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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

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 $$Truth: You need a business model to raise $$



Myth growth rules truth profit rules
Myth: Growth rules price that gives you a Truth: Profit rules


Myth stealth awesomely cool truth public wins the race b c of customer driven iteration
Myth: price that gives you a 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 price that gives you a 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 customersyour 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: customersIt 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 hiring smart people is enough truth hire rockstars
Myth: Hiring smart people is enough sell itselfTruth: Hire Rockstars


Myth conflict is bad truth conflict moves the ball when handled properly
Myth: Conflict is bad sell itselfTruth: 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 blog sell itselfTruth: You learn “startup” by doing


Startup myths
Myth: Great startups happen overnight sell itselfTruth: “Twitter was an overnight success that took 5 years” Biz Stone


Myth verbal is ok truth verbal is worthless
Myth: Verbal is OK! sell itselfTruth: Verbal is Worthless


Startup myths
Myth: I need to enter a market with no competitors sell itselfTruth: 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 get the fundingNDA 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 money get the fundingTruth: VC's invest money


Startup myths
Myth: get the fundingTaking 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 yet some cheap engineers in Truth: You won't be a business until you do


Startup myths

Myth: As a business guy/girl, you some cheap engineers in 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 some cheap engineers in everythingTruth: Execution is everything


Thanks zjs2@cornell edu
Thanks! some cheap engineers in zjs2@cornell.edu