Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum: Guy Kawasaki’s Top Ten Mistakes of Entrepreneurs

Notable and quotable bits from Guy’s recent BEF talk.  Enjoy! Top 10 Mistakes:

  • Multiply big numbers by 1 percent
  • Scale too fast
  • Form Partnerships
  • Focus on Pitch
  • Use too many slides
  • Proceed serially
  • Retain Control
  • Use patents for defensibility
  • Hire in your image
  • Befriend your investors

“Don’t scale too fast…I have never seen a company die because it could not scale fast enough.” “First, get the sale, then build the infrastructure, then get the support.” “Most partnerships are total ‘fluff,’ the only thing that matters is sales.” “This is the most important thing I can tell you tonight, sales fix everything!” “Most entrepreneurs use the ‘P’ word (partnerships) because they can’t use the ‘S’ word (sales).” “If you think your partnerships are your key strategic strength for your company, then you are in big trouble.” “The top priority for you as an entrepreneur is to not make a pitch, it’s to make a prototype. If you do a good enough prototype, you will never have to do a pitch.” “The goal of your company is not to have a great pitch, it’s to have a great product.” “In your pitch, don’t lead off with your team (in your pitch), because your team is probably not world class…tell me what your product is first.” “The moment you take outside money, you are working for outsiders. You have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of that money and return more money than you got in.” “I don’t advise that you take money unless you absolutely have to.” “Always be thinking about making a bigger pie.”

Guy Kawasaki and Haas students.

Guy Kawasaki and Haas students.

One response to “Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum: Guy Kawasaki’s Top Ten Mistakes of Entrepreneurs

  1. I can underwrite any of these statements. In fact, many SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs, esp. start-ups I have consulted with FIRST had a product and did not actually want to build and market it themselves. That only came after others (potential partners or investors) would not see the potential or would not be forthcoming. When they then set to work on their own the only trap they still might fall into is “hiring in their image”. That may be the least perceptible source of future trouble.

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