Execution and Scaling Risks – Part 3 in the Managing Risk Series

“How do you know it’s the right time to scale?” is a question we get all the time and for good reasons. There are many factors involved, from economic cycles and your market’s appetite for investment to competitive pressures and capital availability, just to name a few. These are both within and beyond your control and change often.
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What does not change is your need to have a problem, solution, and business model that fit together tightly; a process for consistently evaluating the results of your actions; and a well thought out plan for scaling based on continued success. Yes, there are many stories of successful businesses which bet the farm and beat the odds. These are still around, so we hear about them. We also hear about the grand investment flops where hundreds of millions of dollars were lost. We don’t hear as much about the far more numerous failures where unproven sales practices, marketing campaigns, or product designs were replicated with little success and lots of expense.

In this, the third part of a multi-part series on managing risk in high-growth technology companies, we’ll discuss common errors made when scaling rapidly and discuss a way to manage those risks. Read the full article.

Business Model Risks – Part 2 in the Managing Risk Series

Business Model Risks

Achieving Product/Market Fit is a critical milestone for every new product. Many companies never reach this stage. The stage where companies seek a path to sustainable growth and long-term profitability. Product/Market Fit is to be celebrated, but it is not a guarantee of success. Once you have proved Product/Market Fit, the heavy lifting begins.
In this, the second part of a multi-part series on managing risk in high-growth technology companies, we’ll explore the steps after Product/Market fit to test various business models and…

David Brunel Addresses 10.10.10 Audience

David Brunel Addresses 10.10.10 Audience

On March 16, 2016, Denver’s 10.10.10 Speaker Series hosted David Brunel, CEO at Biodesix. The crowd at Industry was a broad selection of Colorado entrepreneur and healthcare advocates, many of whom are also volunteers for the 2016 10.10.10 program focused on...

10.10.10 2016 Volunteer Kickoff

10 Proven CEOs; 10 Wicked Problems; 10 Days in Denver!

Last night, I attended the kickoff for the 2016 version of the 10.10.10 program at Galvanize – Golden Triangle in Denver. The program is designed to bring a large, diverse group of experts from around the country to Denver for 10 days to rapidly evaluate a set of difficult problems and find solutions.

Like the 2015 inaugural program, the 2016 version will focus on health.

Is 2016 the Year of Just Staying Alive?

The discussion about a bubble have continued for over a year and with the early 2016 drop in worldwide stock prices and economic sentiment, many folks are weighing in on what it means to venture fundraising and how companies should react. Here is a brief summary of three recent articles on the topic.

In Dear Startup: Here’s How to Stay Alive by Heidi Roizen in her Adventures in Entrepreneurship! blog tells entrepreneurs the game has changed, tough times are here, and it’s time to hunker down and extend your runway.

“When a market turns, we tend to see the signs earlier than the entrepreneurs working on the front lines. This market? I’d say it has turned. It is going to be hard (or impossible) for many of today’s startups to raise funds. And I think it will get worse before it gets better”, Roizen states.

Here is Roizen’s list of behaviors for staying alive when funding goes dark:

Exponential Value of Internal Compensation

Getting the most from scarce resources is the key to success for every startup. This often comes down to how to get the best people to do the right things at the right time. Unfortunately, with limited cash, a need to spread ownership thinly, and a huge list of things to get done, early stage companies are challenged with getting the right skills in the right quantities.

First of all, let’s examine the resources available to recruit and motivate people and then explore a few different ways to apply these scarce assets.

Managing Risk – Defining Product and Market Risks

Risk and risk tolerance are important concepts for entrepreneurs and investors. Many people believe early-stage investors, venture capitalists, and successful company founders are people willing to accept a high degree of risk. I’ve found this to be far from the truth and, in fact, most often value is created by those intensely focused on identifying and efficiently managing risk.

In this five-part series on managing risk in high-growth technology companies, we’ll cover:

  1. Defining risks around Product/Market Fit
  2. Execution and Scaling Risks
  3. Identifying and quantifying risks
  4. Risks management strategies
  5. Prioritizing and optimizing risk exposure

Nesmith’s Notewothy Stories of the Week

Articles Worthy of a Growth Manager’s Time How to Dodge Company Breakdown as You Scale By Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable Let’s begin with a wonderful article by Christa Quarles, the CEO of OpenTable found on First Round Capitals’ tremendously successful Review...

Knowing When You’re Ready to Scale

It was near the end of the third day of our annual planning meeting. Matt joined the meeting late, listened for a few minutes as we tightened up the language around our big objectives for the year. As he took control of the meeting, Matt described the opportunity in front of us and asked each of us to go to the board and write what we thought our revenue goal for the year should be.

We’d just grown annual revenue from $8.6 million to over $20 million. Our bottom-up planning approach suggested adding $15 million on top of the $11 million added last year would be challenging, but doable. Doubling was possible, at least according to the arithmetic…

What’s in a number?

$1 billion. Yes, that’s a big number, but it’s not as valuable as $1 billion was in 1999 or even last year, so why the special name for private companies reaching this valuation? Brad Feld suggests the push for a billion dollar valuation may not be the best way to create long term value and may very well leave the employees and investors with much less

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