The Startup Owner’s Manual

Steve Blank, Bob Dorf, “The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company”

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This book will guide you step-by-step through all the stages of launching your startup. It’s not by chance that it’s taught at Stanford, Berkeley and more than 100 other leading universities all over the world. Among other things, the authors will teach you how to avoid the 9 deadly sins that destroy startups’ chances for success, and will introduce their revolutionary Customer Development method. In this book you will understand clearly who your customers are, how to “get, keep and grow” them successfully and drive your startup to sustainable and scalable profits.

Top 10 lessons from this book:

  1. Reduce startup infant mortality.

This can be achieved by making everything you do less wasteful and more cash-efficient.

  1. A startup is not a smaller version of a large company.

A startup is a temporary organization in search of a scalable, repeatable, profitable business model.

  1. Don’t confuse motion with action.

One of the mistakes entrepreneurs make is confusing motion with action. Motion is simply a process, sometimes aimless. Action is something that brings results.

  1. Building your product is the easy part.

The hard part is getting customers to find your app, site or product. It’s a daunting, never-ending challenge to build customer relationships, quite literally, one customer at a time.

  1. When starting a business, you should ask yourself one simple question.

The question is: can we generate enough revenue, profits and growth to make this business worth our time and energy?

  1. Customer discovery is done by the founders.

Never delegate customer discovery. It’s your primary task to know who your clients are, what their problems are and how your product can help them.

  1. It’s 5 to 10 times cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire one.

Fight for your clients by constantly improving customer service and working on customer development.

  1. To succeed, founders need to turn hypotheses or guesses into facts.

Get out of the building, ask customers if the hypotheses were correct, and quickly change those that were wrong.

  1. MBA programs are destructive for startups.

The traditional MBA curriculum for running large companies like IBM, GM and Boeing does not work in startups. In fact, it’s toxic.

  1. People lie on the web.

And if you’re depending only on web data, you’ll never know it. Correlate response you get online with “ground truth.”

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