One Thing I Learned From Today’s Breakfast

Today at breakfast we had an interesting discussion on selling your technology vs. selling your business. We discussed the motivation of the buying company (making money):

  • People

    Company will buy startups to get key personnel.

  • Product

    Company will buy a product which they can plug into their sales process. Startups must have a whole product, training, documentation, support.

  • New Market

    Finally companies will buy another company as a way to expand into a new market, a new vertical, usually it is an adjunct market.

In general, companies are not looking for technology, they want the team in place and committed to growing the business.


Comments

One Thing I Learned From Today’s Breakfast — 43 Comments

  1. Today at bootstrappers I got some good tips on learning the Sales Ropes. One thing was … You need to find their big motivator, which can be a “compelling event” from a timing perspective or the business implication of solving a problem — what results or outcome will be seen as mission critical? — Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions Inc (www.single-sourcing.com)

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  3. One thing I learned from yesterdays Bootstrappers Breakfast… In regards to pricing, you should outline specific time frames and deliverables of service. It is also helpful to have an addendum allowing both parties to renegotiate terms after the contract ends.

  4. I learned that my personal IP is safe and not the property of my employer, thanks to California law. Side projects, moonlighting, open-source contributions–all safe.

  5. I got a couple of useful pointers on places to go to for funding for the open-source part of my project, and also on how to connect to folks in the world of gaming software.

    I also find it useful to have to describe what I’m trying to do to other people.

  6. Great to attend again after a long time! Picked up a number of good ideas around marketing and sales in the prototype phase.

  7. I found it helpful today to have to articulate the specific challenges I am facing in my business in front of a receptive and helpful group of other business people. I also met a couple of great contacts that I plan to keep in touch with.

  8. I attended my first breakfast in Milpitas on November 14-great ideas-wonderful interchange- i found the group to be very free with both excellent information and advice-i will attend again
    if you are an entrepreneur, consultant or in start up mode I’d recommend coming to a meeting to try it on for size -and even the breakfast itself was good as well.
    Rene Vishney

  9. Great group! I’ve been meaning to stop by for a while and am sorry it took me so long. One thing I learned: yes, SEO is important! Sounds like a “doh!” moment, but as I grow my business, it becomes more and more critical to pay attention to every aspect of sales and marketing and not let opportunities slip through the net.

  10. My first Bootstrapper’s Breakfast. Good attendance and interesting discussions. Topic of interest was raising prices during a downturn. I learned how a lot of us are struggling to keep business and (at the same time) concerned about profitability. Certainly seems like raising prices is possible but must be approached in an intelligent manner.

  11. I enjoyed the Bootstrap Meeting on Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. You have a great group, there. I didn’t know what to expect, before attending the meeting. I was happy with the immediate added value of the brainstorming format. Thanks for the pricing advise, as well.

    I look forward to attending future meetings.
    Regards. — James Diamond

  12. I got a great idea for pricing my own IP and services based on Walid’s comments about microtransations. I’ve been wrestling with how to make money in this economy, and I think this is the toe in the door I needed! Once again, I’m glad I came to a Bootstrappers Breakfast.

  13. I learned more about the strengths and weaknesses of different hosting providers. I also made some good contacts.

  14. I found the environment to be very informal-I did not expect to be the only one dressing up for it. Some of the advise helped me think long and hard about business online. I will definitely attend future meetings-particularly the ones in Mountain View. I do not have a car so Mountain View meeting is the only one I can easily attend.

    I look forward to meeting more people at the Mountain View meeting/. Cheers- Joel Goslar

  15. Firstly, I didn’t realize that you can signup with a local college for classes and accreditation on such areas as PHP, MySQL, etc. Secondly, I have a much more clear understanding of the importaince of copywrite filings.

  16. Know what you own and what you don’t. Know what you should own. Have agreements (if not contracts) and READ THEM. I recently had a conversation with a web designer about ownership of logos, website and content she creates for clients. Her view: if not otherwise negotiated and stated in a contract, she owns this stuff. She (successfully) sued a corporate client when they made small changes to the logo she designed for them.

  17. just a great group of entrepreneurs in start up mode and restart mode- the greatest value of these meeting is that they refocus my thinking of what is possible.
    Rene

  18. I attended my first Breakfast on Feb 13th in Milpitas. It’s a great group, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I learned a great deal more about Patents, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property matters from the guest Speaker. I met a dozen people and learned about the needs of others involved in small business endeavors. However, I felt a genuine camaraderie with these folks and will actively adjust my schedule in order to attend future meetings.

  19. I too participated in my first breakfast meeting on Feb 13th in Milpitas. The topic was exactly what I needed to hear about, and the speaker was well qualified to cover it. These meetings provide a valuable service for all of us on the bootstrapper journey. Thanks.

  20. I attended the meeting on February 17 at Coco’s. I gave a brief introduction to my company and was met with a number of great suggestions for creating users. Also, I was given several names to follow through on. What a great bunch of helpful and connected people to share ideas with!

    Rich

  21. Despite the economic times, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Silicon Valley. This is a good time to bootstrap and be ready for when the economy turns around.

  22. I learned about kit list – to find talented people who’d work for equity. I also heard that I should just “walk the plank” – leave my day job and start putting 120% into my idea. Not sure how that’d go in the short term, but definitely food for thought.

  23. I atended my first meeting on 3/6. Sean is doing a great public service by organizing these breakfasts. I met some talented nascent entrepreneurs, and we shared ideas. I got some excellent suggestions for acquiring initial customer — from both Sean and the other attendees. And I’d like to think that I paid it forward by helping other folks by sharing some of my previous experiences.

    in answer to Guy’s comment above — i would only counsel someone to quit their day job if the new venture could be self-funded (or if he has enough funding to get across the finish line). otherwise, keeping a day job is a great way to fund a new business. you can still work 12 hours a day at the new business, while working your day job. as an entrepreneur, none of us have personal lives or sleep [grin]

  24. I was surprised at the interest in drop-in use of our coworking space in Palo Alto (989 Commercial St.). We initially expected to rent out cubicles on a monthly basis. It seems that folks would prefer to take advantage of our 1 minute to 5 hour internet service (for $20) This is fine with us because it means higher revenue.

  25. As a software engineer looking for problems to solve I was interested to hear that porting apps to mobile platforms was too expensive for some – helps me with building the pitch for my start-up idea. The reminder about KITlist was timely too.

  26. I learned that I need to come up with a process for re-evaluating the proportion of effort I put in to getting new customers, cultivating existing customers, and getting new investments, in response to events and changing conditions.

  27. One thing I learnt was, to identify the real customer for my product before I go too much ahead with the development. Its better to have bunch of real customers using your not-so-perfect application than no real users using your near-perfect app.

  28. I appreciate all the sharing at this meeting. It was my first. I learned how to post ads on Craig’s list. I own a few companies. I am just setting up a naturopathic practice in Los Gatos. Being new to this area has its challenges since I don’t have a track record here. There were a lot of helpful comments of how to become established in Silicon Valley. Thanks to everyone.

  29. With respect to when is the right time to form a formal or informal board of advisors for your start up: if you’re asking the question, it’s probably the right time. If it’s serious enough that you want impartial feedback, you’re taking the steps to turn it into a business instead of keeping it a hobby.

  30. This was my first meeting with this group – I am overwhelmed at such a useful series of discussions so early in the morning! The polite use of guidance from Elaine and Pete was perfect.

    Future industry/technology successes must include a mixture of established product development skills and marketing & sales communications that are compatible with new emerging needs. It was great to hear the overviews of how best to balance these needs from several different perspectives.

  31. Very effective and helpful meeting, thanks! Received lots of constructive criticism. One of the many things I learned… many heads are far better than one!

    -m-

  32. Lots of great information about Names and naming. One thing I learned was that once a name is trademarked it is federal rather than State or City. Very useful, I have a lot to think about and more to learn.

  33. Appreciated the great legal input from Rob for our online backup company http://www.backblaze.com. Was also interesting to hear the discussion for another person regarding the challenges in having W2 workers that are international (or even outside the state) and preference for hiring people as contractors when possible. Thanks for the session!

  34. I found the conversation lively and focused. The moderation was excellent. I liked to hear about the needs of fellow entrepreneurs. I liked Teresa and Sean’s probing and way of giving specific ideas.

    Great event and good food.

  35. I found the people who joined the breakfast were all very smart, experienced and valuable. I will definitely join next time to meet more people .

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  37. In my short conversation with Sean, I realized that while I know what I do and the benefits I bring to a client I couldn’t explain it properly.

  38. At the 7/10 Friday Milpitas meeting, I met several people dealing with issues in business venture with some common themes. Marketing is indeed a process by which entrepreneurs and markets discover that current as well as newly-identified needs may be satisfied by the products and services of others. Decisions on packaging of products and services can make the difference between success and failure. Also, we explored how building relationships with customers can determine whether they think of themselves as “partners”- or merely vendors. My personal industry experience agrees that significant impact on the ability to effectively market products and services results from good relationships. I look forward to the next Bootstrapper’s meeting.

  39. In brainstorming about marketing ideas, a comment made by Sean when a gentlman was saying that it is the political environment that was cause for the difficult sales. Sean basically said that this was blaming the customer or market. Essentially this: Think twice if you blame your market for their inability to purchase or recognise the value of your product. Explore alternative perspectives.

  40. Everytime I attend these breakfasts, I am reminded of how generous people are with giving advice and good inputs. A truly inspiring group.

  41. I’m looking to get a communications device built for medical instruments. Two suggestions came up: 1) hire engineers willing to work for equity and 2) collaborate with faculty at a local university whose students could do this as a project. I plan to pursue both ideas.

  42. A few take aways from this morning, create a landing page for a google ad or search, to collect email and contact information from potential customers.

    Pursue those customers and products in a start up company that show early success to begin to generate revenue as quickly as possible, even if they are not what you envision as your core product.

    Do not be afraid to change your original business model or premise in order for your company to achieve success.

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