Brad NickelStartup strategy, presentations, marketing UI/UX
Bio

You will get 26 years experience in startups, presentations, app development, strategy, marketing, and UI/UX. I developed the first web-based SaaS, the worldwide standard for network printing, and dozens of tech products for consumers and businesses. I've marketed and sold millions in real and virtual products and services and have advised and mentored 100s of CEOs. Is your deck ready to raise money or sell your product? Is your product in the right market and at the right price? Are you targeting correctly and hitting the right emotional and psychological buttons? Is your product usable, intuitive, and ready for market? You'll get straightforward advice from our call on marketing, targeting, strategy, tech / product, pitching, UI/UX, hiring and leadership decisions and more. MBA professor, pitch deck and presentations expert, startup planning, digital marketing, and leadership/management. http://clickbrain.com.



Recent Answers


Tough market. Would need some really compelling features and capabilities in order to compete but hopefully that is the case with that significant an investment. If you would like to discuss the potential please reach out to me. Having been a pioneer in the SaaS space I've mentored / advised a lot of companies on bringing their software to market.


As another comment said, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Here are some questions:

1. Have you validated the idea(s)? In other words, does anyone want what you want to develop? If it is a game or entertainment related app, validation is much more difficult and that is not my area of expertise, but if it has utility, productivity, or business implications, then you can interview the people that would use the app. Before you do that, I would either hand draw or use one of the numerous mockup tools out there to create what you envision the product doing.

What problem are you solving?
What are the benefits to the users or company or both?

These are all core components to understand before you even go down the road of development.

2. What is the market viability for the product? If people want it and it solves a real problem, how many people will want it? Is it enough to v make the investment of your time and your money to make it work?

3. Do you have the money to build it and then to market it?

Learn to code or use other tools that will let you build with less coding knowledge. You still need to understand concepts though. I like LiveCode (https://livecode.org) and Bubble (https://bubble.is/home). You could also use these tools to mockup the interface to provide for interviews or to a developer to get a quote.

You need to get a quote if you can pay someone to do it and that requires a detailed description of the product, mockups of the screens and flow, and other technical details. There are a lot of dangers in using outsourced development shops, because they may give you a low ball quote and then hold you hostage through the development process. I can't list all of the things you have to be careful of, but happy to help you with that process if you are interested.

In my decades of working with entrepreneurs that are not technical, I would say that about 75% of the ones that have already hired a developer were screwed over in some way.

If you are looking for a developer to do it for you for equity in your company, then you need at the least an executive summary of what the app will do, what the potential market is, and how much you think you can make with some basic financial projections. You also need to be prepared to understand and implement the legal aspects of it. You need to convince a developer that investing their time will be worth it and that is not an easy task.

Finally, if you've come up with a powerful enough idea, find an investment group, incubator, or accelerator that would be willing to invest and that already has a reputable development company with whom they work.


I've removed this answer, because I really wasn't answering the question directly.


There isn't really a standard. If you know what the advisor would normally bill for their time, I would start there. Determine how many hours they will put in and then what they would normally bill per hour. The next part is the hard part. What is the startup worth? We sometimes will wait until the first round of funding and extrapolate out the stake then based on the valuation, but we also normally insist on part of the payment in cash. You can also set and agree to a valuation at the time the work starts, but that could bog you down in a lot of negotiation.

Both sides need to agree on deliverables and value of the advisor to the startup getting off the ground.

Sometimes an advisor is so impactful, that it might make sense to offer closer to founders level shares, but that is all in the determination of value.


If this is something that will improve your business, allow you to start a business, or in some way will have a positive impact on what you want to accomplish, then trying to game the auction won't be effective. First and foremost set what you are willing to pay for it in your mind based on what value it will have for you short and long term.

If it is a revenue producer, then if nothing happened to improve it, how long will it take to get your money back.

If it has some other positive impact, then determine what that value is to you and the very highest possible level and then set a dead hard last price on it.

On Flippa, I typically wait to see where things are at the last few hours. If it's got value to me and the bids are in my range, then I jump in at the last hour and see where it goes from there. Flippa extends the auction automatically though, so there's no value in sniping.


I really don't know enough about your product to give you a comprehensive answer, but the best way to raise money is to sell something. Having been through this several times before, here are some of the solutions we've used. In this case, you don't want to sell equity, so you either need to presell your product if it doesn't exist or you need sell your testers or early adopters if it's already available.

If you are offering a product in the B2B space, then it might be a good idea to sell a lifetime license to potential clients for a discount off what they would pay for the regular product, but enough cash to keep you going. It may take multiple to make it work, but it could work.

You can also try to do the same with consumer products and services and offer lifetime or other advantages for a larger upfront commitment.

Although distracting, you could also consider offering services around what you are selling to enhance the revenue stream from the product.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about how to pull this off.


A lot of great answers.

It's been my experience, that a lot of solid feedback and encouragement goes a long way. I want my team armed with all the skills they need or want to do a great job and if they want to pursue something on their own, then I've done a great job as their "boss", because they've grown. If they leave for another job, then who am I to tell them they should stay. Something wasn't motivating them or I was doing something wrong. That said, I have had a lot of people go away in situations where it wasn't my company and then when I went out on my own, they came back to work for me again.

I challenge my teams to grow beyond their comfort zone and I reward them for accomplishing growth. Sometimes the reward is simple and enthusiastic acknowledgement to them or the company and sometimes its financial or perk based.

I do think profit sharing in one form or another is a great way to help motivate your team, but it will never be enough alone to motivate people.

One of the benefits of being growth minded for your team, is that no matter what happens, you know that you've been a part of helping them as a person.

I once worked for a woman that reprimanded me as a VP for being friends with my team, while I watched everyone around them fleeing the sinking ship except for my friends on my team. Everyone is different, but I can't help but become involved in my team's lives and for that I get a lot of rewards.

As a startup, you have a lot to consider and it depends on the talent you need. If you need developers for a technology product, then you are going to have to compete on wages and benefits and it may be difficult to recruit without equity unless you have a solid and followed profit sharing plan. You can though also compete on culture, atmosphere and team dynamics. If someone interviews with you and your team and walks away excited about your mission, your product, and your people, then it may follow that higher wages and equity aren't required initially. If you are a one-man band and bootstrapping, you are going to have to also prove that your vision has legs and that you can drive revenue. Lots of folks will join a risky startup, if the backend rewards can be significant, but you will have to prove a little more potential stability if you want them to invest their career in you.

Sorry for the rambling brain dump. Feel free to follow-up with me if you have any questions.


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