Entrepreneurs Speak Out On What They Would Have Done Differently



Previously, I wrote about the importance of planning ahead for proof-of-concept marketing based on my first-hand experience seeing the same consistent mistakes being made by the hundreds of startups calling Red Rocket for help.There’s too much focus on product, and not enough focus on planning for a proof-of-concept around that product, which is what most venture capital firms are looking for before they make an investment in a company. And, to achieve such proof-of-concept, it requires inexperienced entrepreneurs to seek out experienced coaches or mentors to help create smart customer acquisition strategies, and to budget for them accordingly.

Now, there is a 2015 survey conducted by The Alternative Board (TAB) which backs up that claim with hard data. They polled over 500 entrepreneurs about what they would do differently, if they had the chance to start all over again. Over 86 percent of the entrepreneurs responded that they would invest their time and money differently, with more focus on sales, strategic planning and marketing. Which is exactly what I would have guessed: 80 percent of respondents concluded customer development strategies were more important to success than product development strategies for long term success.  And, 54 percent would have created a better plan to increase leads out of the gate.

Other predictable datapoints from the survey:

  • 60 percent would have raised more money:  72 percent for sales/marketing, 35 percent for hiring.
  • 40 percent would have invested more time:  78 percent into sales/marketing, 47 percent into planning.
  • And they could have used a lot more help:  42 percent around finding better mentors or coaches, 33 percent around business modeling and 32 percent around finding and delegating to better employees.

If interested in reading the full results of the survey, along with a detailed analysis and infographic, it can be found on the TAB website.


Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Jason Howie

About the author: George Deeb

George Deeb is a managing partner at Red Rocket Ventures, a Chicago-based startup consulting and fundraising firm with expertise in advising Internet-related businesses. More of George’s startup lessons can be read at “101 Startup Lessons — An Entrepreneur’s Handbook.”

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