Founder @ Startup Hive, Publisher @ SGB Media Group, Chairman @ Boardroom Advisory Services, Microsoft BizSpark and Startup America Partnership Member specializing in advising emerging tech startups. Expert in crowdfunding, real estate development, niche social network development, blogging, digital publishing & syndication, affiliate marketing, social media marketing and public relations.
Yes, by all means at least file a provisional patent. Under United States patent law, a provisional application is a legal document filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), that establishes an early filing date, but does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year.
I would need to ask how close you are to a sale? Also when you say these advisors want to be "involved/invested" do you mean they will be investing in the company?
Rule of thumb for me is always secure the .com I've used both many times and found no advantage or disadvantage with regard to SEO. I never base my actions on SEO as it's such a fluid science that changes in a major way about every 6 months. A .com is always best. A .co will give you a startup/tech appearance as will a .io domain.
One thing you get with a .co are tons of perks with partner companies, events etc....they really have some great perks unlike so lesser user perks programs like for example found on klout.com
Before you attempt to sell to the senior executive you need to find out from his team why they wouldn't buy it. The senior executive will defer to his team prior to making the decision to purchase so you're only assuring your failure by contacting him at this point.
This one by Jason Daley on whether entrepreneurs are born or made is a great one:
Steve Blank is always an enjoyable read:
You gotta love this one by Richard Branson
#1 by far is "People". I invest in startups based on who are the people involved, how skilled they are in their respective roles, how I like them, what their product or service is and if I personally am interested in what they are selling.
#2 by crunching the numbers. They must have a viable revenue stream from paying customers. Too many startups I look at live off their seed round and eat that up and start their A rounds while still in freemium mode. By the time they get that far they had better be producing enough revenue to sustain their day to day operations and use the A round to diversify and expand.
#3 I do my own market research on the market segment and current and future competition. I like companies who are #2 or #3 in their respective market segment. It's a nice comfortable spot to sit and "draft" behind the #1 market leader. When they make a shift you can react by coming up with a revised or better version of the same product or service. Let #1 make the big mistakes.
#4 Lastly, I look at who else has invested in the company or if they participated in one of the many incubation programs out there. I have about a dozen or so angels that I track and about five or six VC firms. If one of my tracked angels or VC's invests I pay attention and most likely follow suit.
#5 I track potential investments by geographic region and general industry segment like this:
Silicon Valley - Big Data
Silicon Beach - Internet of Things
Silicon Desert - Mobile Apps
Silicon Prairie - Aerospace
Silicon Slopes - BioTech
For each category as above I try to track 3 startups in each.
As a one man band with an overflow of business at any given point in time I find that I have to wear all hats in my business so efficient use of time is critical for me. I follow these guidelines and it works well for me:
Take these four not-so-easy steps to be more in balance:
* Determine what's important to you. What do you value most no matter what?
* Keep those priorities right in front of your nose at all times.
* Say "No" to anything that detracts from your priorities.
* Spend your time on your priorities. Otherwise, they are not really your priorities. If you proclaim that your health is a priority, spit out the Twinkie and get moving.
Sit down with paper and pen, or PC and mouse. Answer these questions:
* What hats do you wear and what tasks come with each hat?
* What hats can you hang on the hat rack? You can always put a hat back on at a later date.
* In what order will you prioritize your hats? Hint: They can't all be number one.
* Have you delegated tasks and hats? Have you tossed unnecessary hats and tasks into the dumpster-o-life? Or do you keep precariously stacking hat upon hat?
* Have you made time for your physical, mental and emotional health? Remember, you can't give what you don't have.
* Are you laughing enough? Everyone will benefit if you get a grin.
* Cultivate simple pleasures that take less time and money. A walk with your family can be accomplished every week instead of waiting for the semi-decade wallet buster trip to Disneyland. Having more life balance is a choice. Choose or lose.