John PeterssonSerial Entrepreneur in payments industry & more...

Six startups in four countries in 25 years. Experience with VC, M&A, private equity. Focus on payments industry and business services. Product management guru.

Recent Answers

In my experience, angel investors bring money but little else. There are exceptions (super angels, etc.), but most angels expect you to run the business, have the ideas, turn them into something profitable and figure out how to make it all work.

If your investor has specific expertise in your market, it makes sense for you to try to tap that expertise. Is once a month good enough? If I had an angel investor with specific expertise in my market, I'd be asking the investor how much time they are able to devote. I would take as much of their time as they could devote - so the answer is really with your investor.

I'd be happy to get on a call to discuss your specific situation.

There are various templates that you can find using a Google search. However, it is sometimes difficult for a founder with limited experience writing business plans to write a plan that is clear to outsiders - the founder is often too deep in the weeds.

The first thing you need to do is be clear on why you need a business plan. Is it for fundraising? Is it to decide what your company is all about? Is there some other reason?

I've written lots of business plans for my own startups and startups I've consulted with. Sometimes the right answer is that you don't need to write a business plan at all, but you just need some of the elements of the business plan, such as a revenue model or marketing strategy.

I've got a few business plan templates and would be happy to discuss them. It all starts with your current situation and your needs though.

If this is your only developer, you should be open to giving away some equity to him. It doesn't have to be more than 5%, and could be considerably less.

Much of this depends on the specifics of your situation: what does your company do, what is your current revenue and burn rate, what are your goals for the company, etc.

I have been through this myself in many scenarios (boot strap, post-series A fundraise, doing-it-myself, and on and on). I've also advised other companies going through these questions. There is no simple answer across the board, it all depends on your situation.

Let me know if you'd like to chat more.

You may be able to get a bank loan on your personal credit. The bank will simply look at your credit score and your current income (which indicates your ability to re-pay the loan). Your company will most likely not be able to obtain a bank loan until the point it has had positive cash flow for 6+ months.

I have used credit card debt, 401k withdrawals/loans and home equity loans to finance my personal expenses in the past. They all work, but savings are obviously better.

If your idea is good enough and mature enough, you can try to raise money from family & friends.

There is a solution: forward contracts or options contracts. However, in order for these to work, you need predictable future revenue streams, and the amounts need to be large enough. For example, if you know that you will be paid 400k in Polish Zloty on January 15, you can secure the exchange rate today. Doing so with a forward contract obligates you to the transaction though - if you don't have the Zloty on January 15, you are in breach of the contract.

Options give you an option, not an obligation. However, unlike forward contracts, options sometimes carry an up front premium.

Options and forward contracts are two different hedging strategies that can be used in foreign exchange. The big questions with hedging are:

1. What is the dollar value of you flow of Polish Zloty? Is it big enough to hedge?
2. How predictable is the timing of your future revenue flows in Polish Zloty?

One important thing to bear in mind: even if you don't have enough volume to hedge, you should be careful to not overpay for the transactions you have coming though. Lots of companies charge exorbitant exchange rates, and understanding the game of FX is important to make sure you get a fair exchange rate.

Please reach out if you'd like more info on this.

If you're specifically targeting your first 100 customers, I would make the free trial much longer. At this very early stage, you're better off with customers using your product than with paying customers. Look for customers 101- and beyond to be paying your bills. So do a 3-month free trial instead - or longer. I would also target customers in the same industry and possibly in the same geographical area. You're more likely to get referrals if you have a universe of users that are similar.

Confluence by Atlassian has worked out great for me in the past. You can track changes, control rights to edit (and more) and take advantage of lots of features. It also integrates with other Atlassian tools. Let me know if you'd like further info or details on my past implementations.

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