Startup myths
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Startup Myths. Zach Shulman Managing Partner, Cayuga Venture Fund Associate Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Johnson. Myth: Being your own boss means flexibility Truth: Being your own boss means you have no free time.

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Startup Myths

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Startup myths

Startup Myths

Zach Shulman

Managing Partner, Cayuga Venture Fund

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Johnson


Myth being your own boss means flexibility truth being your own boss means you have no free time

Myth: Being your own boss means flexibilityTruth: Being your own boss means you have no free time


Startup myths

Myth: Being your own boss means I can set my own salaryTruth: Being your own boss means you might have no regular salary


Myth a startup is a constant uphill battle truth it is an endless roller coaster

Myth: A startup is a constant uphill battleTruth: It is an endless roller coaster


Myth you need an exit strategy truth you need a business that will scale

Myth: You need an exit strategyTruth: You need a business that will scale


Startup myths

Myth: Starting a company = building a productTruth: A product is not a company b/c of the other 50% to deal with (recruiting, space, team management, fund raising, taxes, insurance, bank accounts……)


Startup myths

Myth: You need $$ to start a businessTruth: You need an opportunity, creativity, resourcefulness and tons of willpower


Myth you need a written business plan to raise truth you need a business model to raise

Myth: You need a written business plan to raise $$Truth: You need a business model to raise $$


So you need a product service that you can provide at a price that gives you a profit

So, you need a product/service that you can provide at a price that gives you a profit


Myth growth rules truth profit rules

Myth: Growth rulesTruth: Profit rules


Myth stealth awesomely cool truth public wins the race b c of customer driven iteration

Myth: Stealth = awesomely coolTruth: Public wins the race b/c of customer driven iteration


Startup myths

Myth: Finding the solution to the problem is the hard partTruth: Finding a problem that the customer cares about is the hardest part by far


Startup myths

Myth: I need a product before I can start talking to customersTruth: Always be selling to and informing your customers; some customers like to be a part of the building process


Startup myths

Myth: You know your product best and know what is best for your productTruth: Only the customer knows


Said another way it is not about your great idea it is all about your customer

Said another way: It is not about your great idea, it is all about your customer


Startup myths

Myth: I don’t need a marketing plan b/c the product will sell itselfTruth: Marketing rules; know the customer


Myth i can rely on government grant programs truth bull @

Myth: I can rely on government grant programsTruth: Bull@#$%


Myth hiring smart people is enough truth hire rockstars

Myth: Hiring smart people is enoughTruth: Hire Rockstars


Myth conflict is bad truth conflict moves the ball when handled properly

Myth: Conflict is badTruth: Conflict moves the ball when handled properly


Myth you can learn startup in a book or blog truth you learn startup by doing

Myth: You can learn “startup” in a book or blogTruth: You learn “startup” by doing


Startup myths

Myth: Great startups happen overnightTruth: “Twitter was an overnight success that took 5 years” Biz Stone


Myth verbal is ok truth verbal is worthless

Myth: Verbal is OK!Truth: Verbal is Worthless


Startup myths

Myth: I need to enter a market with no competitorsTruth: If no one is making money doing it, you probably won't either


Startup myths

Myth: I have first mover advantage because I thought of it first!Truth: Most misapplied business advantage ever


Startup myths

Myth: I'll quit my job and start the business as soon as I get the fundingTruth: If you're not willing to commit, why would investors?


Myth you need a nda for advisors and investors truth ask for it and you lose credibility

Myth: You need a NDA for advisors and investorsTruth: Ask for it and you lose credibility


Myth vc s give you money truth vc s invest money

Myth: VC's give you moneyTruth: VC's invest money


Startup myths

Myth: Taking outside capital is the holy grailTruth: Only take outside capital if you really need it


Startup myths

Myth: I've got a great idea for a business, I'll just hire some cheap engineers in India to code itTruth: You need key technical talent in house


Myth we don t need a business person on the team yet truth you won t be a business until you do

Myth: We don't need a business person on the team yetTruth: You won't be a business until you do


Startup myths

Myth: As a business guy/girl, you dont need to know the technical sideTruth: you need to understand, not necessarily build, the ins/outs of your product so you can speak intelligently about your business


Myth contacts are everything truth execution is everything

Myth: Contacts are everythingTruth: Execution is everything


Thanks zjs2@cornell edu

[email protected]


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