Founder Essentials

Over years of working with startups, as well as doing my own, I collected a large set of articles on important aspects of running a startup. I asked Yana to categorize them for easy reference in a “Founder Essentials.” Here is the first installment.

Co-founders, Building Teams, Hiring and Managing People

As you start you need to know that your founding team is properly configured. Finding tech co-founders could be the biggest challenge for a non-techie entrepreneur; a better solution may be to hire an external team to avoid wasting your time.

If you are a technical co-founder yourself you have to pay more attention to humanities like the corporate culture and learn to manage people and to hire.

As your company grows, you need to make sure that your company’s culture keeps working. Take a look at famous Dharmesh Shah’s presentation on Hubspot culture and you may want to delve into Miki Saxon’s writings about the importance and how-tos of culture in startups. You may also want to read an excellent essay on corporate culture by Dana Ardi

Processes and Lean Startup

Eric Ries‘s Lean Startup is the  methodology to build and launch products. The idea is to build and release fast and then iterate through customer feedback. In your first iteration use the Lean Startup principles and develop an MVP as a core component – then keep it lean

Business Models

The business model shows the logic of how a company intends to drive revenue and profits. The old school is to write a business plan; the style is to used an online tool to build the Business Model Canvas . You do still  need a model that links your metrics, so that you can do some what-if research – you will start with a wrong model but gradually as your understanding of your business grows it will become more and more close to the reality.

And be sure to watch your burn rates at different stages like a hawk.

Marketing and Growth Hacking

Today’s startups go beyond traditional marketing strategies; the key is being metrics-driven in your marketing efforts.  Classic presentation on the topic is Dave McClure’s – wasn’t he awesome until he started doing presentations about startup ecosystems?

Growth hacking is the current hot marketing buzzword. For example, here are three different growth hacks, with track records of strong results regardless of a company’s particular product or niche. Note that inbound marketing has been the most effective method for doing business online since 2006.

Content marketing is another rising marketing star. Generating interesting, expert content is an excellent way to develop your brand image and attract your target audience.


No matter your startup idea you need to sell. It is important not to confuse sales with marketing, although both are important. Generating sales leads on a small budget requires a good framework for evaluating sales solutions. Crucially, you need to be able to quickly convey the benefits of your products/services, recognize customer buying signals and learn how to close the sale.

While it is important to remember that marketing drives sales, there are 5 principles to help you to build your sales culture and numerous sales techniques that can be learned. Consider these four factors when hiring to decide who will work best, industry newcomers or proven veterans.

Follow (again!) the Lean approach and start marketing and selling your product before you even have anything built to avoid the worst outcomes for your startup when people aren’t willing to buy your product after you’ve built it.

Legal and Incorporation

Startup Lawyer covers most incorporation issues. The content is from 2014, but legal matters do not change that fast. 


Finance and Accounting

Fred Wilson’s archives provide a wealth of knowledge, including a general understanding of accounting for non-accountants, profit and loss (P&L) statements and balance sheets.

He also explains why cash flow can be negative when a business is actually profitable and vice versa, and how to analyze financial statements. Note that although accounting practices differ widely in countries other than the US, you still need to understand these as well when talking to investors.


Communities — where to find more/newer information and ask your own questions


Startups Anonymous



I hope this short overview provides the resources to help you move forward with your own startup!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *