Startup Culture

Startup Culture is as Leaders Do

by Tim Berry

The question over on Quora was How should a new startup develop and sustain a strong company culture? I decided not to answer the essential how-to, but rather to share my experience in this area, which is more like a reality check on startup culture than anything else.  The following is straight from my Quora answer. Culture is not... Read More »

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Build Yourself a Compatible Goals Filter

by Tim Berry

Suggestion: on any kind of business relationship, take a step back, open your eyes, and look for compatible goals. For example, one variety of hell is a startup with founders and investors having different goals. Differences on how to achieve goals are hard enough. You can talk out those differences. But when investors want one... Read More »

Brick Wall

Beware of the Myth of Persistence

by Tim Berry

I worry a lot about the myth of persistence. Persistence won’t necessarily make your business successful unless a lot of other things are also right. And persistence alone can turn failure into disaster. But still, people who should know better—people who succeeded—still talk about it all the time. There’s a logical trick to it. Almost everybody... Read More »

A Bad Idea

How Can I Get Startup Funding Without Giving Away Half the Company?

by Tim Berry

I’m surprised how often I get asked the question in the title, or variations of it, from people in startups. And you will hear discussions in which experts recommend ways to get investors who take less equity and demand less control. That seems short-sighted or worse.  I posted here years ago dumb investors is a... Read More »

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My Fish Bowl Story of Marketing Mistakes

by Tim Berry

Here’s a mistake I made that taught me a lot and helped me teach others. The Mistake Many years ago, I took a new product – early business planning software – to its first trade show. We did the standard booth thing, brought along products, and sell sheets, business cards, and so forth. And we put... Read More »

Worn Shoes

Experts, Experts Everywhere, and Not a Pause to Think

by Tim Berry

My title for this post is taken (slightly modified, but better known as shown here than in the original) from Coleridge’s The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: “Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.” I’m worried that one downside of our amazingly connected world, in relation to small business and entrepreneurship, is that business experts are everywhere,... Read More »

Court Protects Reviews

State Supreme Court Decides in Favor of Nasty Reviews

by Tim Berry

The Oregon Supreme Court just reaffirmed the legal protection of nasty reviews as free speech. Which reminds me of the ongoing opportunity and problem of reviews. Amazon.com reviews, Yelp reviews, Google, TripAdvisor, and all of them are a combination of powerful, important, and yet also full of problems. Users care and we generally love the... Read More »

Paper Crumpled

My Dumb MBA Mistake

by Tim Berry

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. You can’t build a business from scratch without making mistakes. It’s an entire category on this blog, more than 150 posts. This dumb MBA mistake wasn’t my worst, but it’s one of the easiest to explain afterwards, and I hope one that might help others avoid making it too. There... Read More »

Small Business Failure Statistics

Demystify Business Failure Statistics

by Tim Berry

My Friday video for this week is one I did a while back, the truth about all those well-publicized business failure statistics. Most of the clichés we read everywhere are just often-repeated guesses. Nobody really knows. Read More »

Displacement

Displacement Principle in Startups and Small Business

by Tim Berry

It’s really pretty simple. Intuitive. I didn’t learn about it in business school; I learned about it while building and running a real business. I decided to call it the displacement principle. Displacement Principle: In the real world of small business, everything you do rules out something else you can’t do. My favorite metaphor is... Read More »