, I’m sorry. I don’t actually do it myself. Uh, if you read the book, you’ll understand why I own the company, but I have a president who runs that company. And, uh, the point, but the point is we came up with a model because we saw what was happening in the market is that the Airbnbs are really, you know, getting a bit of a bad rap, the hotel rooms, We tried to combine the best of both.
We identified a problem. This is the number one thing you can do in life is identify a problem. By the way, probably the best place, Michele, to get ideas is to actually get a job. To work in an environment, in an industry that you enjoy or love. You might enjoy the solar industry, for instance. So get a job in the solar industry.
Um, you might get some feedback here. I apologize about that. I’m literally… In the middle of the north and some military helicopters flying over me. Sorry about that. But, um, what I was saying is in a job you can identify opportunities. You can see opportunities. You know, in the book we talk about a story about how my son found a 20 bill and he says he was so lucky.
I says, no, you were not lucky. You were observant. You know, what are the 20 bills out there? How can you be observant? Uh, what is it that you’ve experienced? I would say the vast majority of companies about probably 25 companies we’ve started in the last uh, 30 years were about resolving a problem. In fact, I can’t think of a company that wasn’t.
About resolving a problem now, there’s more to building a company than just figuring out the problem But when you figured out the problem, then now you’re on the first step to launching that business Okay, this is exciting. And then we’re going to take that idea to action before we jump on. I know we have Augustin you on the stage here as well.
Thank you very much But Michele go ahead. Yes. Yes Yeah, so ideas are everywhere. I’m just going to, you know, call out a few things here that I see in the book that I know the members would like to know. So we talked about opportunities are everywhere, but you have to be looking for them. And I think one really important thing to just to note further is ideas come from problem solving and they come from your own experiences.
So, on that note, Augustine. What are your thoughts on ideas are everywhere as we look, as we seek to find ideas to start a business, Augustin. Thank you. A pleasure to be back. Um, yes, there are ideas everywhere. The problem is that I see out there. Many people get fixated on one thing and they don’t see past what’s the financial industry.
We may say that maybe the market is saturated with the provision of debit cards or remittance services out there. But the way that you bundle or you integrate that, you can take that idea to a new level and that’s based on experience that I see based on the products and services that we provide in the market.
It’s no different for a company than entrepreneurship starting out With a focus, but I do agree there’s a need or problem to be solved and based on that need and problem, you segment where you want to go. Now, you can’t go out there and give them. The full gamma of products and services, you have to gauge, understand, survey, and then be able to iterate and provide what is actually needed for the audience.
But yes, I do agree. There’s a lot of opportunities out there and timing. Is essential and of course, uh, the phrase that I use is not time to market, but time to revenue, which is a different way to gauge it. Oh, I like that. I like the way time to revenue and, and you’re sort of jumping ahead on, on ideas to action and taking the action.
So I think we could do a whole show on, you know, on this, just this, this, just this one topic. And yet we’ve got seven chapters. But I do want to share a few stories in the book. One of them was Marsha Reese. She came on Clubhouse. I met her on Clubhouse. She, in the 1970s, uh, you know, was trying to find activities for her child, and she gave the child chalk and, you know, it’s toxic and…
And you know, she wanted to play on the, you know, whatever on the concrete. And she came up with this idea of a non toxic chalk that you could play with on concrete called Sideway Chalk, Sidewalk Chalk. There it is. Again, a problem, a solution. She launched it, went to Walmart and history from there. Um, she also came up with, I don’t know, for those who are a little older in the audience, we used to have keyboards.
She came up with the idea of that little squishy thing on your wrist. You know, you’d put on the bottom of a keyboard so that, uh, you wouldn’t get as much pain or strain from typing all day long. Uh, she came up with that. She also came up with a, um, passport holder, uh, that you could simply, instead of handing your passport, you’d open it up and show it at the, at the security.
That one didn’t turn out. This wasn’t the demand. It wasn’t a big enough problem. Let me tell you another story. Richard Hanbury. He, this guy, at 19 years old, got into a car accident, and the doctors told him he was, had five years left to live. He used sound modulation as a therapy, and eventually turned that into a company that which today is called Santa Health, and he’s, this is like 25 years ago.
It helped him heal. Uh, his current condition. Uh, we had one, uh, who won the, uh, P& G Ventures Innovation Challenge. Michele, do you remember? Uh, we did the interviews of, for P& G and it was Cindy Santa Cruz. She founded a company, Lady Patch, around the idea of helping women find a safe and effective way to solve all too common problem of accidental urination.
And her mother was aging and this was a problem. So she founded a company around that. Um, Bill Bergen, who did the rocket. He’s the rocket scientist who wanted his french fries on his salads delivered to his home, uh, without getting soggy and, you know, all that kind of stuff. So he invented a product to solve that problem as well.
You can see a consistent thread here around solving a problem, identifying it in your life. And again, if you can do it at a job, that’s great. Like, cause I think that’s where, you know, a lot of industries, uh, you see problems or bottlenecks in an industry and you say, well, why is that done? I bet you, I could do that a lot better than the way they’re doing it.
I do think it’s important to love your idea. Uh, and if you do that, you will stick with it because this startup business founding a startup is a rollercoaster. It is a challenge to go up and down. And when you go down, you need to, you need to have a passion. You need to have a reason, a purpose behind your startup, uh, in order for it to succeed because it’s tough to get through those hard times.
Really tough. And then we’ll move on, Michele, to chapter two ideas to action. And by the way, that’s what the book’s all about stories like we don’t, you know, that come out with theories like we could or conclusions. We’re trying to make it very interesting. They’re very short chapters. Uh, we know it’s a lot of material It’s not easy to start scale exit and repeat It’s not but we’ve tried to make the book as easy And readable as possible and you know us entrepreneurs.
We’re a pretty busy lot of people I’ll just say one of the things i’m really enjoying is that I can just flip through the pages and see these really cool ideas in these call outs so ideas From idea to action, excuse me. So ideas, I’m going to read a few of the thoughts here for us to get going, Colin.
So ideas are worthless. Acting on them is what is valuable. So I think we’ve all heard people, or maybe you’ve even said it yourself, I know I have, like, oh, that was my idea. Well, that’s all fine. But if you’re not doing something with that idea, it really doesn’t mean anything. So, here’s some other tips I see, Colin.
I just want to mention, and then, um, you can tell us a little bit more here, is share your ideas with everyone. Colin, I, I think that’s not typical for how a lot of people think about their ideas. They’re very nervous about people stealing them. They might be nervous, or, or… You know, about people ridiculing them.
So, like, what are, what were you thinking? And why are you telling us to share our ideas with everyone? And how do we get our idea into motion? Yeah, and I actually caveat by saying, well, not actually everyone, because obviously the Winklevoss twins, uh, you know, we don’t want a situation where, uh, you replicate what happened in that story with Facebook, where they had shared it with others and then…
The other people took the idea and ran with it, and they didn’t run with it, and, and whatnot. So, I do suggest, though, that you share it with as many people as you can who are in your trusted circle. Uh, don’t hold back. Uh, vetting your idea is absolutely critical. You might think it’s the best thing. Uh, Augustine was talking a little bit about this, but you might think it’s the best thing in the world, but it’s not.
It may not be. It may be it may not be but you’re not going to know Unless you vet it with everybody with a trusted group of people around you and uh, The vast majority of people aren’t going to steal your ideas uh, the Uh, the key here is is really to get a good group of people around you You don’t want the naysayers And you don’t want the yaysayers Okay You want because the naysayers are going to always say no no no when I started doing My, uh, entrepreneurship in 1993 started launching companies, but the people on my university, all my friends were saying, you’re crazy.
You should not do that. You should just become a lawyer, make lots of money. You’re not going to make any money doing this. And I, and admittedly, I did start with, you know, selling, working on the farm and selling vegetables. So. Uh, it wasn’t exactly the most fancy of businesses, but it was a start. It gave me the funding that I needed to to do the next businesses.
So, you know, I do think it’s important to vet your idea. I want to talk a little bit about a failure that I had, Michele. Around ideas to action back in 2006, we had a publicly traded company and we traveled around the world and we sold email and web hosting services to, uh, telecoms all over the world.
We also have a I. T. Services company of 800 employees in the Ukraine and my partners and I were sitting in a dash, uh. Which is a cabin in Ukraine and this was 2006 and we were complaining about, again, back to that problem, we were complaining about, Oh, every time we travel anywhere, we get out of the meeting and we cannot get a taxi.
Why don’t we come up with an app where you press one button and the taxi, you’ll see the taxi and it will start to approach you on a GPS and it will get to your location and pick you up. We even called the company MyYellowButton, and, uh, we registered the domain name, and then that’s where it stopped.
Two years later, three years later, Uber came out, Lyft came out, and you know the history there. Instead, we developed, we used our resources because we had a company called Brisk Mobile to develop games for the iPad, and we, we, we had an idea. We talked about the idea. We even registered a domain name. Which a lot of entrepreneurs do, and probably a lot of people in the audience are thinking, yeah, I register a lot of domain names, don’t I?
Right? For different ideas. But we never acted on it. We never took the next steps. We never actually, um, developed an MVP, or patented the idea, or trademarked, or did any of those actions you need to do to move the business forward. Um, so that’s just one of the failures, Michele, that I, I, you know, I remember of.
Having a great idea, but not acting on it. And today, I still have the domain name, by the way. Yeah, go ahead. Anybody want to buy a domain name? Yeah, there you go. Um, I just wanted to interject, um, when you mentioned that earlier, Michele, about what I coined as analysis paralysis. Um, I have a similar scenario.
I think it was back in 1998. I was thinking about, back then, computers, they used to give you bundles. And back then, the whole idea was putting a credit card reader. And I went through the whole, and I had the diagram out there, of buying movie tickets online. Uh, again, analysis paralysis, three years later, Fandango comes out.
Um, It right now, what you said just got me because it was a missed opportunity. Um, but then again, I’ve learned from that. And one of the things that I take opportunity now is when there is an opportunity out there or something that is a need, I will try to understand if I could add value in the process.
And then what Colin mentioned and what I alluded to yesterday is, uh, have a trusted advisor, have the network or the support network of whom you can bounce ideas. Nowadays, a lot of the things we do is we put a NDA out there and have it signed, but the whole process of vetting your idea to a certain point.
Not with the world, but with trusted advisors gives you a better soundboard. And, um, I don’t want to say there’s less risk, but it’s more risk tolerant to take that opportunity ahead. Yeah, I agree. And, you know, one of the things that, um, I often encourage any startup, if they want to take their idea to action, join an incubator.
You know, I do a, uh, a session about every two months, two, three months at NSU and we have a group of 12, uh, startups. A number of them are students. A number of them, and by the way, you don’t have to be a student at NSU to go. It’s the Allen Levan Center Incubator Program. I’m telling you, it sells out every time.
You should apply for it. It’s absolutely free. Absolutely free. And you get 10 experts over 10 weeks helping you launch your idea. Uh, the lady in the book who, um, we talk about in perfecting the pitch, she actually teaches at this cohort as well on obviously on pitching and it’s phenomenal what you can get for free and they even offer free legal services.
Understand this free legal services. This is insane. Three weeks ago we were on interviewing on this show Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed. On this podcast, which is really a live show. It’s not a podcast, although you might be listening to it in podcast, but it’s a live show. We were interviewing, uh, the lady who is the CEO of score 10, 000 volunteers in the United States.
You’re going to want to hear this. The mentors are free, absolutely free. You can go to score and get a free mentor. They have done a study and they found that you can increase your chances of success by three times by having a mentor. That’s what we’re talking about here. Startups, you are not alone.
Founders. You are not alone. It takes a village to launch a startup and you can get resources. You can get help. You can take your idea to action by simply signing up to a free incubator program in your local community. You can Google it. They tend to be connected to a lot of the universities. The one in South Florida is called the Alan Levin Center.
But that’s, you know, that’s probably one of the biggest steps you can make in your life. Surround yourself with good people. You know, I know in the eighties, it was all about launching your startup out of a garage. It’s no longer that it’s, it’s about getting into an incubator, even a shared office space.
And then, and then, and then networking with others, you know, they’re going to help you find funding. They’re going to help you with government funding. They’re going to help you with so many different components we’ve done. We did a show, if you search for it on the internet, Startup Club Incubator. We did a show with the, uh, the CEO of the Allen Levan Center.
And he called it the Disney Land or Disney World of Entrepreneurship. It really is. You can just go in there. If you want a desk or whatever, you pay 100 a month or 150. I don’t know what it is. Very cheap. Uh, but if you don’t have the money for that, they still have a free incubate program. So that’s, you know, that’s interesting.
Uh, I don’t know if anyone on, on, on stage wants to comment. Cause we’re going to sort of do popcorn style here. Uh, and we’re sort of jumping through different sections of the, the, the start, uh, phase of your business on, on, uh, the start on the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. Uh, I think Michele, we’re going to need to break this into two.
This particular show needs to be broken into two sessions because there’s just too much material in seven chapters to get through in an hour and I feel like we’ll do it at the service like the one thing my CEO coach always told me was that quality over quantity don’t try to jam too much into every strategic planning session or every show and you know I think if we try to jam in seven chapters into this one show we barely got out of chapter one already I mean it’s it’s it’s too much I agree you But let’s give Jack, if you want to talk, Jack, would you like to say anything?
I’m just responding to you guys, your awesomeness. Colin, congratulations on your book and stuff. And I, um, I’m so, I feel like I’m just getting started. And I’ve been, I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years.
You know what I’m saying? It’s like… I hear ya. I’m more excited. I’m more excited today about the possibilities being an entrepreneur. I’m more excited today than I’ve ever been in my entire career. And I started at 25 and now I’m in my 60s. And there’s never been a better time for a new person to even think about starting up a business.
And like Colin said, and this is so true, and I know this because of experience, when you have an accountability plan, you increase your odds of success. You take it out of the gutter of like 10 percent and you bring it up to over 90%. The problem is most people lose in business because they don’t have a serious accountability plan.
And having that is, it’s, it’s the holy grail to businesses that succeed. That’s all folks. Absolutely. Uh, I couldn’t agree with you more. And thank you for that. Jack, the book release. This happened on Tuesday. Uh, we hit number one bestseller in three categories on Amazon. We just were told today that the initial 1, 500 run, uh, there are only 115 books left, physical books, uh, left for purchase.
And then there’s another 2, 000 run that they, they, they, that Forbes went to press about, uh, or they started the process to go to press about a week ago, but that’s not going to be ready until November 1st. So. Uh, that is an issue and, uh, but there is Kindle and, uh, Audible is not out yet either. Audible was completed and we have, uh, we have a gentleman who, Robert Graham, who does, he did Budweiser commercials and he’s a famous, uh, voice over for books.
And he actually, uh, agreed to do Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, uh, and he did a phenomenal job. I did hear yesterday that Apple had their, uh, iBook, audio iBook came out yesterday. So, you can get, if you’re really desperate to get the audio, that’s one way to get it. But Audible will be out likely next week, uh, and, uh, we’re looking forward to that.
We’re looking forward to hearing that as well. Now, that being said, let’s get practical. Let’s get real, real practical right now. Let’s figure out what is it, some actual actions you can take to take your idea To market or to get just get your idea to get so you got your idea now, right, Jack and August and you got your idea.
You’re ready to go. What’s the next thing I do? Well, I’ll tell you what I do. I register a domain name. That’s probably the first thing I do. Actually, it may be the second. I’ll tell you why, because I made this mistake before I actually go to the test database in candidates. The nuance database. I go to the trademark database, and you can just simply Google Tess database.
I search that database for the name of the company that I’m thinking about. And I do that because I want to make certain that when I launch a business, I’m not violating someone else’s trademark. Now let me tell you how important this is. I was working with a company about two years ago. And, uh, we discovered…
I asked him, did you look at the database for trademarks? No. He came out with it. So we open the, uh, browser or open the database up and we, by the way, it takes 10 seconds. It’s absolutely free. Come on. Why wouldn’t you do this? Right? We go into the database. We type in the database, the name. And up pops, uh, Simmons Corporation, uh, uh, uh, Mattress Corporation.
And they were selling weighted blankets and they had a patent. They had a trademark on blankets. Oh my gosh. You have to be kidding me on this particular name. They’d spent a year building a brand around this. Well, we, we, you know, we brainstormed, we came up with a new name. It was the name, new name, name of the new company is dream hug.
By the way, it still exists today and they sell medical products. But it was very costly for them, for that organization, because they had invested a lot in a brand and then it blew up. Okay, so, what’s the idea to action? Simply go to the Trademark Database, search it, it’s free. Now you can do more advanced trademark searches with lawyers.
And this is where I get into um, a little bit of a discussion or maybe even a disagreement with some of the lawyers out there. They say, oh, it’s necessary to do that. Because technically the database is not updated, you know, instantly. So you often, you know, you could have a seven day lag or something like that.
So lawyers will do more intensive searches. Um, I’m not going to give legal advice here, but I will say I don’t do that. I just risk it. And I run with that database search and it’s, I’ve never had a problem in my life and it costs me nothing. And then I go to register the domain name. I go to go daddy or name cheap or.
Two cows, whatever company is, I register the domain name. Uh, and then I begin to think about, uh, the, the idea and, and, and the, the, how do I take it to market? We’re going to get in a little bit more about that in a minute. Before I do that, Michele, Augustine or Jack, do you want to talk a little bit about what are some specific action items you take once you have your idea?
Um, I could jump out there. And from, oh, before I say that, Colin, I just bought your book. Okay, so, uh, I hope you didn’t buy the physical one. I’m joking. I’m joking. I order it. It’s going to be here tomorrow. All right. All right. You got one of the, if it, if it’s the physical book, you got one of the last ones remaining.
And by the way, it’s the first edition print. Okay, great. Right. So it’s very cool. So if I ever see, I’ll definitely sign it. And we’re actually numbering them. So it’s interesting. I’m down in south Florida. Oh my gosh. So you’re going to have to come to the book signing at Barnes and Noble. I live down in, um, out in Kendall in South Pasadena.
Okay, we’re in Fort Lauderdale. Yeah, we’re a few minutes away. Yeah, you’ve got to come to the book signing. We’re doing a Barnes Noble, um, book signing. And, um, can you send me a message or an email at hello at startup. club? We’d love to get you an invite. Oh, perfect. I appreciate it. It would be great to after our, I know the after party is sold out already, but we’ll make certain we’ll get you on the list at my house as well.
It’d be a lot of fun to have you there. I’d love to say, I love connecting with people like yourself on this kind of stuff. So, all right, Jack, very cool. Very cool. Awesome stuff. Go ahead. Uh, I was just going to say, um, yes. Um, when I first launched a company a long time ago, um, first thing that we did and, and we went through the, the, the process where a lawyer and they did a domain name, uh, not a domain name.
There was no domain names back then yet, but it was the trademark. And the process, uh, back then starting out, man, I thought it was expensive because we didn’t have all the capital for that, but lessons learned, um, I do agree. Uh, one of the things that is critical is just do a trademark search. Um, I did that a long time ago with a domain name that I actually.
But never did anything and it’s still sitting there. Uh, but just in case, uh, for me, it’s more of a peace of mind. And recently, one of the first things I’ve told friends of mine, when they’re, you know, talking to me as a trusted advisor, I just go out there and say, did you get a domain name? Cause one of the things that really happens is trying to get a domain name that actually.
Goes with your brand or the audience that you’re trying to capture Sometimes become impossible and you don’t want to have a name that does not mean anything So it’s gonna take a while and sometimes it comes up in a matter of seconds but there’s so much time that you spend just looking and having and then The other thing is I say, when you get a domain name, focus on getting those domain names with the extensions that are going to be relevant to the audience or the marketplace that you’re going to be.
So that’s like the new lingo out there. Make sure you get domain name, but yes, those are critical steps that you want to do. And one of the things, and you alluded to it before is ensure that you target to get that MVP. Now, when you go and target an MVP, just be careful. That you don’t accelerate yourself and then you find yourself trying to get a working prototype.
Uh, And you may move into the technical side in the development, even before you’ve been able to sort of like position your idea a little bit more in the marketplace and what opportunities you have to have, which I imagine that’s the next point you may want to go into. Absolutely well said you you’re doing nice transitions for us.
So naturally. Thank you. So. To Augustine’s point, Colin, I’m reading one of the call outs here. It says, don’t bring in investors too soon. I thought we all wanted money and investors. Colin, why, why are you telling us this? Yeah, I mean, I see this on Shark Tank. I know, I know, I know there’s a lot of benefits to be on Shark Tank.
Okay. Uh, but when I see entrepreneurs give up 30 percent of the company for 50, 000, uh, that kills me. You are literally signing up to a tax of 30 percent on your profits for the rest of your ownership life of that company. And to me, it’s almost criminal that this exists. Now, if you, that’s the only option you have, I understand.
But we’re going to want to try to think about how dilution.
In the early, early, early stages, see investors don’t like to invest in startups for the most part, very hard to find an investor who would love loves to put it on, uh, you know, put a number on, uh, it’s like that game roulette, right? You know, a startup is like a number of one of 40. In fact, actually the odds of success of a startup are probably, you know, you hear about 90 percent of startups fail.
Right. So it’s a very small number of startups actually succeed. So that’s an issue. But, um, but the more that you can prove your concept, even if you get MVP, even if you get your first 10 customers, even if you get first 100 customers, the more you go along that scale, the higher the valuation, the lower the dilution, and the better chances of closing funding.
I know it sounds almost counterintuitive. But the fact of the matter is investors want to make less money, but they want to take less risk. So obviously you hear, Oh yeah, they want to make a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong. Of course they do. Right. Um, the reality is they want to invest in concepts that have been proven and they want their money to be put into the startup as an accelerant.
It’s like putting gasoline on a fire. That’s. The key to raising money as a startup, Michele, I do that sort of address your question, I think. Yeah, it did. Thank you for that. And, you know, I just want to point out too, right, like not all money is the same. It’s really important that we get the right investors.
Otherwise, we’re just going to spend all of our time, you know, trying to prove our worth or just, you know, put out fires and, ah, gosh, that can be a full time job in its own. So I think we need to be. As you said, very careful about when we get investors in and who we get in calling. Yes. You know, when I put money in my wife’s hand, it’s not the same as like when I put money in my hand,
I, I love my wife very much, but I invest all my money into my business. My wife is investing all her money into her just having fun and all that kind of good stuff, which is great. But the money part is. Like the money part is something that we have this thing upside down because the money part is never the issue in the beginning.
The money part is always the issue at the end. But if we get this equation backwards of like how to scale a business and grow what we have to get before the money because it’s just cause and effect. The effect is the money. And, and, and so what we do today, the things we’re doing today is an exercise. Is what causes success in our business and growth in our business.
And so I, I said to my brother one time, I said to my brother, you know, I probably would have done much better if I wasn’t married
because, because I would have invested so much more into the growth of my business. And I don’t have to, but I would have liked to, but the point is this money, money can do a lot for us, but money is not what does it for us. You don’t need money to succeed. You money is not more important than your daily method of operation than things that you learn.
And so Colin, let me add this to you, to the, to the talk here about startups. You don’t need a money. You don’t need money. I’m talking from my viewpoint. You don’t need money To start a company, you need content, you need a call to action and you need conversions. And that’s all you need when you have content, when you can talk and create content and you can add like a call to action to whatever it is you’re trying to sell, and then you can keep doing that.
And then create conversions. That’s all you need. That’s what causes the money. So you don’t need money, you need content. And so, content is king. Cashflow is right next to it. That’s all folks. Yeah, I feel like you’re jumping into chapters 17, 18, and 19. We’re really moving along here. But um, but this idea of Go ahead, Augustin.
It was just a question. Uh, we’re talking about percentages. Um, rule of thumb. I mean, when you start out, you know, what a person that I spoke to is like, you know, They own the company. They don’t want to invest, but they don’t want to give out bigger percentages. Uh, normally, you know, if you’re looking for funding, you need to have different individuals in the company.
So you may have the founder, you may have the CTO, obviously, you know, to rule in and pull in the investor and get some equity as part of the development from the CT from the. technology company, you may want to say, okay, I’m going to give you maybe 8%. For the role of CTO and maybe I’ll put you in as a co founder because it looks good.
However, you have advisors and then you have other individuals that may be giving some funding in the process. Of course, everything is based on the valuation of the company when it goes out. But rule of thumb, what type of percentages are we looking at? Maybe 1 percent 5%? I mean, I know it’s Subjective, but you know, if you give up 1 percent now, maybe when the company does good, that will turn out to be something positive.
Uh, but then again, you don’t want to sell your shirt for the future. Any, um, perspective that you could share there? Okay, so first thing I will say is I love where you’re going. Startups, we do not have enough money to compete for talent that Fortune 5000 companies have. That’s the case. There’s things we can do.
We can make, um, I call it in the book, pay your people with love, ownership, and freedom. Uh, love is really about recognizing their greatness, their contributions, who they are, their development, everything about them. Uh, ownership is giving them an ownership in the startup. Uh, and I’ll come and come back to that and freedom is making it as flexible as possible, more flexible.
their life, where they, where they want to work, when they want to work, whatever it is, as long as they get the job done, you’re happy. And a lot of fortune 5, 000 companies don’t typically operate that way. And you’ll be surprised at how many people who work for your company versus one of those bigger companies, especially if they have a purpose and they believe in your purpose, but coming back to ownership ownership, uh, typically the rule of thumb for a, uh, technology company is you is if you’re early, early stage.
You generally don’t want to give up more than 15%. VCs Don’t like it. If you give up too many, so it’s a two larger percentage of the company early on. I typically would go with about 10 percent on a company. I had one company when it’s seven and a half percent. We had an options allocation for, for the company because it was, was, was dot club and we had raised 12 million dollars for the company and the outcome was pretty certain, uh, but it was a much lower sort of, I don’t want to call it, uh, it wasn’t a risky trade.
Right. It was very, it was pretty reliant. You had a license, you’re going to monetize it and move on. Right. And whereas some companies, if it’s a concept, an MVP, you’ve got a software platform, it’s completely new. You might have to give up bigger pieces, but typically the rule of thumb is, is a 10 to 15 percent and you generally don’t want to violate that if you can avoid it.
Now, this is important. You mentioned giving, you know, percentage of shares. We don’t want to gift shares. What we want to do is we want to give options. Gifting shares can have taxable consequences, uh, and also you’re losing control of the company when you do that. You want to give options in a company.
And options are based at a certain strike price. And sometimes you’ll set that strike price, you know, you might have a concept but you’ll still set it at a million dollars. Because you want them to really see that, that they have to work to, to get a benefit from this. They’re not just going to get it from ground zero.
Uh, but don’t get too greedy on that one. Cause I’ve seen entrepreneurs sometimes say, well, we’ll give you a strike price of 20 million and they don’t have any revenue and you’re just demotivating the employees. You really want to motivate the employees, but you should definitely have a higher strike price.
Sometimes an early startup’s option plans can be complicated, so I often suggest that you consider simply doing a, um, a, a, uh, a bonus sharing plan, uh, or if you hit a particular stage gate, uh, which is a point in time in the future that you’ve set that is considered a success point. Once you hit that stage gate, then at that point, um, then you can give a bonus.
Um, and that stage gate might include additional financing as well. So that, um, that might be something as well. We’re covering a lot of ground really quickly. I know we were talking today about start, uh, and you know, you take your idea, take it to action. You know, one of the best things you can probably do is simply put together a business plan.
Earlier I mentioned that we have a cohort that I do at NSU and we do a four sticky note business plan. This is in the book. We spend a half hour on the four sticky note business plan preparing it. Let me tell you, 30 minutes. That’s it. And that sticky plan is four sticky notes. Why sticky notes? Because they stick.
You put them on the board. They stick up there. Four sticky notes. One title story, one people, one money, and one systems. And in your story, you’re going to want to come up with your purpose, the who, the X factor, which is something that makes you different, and your first stage gate. First stage gate is a point in time I mentioned in the future where you can actually, uh, measure results.
So I’m going to have my MVP ready by this particular time. I’m going to have 10 customers. on my platform by this particular time. It’s smart, specific, measurable, attainable, uh, relate, uh, relevant and time bound. Uh, this is in the book. We’re covering so much ground. We’re never going to be able to cover it in a quality way.
Uh, so what I’m going to suggest, Michele, is let’s keep the start section alive next session, uh, our next podcast, our next live show on Clubhouse. Again, we’re not just a traditional podcast. We’re actually a live show on clubhouse. And, uh, you can join us if you’re listening to the same podcast every Friday, two o’clock Eastern, join us on startup club, the serial entrepreneur secrets revealed.
Well, Colin, we only have five more minutes left and I think it’s time for us to, you know, we have a important announcement we’d like to make. So Colin. I just want to tell all the members here when we pick up again next week, we’re going to start with catching the big wave. Now, this is a particularly, I think, really, um, topical, timely chapter.
Um, I really hope that everybody can join. We’ll be here at 2 p. m. Eastern time next Friday. And we’re going to talk about… When is the timing good? How, what are strategies at different phases of the timing? You know, especially if it’s a technical product. So we’re going to hit it, you know, strong, particularly Michele with, with AI.
You know, in the book we talk about that. We talk about how chat GPT and AI are going to be the The, um, the major paradigm catalyst in 2020s, like it will be bigger in my opinion, AI is going to be bigger than the internet itself, which was started in the nineties, obviously. And we’ll talk about how as a, as a startup, you can identify the wave, catch the wave, ride that wave.
And actually win in that wave. And there’s some key moves that you can make. And we get some of that from Geoffrey Moore. And, and from my own experience using Geoffrey Moore’s theories. In business as well. Excellent. So, Kala, why don’t you roll into our next announcement? We’re actually going to start doing shows on Entrez.
So, tell us a little bit about that, Kala, and how folks can find us. Startup Club is evolving. We love Clubhouse. We continue to love Clubhouse. We’re going to do our show every Friday here, uh, at 2 o’clock Eastern. Uh, and we’re also looking at going to working with some other platforms like Entrez. Entrez is a new platform for entrepreneurs.
Uh, and we’re going to do our first show that particular show and podcast is going to be called start, scale, exit, repeat. We’ll do it once a month, the first, uh, um, Friday at three o’clock every month, uh, on Entree, uh, and that’s going to start next, the next two minutes, three minutes, right? Yeah. So we got to get moving here.
Uh, but to join us live on Entree, it’s an app, E N T R E, it’s new. Uh, and it seems to be taking off and then next Tuesday at two o’clock, we are looking at doing a linkedin live, our first startup club linkedin live as well. So we’re, we’re beginning to think multi platform here. Well, how do we, how do we help more people, uh, by going beyond clubhouse?
We love clubhouse and we’re going to continue to work with clubhouse, but, uh, we want to find ways to expand and deliver the message. Uh, I can’t thank everyone enough who have. Bought this book. We were absolutely shocked that on Tuesday that it became a number one best seller on the day it launched in three different categories on Amazon and the book itself is is actually selling out which is weird and we had a Conversation Michele and I with the Forbes who published the book saying like how is it possible you they’re just not used to this kind of demand and Uh, and we know that a lot of people will buy Kindle.
A lot of people will buy the Audible. The Audible is not out yet. It’ll be out next week. Uh, but at the same time, the physical book has drawn some attention. Some people have actually discovered that it’s, it’s really a reference guide. It’s simple. It’s written for, literally wrote it for ADHD. Those people with ADHD.
Listen, 30 years as a serial entrepreneur, 10 years writing this book, two years with the team at Startup Club, over 200 interviews. We put a lot into this book. I got a call from Gerald Jenkins last week Outta the blue. He’s the guy who started the Independent book Awards, uh, called Axiom and IPPY, and he called me up and he started it in 1990.
60. He says, in 30 years I’ve never seen a book, uh, that has so many accolades and it, and, and looks so good. How did you do it? Well, it is a little bit more expensive than most books, but you don’t, you don’t pay that fee if you buy the Kindle. It doesn’t. Come across that way when you buy the Kindle, uh, you know, you pay the same fee or the, or the audible.
Uh, but the, the physical book is a little more expensive because we, we sort of broke every convention there, Jack, I can see your fire. Like we broke every convention. We got to launch on Entree. Sorry. If you want to keep the conversation going, download the app Entree and come on over. We’re going to launch start scale, exit, repeat on entree in one minute.
Thank you all very much. And if you love the book, please give us a review on Amazon. That is a way of paying it forward so others could benefit from it as well. Thank you very much. All right. Thank you everyone.