O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Startup Checklist

Book Description

25 Steps to Found and Scale a High-Growth Business

The Startup Checklist is the entrepreneur's essential companion. While most entrepreneurship books focus on strategy, this invaluable guide provides the concrete steps that will get your new business off to a strong start. You'll learn the ins and outs of startup execution, management, legal issues, and practical processes throughout the launch and growth phases, and how to avoid the critical missteps that threaten the foundation of your business. Instead of simply referring you to experts, this discussion shows you exactly which experts you need, what exactly you need them to do, and which tools you will use to support them—and you'll gain enough insight to ask smart questions that help you get your money's worth. If you're ready to do big things, this book has you covered from the first business card to the eventual exit.

Over two thirds of startups are built on creaky foundations, and over two thirds of startup costs go directly toward cleaning up legal and practical problems caused by an incomplete or improper start. This book helps you sidestep the messy and expensive clean up process by giving you the specific actions you need to take right from the very beginning.

  • Understand the critical intricacies of legally incorporating and running a startup
  • Learn which experts you need, and what exactly you need from them
  • Make more intelligent decisions independent of your advisors
  • Avoid the challenges that threaten to derail great young companies

The typical American startup costs over $30,000 and requires working with over two dozen professionals and service providers before it even opens for business—and the process is so complex that few founders do it correctly. Their startups errors often go unnoticed until the founder tries to seek outside capital, at which point they can cost thousands of dollars to fix. . . or even completely derail an investment. The Startup Checklist helps you avoid these problems and lay a strong foundation, so you can focus on building your business.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Preface: Why Every Entrepreneur Needs This Book . . . Instead of the Other 93,210 Books on Entrepreneurship
  7. Introduction: 25 Key Action Steps (Plus One) for Every Entrepreneur
    1. Prepare to Launch
    2. Launch and Build Your Company
    3. Raise Funds; Collaborate with Investors; Plan for Your Exit
  8. Part I: Prepare to Launch
    1. Chapter 1: Translate Your Idea into a Compelling Business Model
      1. Elements of the Business Model
      2. The Importance of Understanding Your Business Model
      3. Developing a Scalable Startup Business
    2. Chapter 2: Craft a Lean Business Plan to Serve as Your Venture's Road Map
      1. The Principles of Lean Business Planning
      2. How to Make a Lean Business Plan
    3. Chapter 3: Find and Know Your Competitors
      1. Identifying Your Competitors
      2. Evaluating the Competition
      3. Developing a Competition Visualization
      4. Professional Services and Online Tools for Competitive Analysis
    4. Chapter 4: Build Your Dream Team
      1. The Crucial Talents Required to Launch a New Venture
      2. Which Pieces Do You Have? Which Pieces Do You Lack?
      3. Establishing Expectations Among the Members of Your Founding Team
    5. Chapter 5: Allocate the Equity in Your Startup
      1. Allocating Equity
      2. Equity Control and the Rights of the Founder
    6. Chapter 6: Build a Minimum Viable Product and Validate Your Plan with Customers
      1. Conducting Marketplace Experiments
      2. The Wisdom of the Crowd
    7. Chapter 7: Establish Your Brand with Online Public Profiles
      1. Yes, You Need a Website
      2. Help People Find Your Site
      3. Help People Find Your Company
    8. Chapter 8: Network Effectively Within the Entrepr eneurial Ecosystem
      1. Meetups
      2. Business Plan Competitions
      3. Startup Conferences and Launch Events
      4. Accelerators and Demo Days
      5. Angel Groups
      6. Score
      7. Peer Programs for Entrepreneurs
  9. Part II: Launch and Build Your Company
    1. Chapter 9: Incorporate Your Company for Protection and Investment
      1. Benefits of Incorporation
      2. Delaware? But I Don't Live in Delaware!
      3. So, Um, How Do I Incorporate a Company?
      4. Naming Your Business
    2. Chapter 10: “Lawyer Up” the Right Way
      1. How to Choose a Startup Attorney
      2. Major Legal Matters for Which Your Startup Will Need a Lawyer
      3. Budgeting for Legal Expenses
      4. When and How to Change Your Law Firm
    3. Chapter 11: Recruit Your Boards of Directors and Advisors
      1. Understanding the Composition of the Board
      2. The Role of the Chairman of the Board
      3. Keys to Assembling a Great Board of Directors
      4. Maximizing the Value Created by Your Company's Board
      5. The Role of a Board of Advisors
      6. Startup Mentors for Your Entrepreneurial Journey
    4. Chapter 12: Select an Accountant and an Accounting System
      1. Business Finance 101
      2. How (and Why) to Hire a Good Accountant
      3. Choosing and Using Online Accounting Tools
    5. Chapter 13: Establish and Manage Your Credit Profile
      1. Basics of Business Credit
      2. Starting Your Credit Profile with a D-U-N-S Number
      3. Building and Maintaining a Good Credit Profile
      4. Why and How to Keep Tabs on Your Credit Report
    6. Chapter 14: Open Bank, Credit Card, and Merchant Accounts
      1. Working with Your Bank
      2. Kinds of Financial Credit and How to Use Them Wisely
      3. Receiving Credit Card Payments
    7. Chapter 15: Choosing Your Key Technologies, Platforms, and Vendors
      1. Hardware
      2. Office Suite
      3. Cloud Hosting
      4. Other Platform Choices
    8. Chapter 16: Measure Your Business with Data Analytics
      1. Use Your MVP to Establish Baseline Metrics and Begin Experimental Improvements
      2. How to Make Sure That the Metrics You Gather and Analyze Are Meaningful
      3. Tools for Analytics
      4. Key Growth Issues to Study with Lean Analytics
    9. Chapter 17: Round out Your Team with Employees and Freelancers
      1. Recruiting and Hiring Employees
      2. The New Hire Draft Board
      3. Using Employment Contracts
      4. Building a Corporate Culture That Is Authentic, Universal, and Consistent
      5. Work/Life Balance and a Supportive Corporate Culture
      6. The Outsourcing Alternative
    10. Chapter 18: Establish a Stock Option Plan to Incentivize Your Team
      1. Managing Your Option Plan and Cap Table
      2. 409(a) Valuations and the Meaning of “Fair Market Value”
  10. Part III: Raise Funds; Collaborate with Investors; Plan for Your Exit
    1. Chapter 19: Understand the Funding Process and What Investors Want to See
      1. How Much Money Can I Raise, and from Whom?
      2. The Investment Process and the Funding Round
      3. What Are Investors Looking For?
      4. Yes, Virginia, There May Actually Be Some Free Money.
    2. Chapter 20: Nurture Your Investor Pipeline
      1. When to Connect with Investors
      2. How to Connect with Investors
      3. When to Tell an Investor “Thanks but no Thanks”
      4. The Materials You Will Need to Pitch an Investor
    3. Chapter 21: Crowdfunding and Online Platforms
      1. The JOBS Act
    4. Chapter 22: Survive the Term Sheet Negotiation and Investor Due Diligence
      1. The Different Types of Equity Investments
      2. Note Financing
      3. Changing Forms of Startup Financing
      4. Term Sheets and Closings
      5. The Due Diligence Investigation
    5. Chapter 23: Get the Most from Your Investors, Now and in the Future
      1. Best Practices for Dealing with Your Investors
      2. When an Investor Becomes Excessively Demanding
      3. Reaching out for a Follow-on Round
      4. When Things Go Really Badly
    6. Chapter 24: Understand Your Company's Valuation
      1. Business Valuation Methods for Investment
      2. The Perils of Misvaluation
    7. Chapter 25: Keep Your Eye on the Exit and Reap the Benefits of Success
      1. Going Public
      2. Acquisition
      3. Who Gets What: The Liquidation Waterfall
  11. The Startup Checklist Onlinegust.com/checklist
  12. Appendices
    1. Appendix A: The Startup Reading List
    2. Appendix B: Sample Due Diligence Request
    3. Appendix C: Starting a U.S. Corporation from a Foreign Country
    4. Appendix D: Sample Convertible Preferred Stock Term Sheet
      1. Terms for Private Placement of Seed Series Preferred Stock of[Insert Company Name], Inc.
      2. Offering Terms
    5. Appendix E: Sample Convertible Note Term Sheet
    6. Appendix F: Sample Founder Accord
  13. Acknowledgments
  14. Index
  15. End User License Agreement