Startup Outlook Stats

Some interesting stats from The Silicon Valley Bank’s Startup Outlook report based on their survey of private companies across the U.S. in the software, life science, hardware and cleantech sectors. More than 750 companies completed the survey in December 2012.

In response to the question, “What piece of advice would you give to President Obama with regards to supporting the innovation economy,” startup executives had this to say:

Old Advice is Good Advice – Keep it Simple

As founders, you are likely very familiar with the multitude of obstacles that a successful venture must overcome: financing, management, creation and protection of valuable intellectual property, marketing, and building profitable and sustainable customer relationships. Another obstacle that is well known yet rarely labeled as such is “complexity.” In building a new venture, the old adage “keep it simple” remains an important philosophy.

Establish a Culture of Giving

A company’s culture is often established in its earliest days. Once ingrained, it can be very difficult to change. Although many founders recognize the importance of infusing a culture of giving into their enterprises, they wonder how they can go about it with limited time and resources. The answer should be apparent to every founder. Early stage companies can meet cultural challenges with the same tactics they use for meeting operational challenges with limited cash. When early stage companies don’t have cash, they apply “sweat” or “equity.” How do you apply “sweat” and “equity” to establish a culture of giving?

Paying Consultants and Strategic Partners with Equity

At one time or another, most startup companies work with a consultant or enter a contract with a strategic partner and are presented with a dilemma: should the company offer equity to the consultant or strategic partner in payment for services?

50-50 “Partnerships” Only Work in Fairy Tales

One of the most common conversations I have with the founders of businesses involves how they determined a way to split the ownership amongst themselves. It is probably the first difficult decision new partners face together in starting a company. In many instances, the new founders decide that they are going to split ownership equally.

Startup Lessons from Election Day 2012

After billions of dollars spent on ads, gigabytes of campaign emails and countless hours of productivity put into Nate Silver’s polling blog, Election Day is finally here. But don’t despair, entrepreneurs – there are plenty of lessons that your startup can take from the campaign trail.

Personal v. Business Expenses?

Many startup owners, in the early days as the sole owner, may feel tempted to run “sort of” personal expenses through their corporation on the theory that they have no other owners to harm.