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Five Kinds of Startup: Digital
Packaging, Access, Adoption, Tailoring, Evolution
by Joe Procopio
12.1.16
The last two installments of the Five Kinds of Startup Series have been cake. I can pretty much explain what a Product Startup does in four words: Make something, sell something. The same thing is true for Service Startups: Do something, get paid.

This is not true for all startups. And it's especially not true for Digital Startups.

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

I debated calling this category Information Startups or Data Startups, because I believe those terms make it easier to understand the type. But ultimately, those are really just subcategories of a greater whole.

For example, the most obvious (and overdone) example of an information startup is a social network: Facebook. If you think of a photo of someone's lunch as a computer file broken down into millions of bits of data and passed over the Internet tubes to be accessed by potentially billions of people, you've got the components of information, data, and content startups. So the Digital Startup is really about collecting, packaging, and delivering those ones and zeros, whether they form a jpg file or a massive database of sales information.

This means that Digital Startups are a bit of a riddle. So before we dive in, let's make sure we're all talking about the same thing.

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Five Kinds of Startup: Service
Expertise, Viability, People, Overhead, Scale
by Joe Procopio

When we talk about the ingredients for successful startups, one of the primary rules is: Find a problem a lot of people have and solve it. Product Startups, as we discussed last time, take the long road to complete that journey. It's a daunting undertaking to try to solve a problem with a thing. It's a much more direct route to solve a problem with people.

We live in a society of perpetual progress, and this progress continues to create opportunities for doing things for other people that they can't or don't want to do themselves, because they're either lacking in the latest knowledge or they're just short on time.

So if you're really good at something, you can probably create a Service Startup around it, as long as you can do it more cheaply and more quickly than they (or anyone else) can.

This is not as easy it sounds. You may be an expert in computer software, accounting, plumbing, interior decorating, or shopping. You may be the person to whom everyone runs when they have a problem they can't solve. You may even have a part-time gig making a little side money off people who find your expertise worth paying for.

The big question is: Can you make a business out of it?

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

Service startups are fairly common. They spring from a wide range of industries, talents, and offerings, and they usually start out as a single operator who realizes he or she can do all of those things their employer is currently doing for them -- finding new business, providing access to equipment and training -- with a shot at more control, as well as better salary, benefits, and working conditions.

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Five Kinds of Startup: Product
Invention, Construction, Sales, Delivery, Support
by Joe Procopio

So you've got it. You've nailed it. You've discovered the missing link that's going to change the game, the world, and millions of lives.

OK, first thing, someone has probably already done it. But don't let that stop you.

There are a million kinds of startups out there and a million more that haven't made their way off paper yet. Each one is unique, sure, but deep down, there really aren't any completely new ideas. The trick to startup is to get as close to a new idea as possible and then execute on that idea faster and better than anyone else.

There are different ways to accomplish that, and the differences are rooted in what kind of startup you've started.

In this series, I'll spend a lot of time talking about the startup lifecycle. What that means is not so much the journey from idea to reality (see Five Stages) or from garage to IPO (see Five Funding Sources) -- it's really more about the journey from the birth of whatever it is you're offering until that offering is a market success.

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

Product startups are what we think of when we think of traditional garage-based, mad-inventor startups. If you're building something that you sell and deliver, you're a product startup. The right ones usher in sweeping changes in the way we do things -- like the smartphone, the search engine, and the electric car.

Keep in mind, however, that the iPhone was not the first smartphone, Google was not the first search engine, and the Tesla was not the first electric car. Far from it. I'll say it again, there aren't many new ideas out there, but the three products I just mentioned were done faster and better, admittedly with a little right-place-at-the-right-time magic for good measure.

Entrepreneurs make some classic mistakes along the product startup lifecycle. There are a number of things you must do at each step that, while doing them won't necessarily guarantee success, they will at least reduce the risk of failure.

Let's talk about those steps.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Venture Capital
Accelerators & Incubators, Seed Stage, Early Stage, Expansion, Exit
by Joe Procopio

There's so much to talk about with Venture Capital funding, so here's what I won't be talking about.

I'm not going to discuss all the varieties of financing that can be a part of VC funding, like bridge financing or down rounds. I'm going to stick to the basics and compress a few things. I like to cover the entire universe at a high-level, so you know what the game looks like. There will be plenty of time to drill down into specifics here and elsewhere.

I'm not going to give any advice on how to find, contact, or pitch VCs. That's been done to death and, in my opinion, there's no single right way.

I'm not going to talk about the funding process, i.e. term sheets, preferred shares, amended articles of incorporation, and so on. Why? See the previous two things I'm not going to talk about.

I'm not going to tell you whether or not you SHOULD focus on VC, but I will tell you this:

Fundraising, especially when it involves VC, is a long, painful, time-sucking process. It is a full time job. It will drain your resources and your sanity. It is not a measure of success, but it can pave the way to success. It can be dangerous, depending on who ends up with their hands on which control levers. It can be life-changing, when it comes at the right time for the right reasons.

If you don't know whether or not you need VC funding, you don't need it, because you're not ready. You should know exactly how much you need to raise and exactly what you're going to do with the money. You should already have relationships in place at a handful of Venture Capital firms before you make the decision.

But if you've already run the investor gauntlet of Customers, Self, Friends and Family, and Angel, and if you know you need VC funding, and if you know who you're going to reach out to first, second, and fiftieth, then it's time. Here's what the universe looks like:

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Venture Capital investors are firms that manage funds that invest in startups. VC is what we think of when we think of traditional startup investment, and their money is often referred to as institutional capital (which mostly means the money is not coming from a single individual).

VC firms are usually staffed in a chain with Partners at the top. Limited Partners are investors in the fund, while General or Managing Partners are investors in the fund and also run it. Venture Partners and Principals find and make deals for the fund, and may or may not be invested. Associates are at the bottom of the chain. They create relationships and do research, but often don't have the authority to green light a deal on their own.

Some VCs will invest small amounts as early as the Seed Stage, alongside the founder, Friends and Family, and any Angel investors. However, most VCs won't invest until there is progress beyond the Seed Stage, what's called a Series A round. From there, additional rounds will be called Series B, Series C, and so on.

VCs are always looking for a return on their investment, either through the sale of shares in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or via merger and acquisition, where the company is sold to another company or to another financial entity like a Private Equity Fund. Sometimes VCs are bought out in future Series rounds when new VCs come in.

In almost every case, once you're in the VC world, you're not getting out until the company sells, which is called the exit. Oh, you're going to need legal and accounting help on hand during the fundraising process and retain that help through the actual funding.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Angel
Established Angels, Angel Groups, Entrepreneurs, Retail Investors, Investment Crowdfunding
by Joe Procopio

In the prior three installments of the five funding sources series -- and I do recommend that you read all three -- the sources I covered share a common trait in that investing in your startup is not their primary role.

Customers, of course, play a much more vital role as your company's lifeblood. If an investor sours on you, you're in trouble. If your customers sour on you, you're done.

Self is you. And your role is to build the best product and best company that ever existed. Your investment, in terms of cash, will play its part in getting all of that started, but your time, your energy, and your leadership are the most valuable resources you can contribute.

Friends and Family bring their own issues along with their investment, and those issues will mainly revolve around managing your relationship with them as investors. That said, their existing relationship with you -- as friend or family member -- will, in most cases, come first.

With each of the final two funding sources, their primary role is as your investor. There should and most likely will be added value from these sources, in everything from connections to advice to even office space. However, when the documents are all signed, these investors are expecting a return on their investment.

So let's talk about who they are.

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Angel investors are individuals who invest in private companies as a part of, or in lieu of, a portfolio of retail investments, like stocks or real estate.

Angel investors are actually kind of hard to pin down, and thus are sometimes the most overlooked source of capital in startup. This is not surprising though, because it's easy to get confused about the definition of an Angel, their role, and how to find them.

If you think of Angels as people with a lot of money and high risk tolerance, you're not too far off. They invest their own money. They can operate independently or as a part of a group. Some specialize in certain sectors or technologies, while others invest in whatever they think is cool. Some take almost no active role with the startup, others will want to be a formal advisor or even a part of the management team. Some make a lot of investments, others might make only one or a few.

So just about anyone with money can be an Angel, right? Well, that's close.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Friends and Family
Family, Friends, Associates, Network
by Joe Procopio

"Hey Dad, can I borrow $50,000?"

I know. A single sentence that's so wrong on so many levels.

When we talk about Friends and Family investment, there are a lot of landmines to tiptoe around, and most of them have to do with personal circumstances. So let's look at that opening sentence again. We'll break it down and we'll start stepping on landmines. Together.

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

First of all, most people think of Friends and Family investment as an opportunity reserved for an elite few. This is not the case. You don't have to have wealthy parents or run with a Wall Street crowd to tap Friends and Family money. The fact is, a lot of people, including people you know, invest their money one way or another.

And that's what you're after. This isn't a handout, this is an investment. A sale. The exchange of cash for a piece of your company.

You're not likely to luck into a $50,000 windfall -- those dreams of fully funding your startup via a rich uncle or a friend of a friend of a friend are just that, dreams. With Friends and Family investment, you ideally want to raise just enough cash to get to your first customer.

But even if your family and friends have the means to invest, there's the gross part of having to ask. There's always something sketchy-feeling about asking someone you know for money, no matter how much you believe in your ability to create a return on their investment.

Finally, we're going to have to talk about relationships, and it's going to get sticky. If you've ever borrowed from or lent to a friend or family member, you know that the odds of your relationship changing are pretty high, especially during the time that the loan is active. The same relationship dynamics (the rules and the feelings) apply to investment, and you are beholden to these shareholders regardless of how much blood or water is between you.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Self
Out of Pocket, Day Job, Consulting, Co-Founders, Loans
by Joe Procopio

In the last installment of the Five Funding Sources series, we talked about getting money from your customers as your first, earliest, and preferably sole source of funding for your startup.

Now let's talk reality.

I'm kidding. But we're all aware of the fact that starting a company costs money, and if you're relying solely on money from customers, you're going to be restricted in how fast you can grow, especially in the beginning.

Let's face it. Everything costs money. Incorporating your company costs money, developing a product costs money, marketing that product costs money, waking up in the morning costs money. If reason number one why people don't become entrepreneurs is that they fail to act on their ideas, reason number two is that they're unwilling or unable to spend the money necessary to execute on those ideas.

I fall victim to this more often than I'd like. I don't enjoy spending money, even other people's money. I'm frugal by nature, just ask my notoriously under-privileged kids. This frugality has been more of a plus than a minus on my entrepreneurial journey, but it's also made things more difficult, and probably kept me from acting on one or more ideas that could have returned a lot on any initial investment.

So you'll most likely need some money before you get your first customer, or if your future plans cost more to implement than your revenue stream can support. That money is going to have to come from somewhere, and the best place for it to come from is you.

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Self is the next best way to fund your startup after Customers, and self-funding is always going to be a requirement. An entrepreneur should always have some of their own money in their startup, and the more money they put in at the beginning, the better off they'll be at the end.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say you should never go after Friends and Family, Angel, or VC funding without having your own money invested first.

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Five Funding Sources for Startup: Customers
Early Adopters, Licensing, Future, Strategic Partners, Crowd
by Joe Procopio

OK, let's talk about money.

No matter the reasons you embarked on your startup journey, you're going to need fuel for the engine. Ideas, talent, and technology are crucial, but if they don't lead to cash, you'll be wasting them.

It's money. Money is the fuel.

When I talk about funding, I'm going to ignore your intentions as a founder -- in that, I mean I don't care how noble and altruistic your reasons are for doing what you do. Startup street is littered with the burned out carcasses of enterprises whose founders had the best of intentions, but couldn't or wouldn't focus on making their mission sustainable.

Don't let that be you. You need to be funded.

Funding is the most complex part of startup. How, when, and why you get funded is an individual series of choices, and every startup will take a different path. No one strategy is better than another, but you should definitely have a strategy in place before you raise a dime.

Customers are your primary source of funds. I can't state this emphatically enough so I'll just repeat it a number of different ways.

I'm not leading off this series on funding with venture capital or angel investing or friends and family money or even self-funding. While all of those are certainly valid and important, and I'll get to all of them, the value brought by money from all of those sources is completely eclipsed by the value brought by money from customers.

In fact, you can start your company without ever raising money from any of those four other sources. You can't survive without revenue, and you should be in this mindset from the very beginning.

There. I think I beat that to death, and we can move on.

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Five Roles of Startup: Growth
Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community
by Joe Procopio
Growth
The five roles I'm discussing in this series are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and in the early days, two or more of these roles are probably going to be played by the same person.

Up until now, all of the roles we've discussed have been people you bring into the company. Here they are:

Vision -- Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future. These are your leaders, explainers, and decision-makers.

Build -- Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support. These people make the product.

Sales -- Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations. These people sell the product.

Operations -- Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Administration. These people make sure the company is running smoothly and efficiently.

If you lock down these four roles, you are well on your way to building a successful startup that has a very good chance of having a long life. I will say, in all seriousness, that you can stop there, as long as you keep the best people in these roles.

However, if you're building a startup with an intent to be not just good, but amazing -- world-changing, dominating, life-altering, that kind of thing -- you're going to need boosters for your rocket, so to speak.

Filling this final role is what brings a business up to the speeds that we normally associate with the startup stories we see and hear about in the press. But just because you chase growth doesn't necessarily mean you're going to launch your startup into the stratosphere, up there with Google, Facebook, Uber, and the kinds of companies that grow to be worth billions of dollars.

Ultimately, how far you go depends on both how good you are and what you want out of your journey. You don't have to hit a home run -- a triple or a double is what you might want to aim for -- but regardless of how far you want to get, you're going to need to fill this final role.

Growth is the role that propels a startup beyond the limitations of the talent and resources within the company itself. Most of this role is filled with people who don't work for the company directly, but partner with the startup as a key member of the extended team.

The Growth people provide additional resources, including money, advice, connections, services, education, and more, usually in exchange for something else. That something else can be a piece of the startup, a percentage of the revenue, or even cash payment.

Two things to remember about the Growth team. 1) It should be relatively small, no matter how big your startup gets. 2) The individuals on this team should be temporary. Those aren't hard-and-fast rules, but it should be in the back of your mind that almost every member of this team will eventually be replaced, either by someone new or by no one at all because you no longer need what they provide.

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Five Roles of Startup: Operations
HR, Finance, Legal, Administration
by Joe Procopio
Operations
The five roles I'm discussing in this series are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and in the early days, two or more of these roles are probably going to be played by the same person.

The prior three installments in the Five Roles of Startup series were all about getting product out and revenue in. With Vision we set up leadership, with Build we're getting the product made, and with Sales we're putting the product into the hands of customers, the lifeblood of your startup.

You might think that once those three roles are filled, you can just sit back, repeat the cycle over and over, and carve out a lifelong career with maybe a golf membership and a better car than you would have driven otherwise.

I'm here to tell you that you probably can.

You were expecting the opposite, weren't you? Come on, admit it, you thought I was setting you up to slam the door in the face of your dreams.

Sure. Fine. It's no guarantee, but if you can dominate Vision, Build, and Sales, keep your employees motivated as they grow more experienced, stay relevant and unique, keep out of hot water, and continually solve customer problems in a way that makes them happy, you can repeat the cycle until you retire.

No joke, I'm totally cool with you doing that. Chances are, however, that you won't be totally cool with that. At least not for long.

So the final two installments in the Five Roles series are about building a better, faster, stronger company, with less emphasis on the product. The role I'm going to talk about in this lesson is one you need to think about every day. And to be honest, you have to fill this role whether you want to be the biggest company in your industry or you just want to coast.

Operations keeps your startup afloat, tasked with making sure that your company is doing well today and that it's set up to do better tomorrow.

These people are the gears, the nuts and bolts, the heart of the company. These are the folks in charge of finding your employees, keeping an eye on the money, making sure you stay out of trouble, and otherwise helping everyone else focus on their job.

Again, there are probably dozens of specific roles that make up Operations, and the very term can mean different things to different people. However, most of the role breaks down into a few broad, necessary components.

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Five Roles of Startup: Sales
Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations
by Joe Procopio
Sales
1 comment
The five roles I'm discussing in this series are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and in the early days, two or more of these roles are probably going to be played by the same person.

So far we've covered the two roles in startup that focus on turning a great idea into a great product. The Vision people are your leaders, your explainers, your decision-makers, while the Build role defines the team that makes the product.

But even when your startup has built the most awesome product ever, someone has to actually get out there and sell it. And no matter how amazing your offering is, this is not an easy job.

Sales is the role that pushes your product into the hands of paying customers, but this means much more than exchanging money for goods or services. In fact, for most startups, sales is where the grand plans break down, because too few entrepreneurs understand the sales process, and even fewer put a priority on the Sales role.

A common misconception in startup is that once the product is built, the customers will come knocking at your physical and/or digital door, wallets open, ready to purchase. But the famous phrase "Build it and they will come," was never true, regardless of what you've seen in the movies. "Viral sales" is also a myth, in the sense that you have roughly the same odds of creating a viral smash hit as you do of winning the lottery.

Sales must devise a strategy, or a series of strategies really, for reaching your market, educating them, persuading them, negotiating with them, closing the deal, and retaining them. Then all of these events must happen in the shortest possible time frame at a perpetually lower cost, all while figuring out how to get existing customers to buy more product more often.

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Five Roles of Startup: Build
Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support
by Joe Procopio
Build
1 comment
The five roles I'm discussing in this series are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and in the early days, two or more of these roles are probably going to be played by the same person.

In the first installment of this series, I defined what it means to play the Vision role in startup. These are your leaders, your explainers, your decision-makers. While the Vision role might seem the most important, the truth is that every one of the five roles is just as critical as the next.

To illustrate that point, someone has to make the thing you're going to sell. Build is that role, the people who design, make, test, move, and maintain the product. That's what we'll outline here. In future installments, we'll cover the three other roles: Sales, Operations, and Growth. You don't have to dig into all the roles now, but it helps to know what they are.

Build can be difficult because the skills required for this role totally change depending on what kind of product the startup sells. You need a completely different kind of expertise to make software as opposed to soft drinks, or heart rate trackers as opposed to heart medicine.

Furthermore, some startups don't even sell a product, they sell a service. For our purposes, however, a service should be treated as a product in most respects. A service startup should be trying to break new ground and invent new solutions to old problems, whether that's with consulting, photography, pet washing, or whatever.

So the concepts I'm outlining in Build are meant to apply to any kind of startup, regardless of the type of product or service.

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Five Roles of Startup: Vision
Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future
by Joe Procopio
Vision
One of the truest descriptions of an entrepreneur is a person who has to do a lot of different things at the same time. The term for this has always been "wearing a lot of different hats." I don't like this term, mostly because it implies that you have to take your leader hat off to put your builder hat on.

The truth is you have to stack several hats on your head at once. Like Bartholomew Cubbins.

On any given day, an entrepreneur must be a leader, a builder, a salesperson, an accountant, and do several other jobs. As the company grows, you can hire other people to do some of these jobs for you. Hopefully, the people you hire will be better at these things than you are.

If you think about all the things an entrepreneur has to do, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you're an expert at one or two of them, or maybe none of them, and that's OK. Maybe you're good at a few others. Maybe you stink at finance, or sales, but if nobody is paying the bills or bringing in money to pay those bills, your company is not going to last long.

I'm not going to talk about every job at once. Much like when I wrote about the Five Stages of Startup and broke the timeline down into a simplified roadmap, I'll reduce the dozens of jobs an entrepreneur needs to do down to five basic roles you have to fill.

The five roles I'm discussing are general, but intended to identify everyone inside and outside the startup's organization. You must have someone playing all five roles, and most of the time two or more of these roles are going to be played by the same person.

First off, here are all five roles, because before you dig deeper into any of them, you should be aware of what they all are:

Vision -- Founding, Leadership, Management, Product, Future. This is the one I'm talking about now. There is also:

Build -- Design, Engineer, Perform, Deliver, Support

Sales -- Salespeople, Marketing, Business Development, Public Relations

Operations -- Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Administration

Growth -- Investor, Advisor, Mentor, Service Provider, Community

Vision determines company direction and momentum, primarily focused on making the product better, the sales stronger, and the company bigger.

A startup exists to turn a great idea into a great product to be sold to a large market by a great company. The vision role breaks down every piece of that sentence and answers all of the questions along the way. Why is the idea great? How will the idea become a product? What specific problems does the product solve? How will the company make and sell the product? Who will the company be selling to? How will the company reach these people?

And on and on.

The Vision role informs and leads the four other roles -- Build, Sell, Operate, and Grow -- and it does this in the following ways:

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Five Stages of Startup: Level 5 -- The End
Exit, Failure, Graduation, Next, Giving Back
by Joe Procopio
Level 5: The End
The five stages of startup I'm discussing are not THE five stages of startup. They're just landmarks, broken down and generalized into something that we can all hopefully use as a guide, not gospel.

This is the final stage of the generalized startup timeline, and with this, we've now covered the entire roadmap, from humble beginning to glorious end. Level 1: The Jump is the period of time when you have a great idea that will become a great product. Level 2: Start is when the company is formed, it figures out how to operate, and launches that great product. Level 3: The Journey is about running and growing your company and selling your product. Level 4: The Grind covers all the ups and downs along the way.

But all good things…

The End can happen a few different ways. There are happy endings, horrible endings, and endings where you just shrug your shoulders and move on.

You shouldn't really do a lot of planning for the end. Your goal is to build an incredible business, one that you want to work on every day for the rest of your life. But let's face it, you're an entrepreneur, and you might find that there are other ideas you'd like to pursue -- ideas that may be totally different from the one that got you where you are today.

If you've done your startup right, there will be several knocks of opportunity at your door, people who want to buy everything you've built, and you'll need to listen to most of those offers. If you've done it wrong, failure -- inevitable, heartbreaking failure -- will come calling instead, and that's a call you've got to answer too.

Oh, and I need to tell you that you can do everything right and failure might just show up anyway. He's kind of a jerk.

Regardless of how you close the curtain on your startup, the end is also a new beginning, and you'll need to know how to start over.

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Five Stages of Startup: Level 4 -- The Grind
Growth, Culture, Change, Trouble, Pivot
by Joe Procopio
Level 4: The Grind
The five stages of startup I'm discussing are not THE five stages of startup. They're just landmarks, broken down and generalized into something that we can all hopefully use as a guide, not gospel.

This is the fourth of five stages that make up a generalized startup timeline. You don't have to read the previous installments, but it will help, especially if you're just starting out. Level 1: The Jump is the period of time when you have a great idea that will become a great product. Level 2: Start is when the company is formed, it figures out how to operate, and launches that great product. Level 3: The Journey is about running and growing your company and selling your product.

So far, everything about startup is straight-up awesome. The early days are the reason most entrepreneurs start their own companies in the first place. It's living the dream, writing your own ticket, creating your own destiny.

But not every day is going to be your favorite day at your startup. Sometimes, it's going to feel like a job. And there will be those rare times when it's going to feel like the worst job you've ever had.

Let's deal with that.

The Grind is the part of startup that is the least glamorous, the most difficult, and probably lasts the longest. Now, nothing about startup is easy. Coming up with a great idea is hard. Turning that idea into a product is hard. Building a company to sell that product is hard. Getting your first few customers and funding is hard.

But once all that machinery is in place, it's time to make it better, faster, stronger, and more efficient. This is the point where the steady state changes, and it changes often. Customers won't be happy, investors will meddle, competition will appear out of nowhere, costs will rise, employees will quit, and everyone around you will, at some point, stop caring about the success of your startup.

Did I talk you out of it? No? Good. Here's how to get through the rest of your startup's life cycle.

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Welcome to Teaching Startup

Entrepreneurial mentoring at scale

If 99% of a startup’s success is based on team, why aren’t we identifying and educating potentially great founders at scale?

Teaching Startup is an educational network that delivers entrepreneurial mentoring at scale and in a unique, easily-consumable manner, to people of all ages and backgrounds. Using quality, tested content and an unstructured learning framework, Teaching Startup creates valuable new paths for anyone, regardless of experience, connections, or access, to embark on an entrepreneurial career. In short, Teaching Startup builds great entrepreneurs.

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