Chesley M. ChenExecutive Coach and Strategic Advisor

I have over 30 years experience in launching, scaling, and reinventing businesses in healthcare, life sciences, high tech, and financial services with firms which include Health Dialog, Good Measures, Goldman Sachs, and Hughes Aircraft Company. I have a BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University, an SM in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Recent Answers

Charles Alexander gives very good advice. I'm a start-up CEO and executive, and I've bought employee health plans.

I network at events a lot and generally run into 1 or 2 insurance brokers there. So, show up at a lot at various events and then you can decide which ones yield good relationships who might refer you to bonafide leads. Once you find the right association (where customer show up), volunteer to be part of the planning committee. It'll be a way to network by adding value...which could lead to speaking engagement as Charles recommends.

If you want to learn what goes through a CEO's head when choosing a broker and health plan, let's set-up a 15 minute call. Being able to walk in the CEO's or CFO's shoes might be a really good way to differentiate yourself.


I would ask my personal tax accountant. That's what I do when I run into these types of questions. If you don't have one, you should probably get one. If you need finding one, ask business colleagues in your region. Best of luck!

That's a loaded question. I've been in a few start-ups (and some right now) where I've wrestled with the exact same question with respect to those functions and others. Some quick thoughts:

If you are talking about a brand new start-up, add a few more responsibilities and you have the CEO. If you are the Founder & CEO and are handing half your desk over to someone else, Co-founder & Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer might work.

A lot also depends on what brand you are creating for yourself. If you want to be seen as new, young, and innovative, you could go with non-traditional titles except the ones reserved for CEO and CFO since probably want to go with more traditional and conservative titles.

I also think about what title would make that person proud, and cause friends and family say "Oh wow!". You could ask the person what title works for them.

A very leader-like think to consider is what would look good on this person's resume should my start-up fail? I've had to think this through. As a start-up leader, I've always felt it was my responsibility to make sure we make it as a business or if we don't, my team members are positioned well for their next jobs. That's where a good title helps.

Happy to chat on a call with you if you need a sounding board.

Congrats on submitting your provisional patent! It's a good to put a stake in the sand for a host of reasons.

I've created, reviewed, analyzed numerous business methods, processes and objectives in web and app powered businesses. Even before there was a web or app, I used many of the same disciplines through prior generations of technology. In my most recent start-ups, I created a method called "The Revenue Wheel of Fortune" to size up markets, distribution channels, and customers. I do this before writing the first line of code.

I'm not sure what industries you are targeting. I've been in a wide array (financial services, high tech, telecom, healthcare, retail...) and have found that there are many common themes.

I'd love to learn more and share some of my "tricks of the trade" with you. I advise many start-ups on the same topic so please set-up a call if you'd like to chat.

I've sold to and worked for some pretty big companies in a wide array of industries like Goldman Sachs, Sprint Telecom, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Fidelity's a long list.

It's all about who you know or are about to know by way of pretty active networking. For validating my own new ideas or concepts, I literally pull out my Rolodex (oops, I think I just dated myself), and see who I know in a specific company or industry and then start shopping the concept around to get feedback and asking for others to speak with. It's my way of also getting my ever-widening circles in on shaping the concept...also known as pre-selling.

I'd love to learn more about your concept and what companies or industries you are targeting. I might be able to come up with some names for you.

Please set-up a call if you'd like to chat and I'll do my best to help you out.

Everyone's journey is different. You sound a bit like me 35+ years ago. I have always been hungry to learn something new which has drawn me into a new adventure every day. It's been a very zen-like journey for me, in the moment, keeping a beginner's mind and "no mind"...and being happy doing so.

I'd love to chat, share, and help you stay on your learning path. I love mentoring and coaching entrepreneurs from the next generation. (Yes, I'm a Baby Boomer.) Please set-up a call if you'd like a quick dose of coaching.

I've worked in created several wellness and health coaching businesses, selling to corporations to serve employees or members of health plan. From my experience, good old fashioned networking would probably work best for you given the very personal nature of life coaching.

I would start with people you know, people who can point you to specific people, or people who know you well enough to introduce you directly. If you'd like a few networking tips, set-up a call, and I'll share some practices that have worked for me. (I'm actually giving a seminar on networking to Harvard post-docs in May.)

It all depends on what your idea is and what stage you are at in idea formation and company formation.

Set-up a call, share more info, and I'll give you my advice.

Chesley Chen

In your case, context is everything. I've managed a wide range of business developers and compensation models and it all depends on the business, product, and stage of company maturity.

What do I mean by context? What's your business, what's your product or service, how much revenue do you make per sale, is your product/service simple or complex which also implies a simple or complex sale process...which then leads you to what kind of business developer and how to compensation your business developer.

Set up a call, share more information with me, and I'll give you my advice based on your context.

Chesley Chen

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