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Startup resource requirements

1) people (founding team, employees)
2) physical assets (equipment, inventory)
3) financial resources (cash, equity, debt)
4) intellectual resources (brand, patents, copyrights)


value proposition

what activities are associated with creating the solution to meet the needs of the customer?


distribution channels

what activities do we have to do because of our channel partners?


customer relationships

what activities do ewe have to undertake to maintain good relationships with our customers?


revenue generation

what activities do we have to do to produce sufficient revenue?


process map

flow chart of business activities; ID human, physical, and capital resources required


value chain

position the startup; figure distribution, pricing, and markups


timeline to launch

identify milestones and triggers for change


financial assumptions

revenues, expenses, startup costs


key financial metrics

common and unique to the business; direct cash flow statement


startup cash requirements

what is needed to meet resource requirements


deal-killer risks

risks that might prevent the business from even launching in the firs place


path-dependent risks

risks that arise from a decision to take what turns out to be the wrong path; happens when a startup needs to hit several markets simultaneously


low-hanging fruit with high ROI

risks that are easy and cheap to resolve; important to take these on because left unmitigated, they could turn into deal killers or at a minimum waste time and money


launch strategy goals

1) to reflect the needs of our customers with respect to the solution, the price, and how it is delivered
2) to reach the best first customers-- the ones who need their problem solved the most
3) to have in place the funding needed to reach positive cash flow
4) to reduse as much risk as possible


common metrics that all startups use

sales forecast
expenses (fixed and variable)
break-even cash flow


gross margin

used by product business; gross profit/gross sales


inventory turns

used by businesses that hold inventory; ex: retail; frequency with which inventory turns over provides important information about success of their marketing strategy and their product mix



used by hotels, apartments, commercial; if vacancy rates reach a particular level, the business is not sustainable


qualified leads

used by internet businesses; designed to produce qualified leads, which are users that fit the image of a qualified buyer and who provide a certain level of activity and response to the company's marketing campaigns


customer acquisition costs (CAC)

how much did it cost the startup to acquire customers?; ex: advertising/promotional expense


average order size, time to reorder, and lifetime value per customer

tracking what each customer spends, how often they spend, and what the potential lifetime value of the customer is; a startup with no customers can use market research on similar companies discounted to reflect startup's inexperience


revenues per salesperson and time to revenue for direct sales

the amount of time it takes for a new salesperson to get up to speed and begin generating revenue that exceeds their costs and their portion of the contribution margin overhead


acquisition, retention, revenue, viral coefficient

for internet ventures;
viral coefficient= how many new users come to the site on referrals by existing users, used to track site growth, popularity, and level of engagement
x(invited friends) x y%(acceptance of conversion rate)
coefficient >1 = the site is growing; coefficient=1= the site is stagnant


contribution margin

found by subtracting variable costs from revenues and dividing the difference by revenues to yield a percentage; that percentage expresses how much money remains to pay overhead and make a profit after the costs of producing the product are considered; tells you how much room you have to make errors (small=not a lot of room)


monthly burn rate

how the startup uses its cash to cover its overhead before it generates a positive cash flow from operations; signals to investors whether the company can sustain itself and how quickly it will need another infusion of capital


triangulate demand

make sure to look at 1) historical analogy with similar products/services; 2) customer feedback, end-user and intermediary feedback; 3) the entrepreneur's own perspective, gleaned from previous experience and from going into limited production or doing a test market



accounting term for the business' sources of income (products, services, subscriptions)


economies of scale

cost of producing a product is tied to how many products you can sell


increase in sales is influenced by

growth rates in the market segment of the product/service; innovations offered that will make the product/service more attractive to the consumer, even at a higher price; technological innovations employed that enable the entrepreneur to produce the product or service at a lower cost than competitors, thus making it more accessible and enticing to the consumer


startup expenses

rent/employee per month, initial per-employee equipment cost, annual payroll tax, monthly travel costs, monthly telephone costs per field employee, annual accounting costs



lead time before milestone that indicate a change in the current revenue pattern (ex: acquiring a major customer was a trigger for an upswing in revenues)