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There’s a lot that I like and agree with in Sam Altman’s recent post “Projects and Companies“. As he says:

The best companies start out with ideas that don’t sound very good.  They start out as projects, and in fact sometimes they sound so inconsequential the founders wouldn’t let themselves work on them if they had to defend them as a company.  Google and Yahoo started as grad students’ projects.  Facebook was a project Zuckerberg built while he was a sophomore in college.  Twitter was a side project

I still think it’s best to not spend time on development until you find that “emphatic yes” from customers.  (See Why you Need an Emphatic Yes) .  But even then, if you think of what you’re doing as a project (at least in the early stages of your company) you’ll be less likely to add on the overhead (and expense) of a company, like a CFO and a VP of Sales or Business Development, and a VP of Marketing.  Early on, it’s a much better idea to be a project team, and have founders do sales, marketing, and the basic accounting.  Not only does that reduce the burn, but early on you don’t need a CFO and you want founders to have that direct marketing/sales link with customers.  Once you clearly have reached product-market fit, then by all means, think like a company.  But early on, it’s OK to stay lean and be a project, not a company!

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Grants for Small Business

There are grant programs available for small businesses – the Federal SBIR and STTR grant programs. Between these two programs, more than $2 billion in grants are awarded to small businesses each year.  Check out this video program to learn:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • How funds can be used
  • How to get assistance

The presenter for this program is Leon Wolf with Oregon BEST

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StartupSOS – How to Start a Business

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Welcome to the update of StartupSOS – a website that Karen and I started back in 2005.  We decided update StartupSOS (with a move to WordPress) to make updates easier, and because the design definitely needed a refresh! The site concept is to provide practical, how-to information for first time entrepreneurs on how to start a business. Fairly often, I find myself referring entrepreneurs to particular pages in the site to get more information on a variety of entrepreneur topics.

Our goal is to help first time entrepreneurs succeed and create amazing companies.  If you are starting a company – we hope this helps!

What other copies should we cover?  Let us know in the comments!

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