Meet the authorBuy the book!Buy the mapNow play the Zero-to-IPO gameSeminar series

Overview Page

Preparing for your Journey
Figuring out where you are, where you're going and how to get there.

The Long Haul from

Roadmap and travel guide to the each of the four stages of growth.

The Short Sprint from
Zero-to-Asset Sale

Building a company to sell for a profit.

The Slippery Slope to Shutdown
Understanding how a cash crisis develops, how to raise funds, cut costs and avoid bankruptcy.

Valuing the Company
Figuring out what the company is worth.

Negotiating the Deal
Getting what you want through negotiation.

The Fundraising Process
How to raise funds from investors.

Selling the Company
The M&A Process: step-by-step guide to selling your company.

Every Journey Tells a Story
The various routes your journey could take.

Resource Guide
Directories of investors, advisors, agencies & other resources.

Preparing for your Journey watch movie | read endorsements

Unfortunately, many of the startups today are working with a travel plan somewhat similar to that of the Donner Party: “..we’ll head off in this direction and push through over the mountains -- and through hard work and perseverance we’ll make it to the promised land..”. If you’re going to have any chance of completing this journey today, you’ll need a well-prepared travel plan that’s somewhat more detailed than this.

“Many people flooded into Silicon Valley in recent years, especially in the dot-com gold rush years, but technology entrepreneurs are not the first people to head west in search of a better life. People have been migrating west for as long as anyone can remember – and there are things that we can learn from their experiences. Today’s companies are drawn by the nurturing business environment and the skilled workforce of Silicon Valley. In the last century, good weather and farming land was enough to entice people to embark on a dangerous westward journey. Back then, the challenge was to find a good road map, select a route and travel plans that would enable you to get your family through the mountains before the winter storms arrived. Some people made it through without a scratch, others were not so lucky.

Many years ago the California Star newspaper in San Francisco published a delicious account of the rescue of the Donner Party, a group of several families of migrants trying to cross the Sierras from Independence, Missouri to the Pacific in 1846 that ground to a halt mid-winter in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe. It told of how the lucky travelers had survived by eating the flesh of the other, less fortunate, members of the party and that when they were discovered they were actually broiling and preparing the body parts of close family members for a juicy meal.

When we look back at the story of the Donner party today it’s difficult to understand how they could have been so foolish as to find themselves trapped in such an inhospitable place mid-winter without appropriate supplies. They embarked on the journey thinking that if they could just get over the mountains they’d find a land of milk and honey in California. Of course actual cannibalism is quite rare (or well covered up) in corporate America today but many of journeys taken by technology startups end in similarly ugly conditions and there’s a great deal to be learned from the journeys of our adventurous forefathers. Surely, with a little planning, each member of the Donner party should have been able to make it through without having to snack out on the body parts of family and friends – indeed many other parties had successfully completed the journey before. Wouldn’t you like to have the opportunity of advising the leaders of the Donner Party before they set out on their fateful journey?..”

This chapter contains vitally important information to prepare you for your journey:

  • Seven point travel plan -- I’m confident that the Donner Party would have made it through in one piece if they’d put together a detailed travel plan based on these seven points. In fact, the principles of this travel plan can be applied to any other type of journey. In this chapter, you learn about the travel plan and how it can be applied to your startup.
  • Picking your team – when you start a new business, you have to decide whether you want to go it alone or bring in partners. Here you learn when and how to go about bringing in partners and assembling the rest of your team.
  • The hidden force – you learn about the force that drives companies to success and how you can harness it to your benefit.
  • Fundraising process – here we cover the whole process of raising funds from investors. The chapter covers everything from formulating your pitch and targeting investors to negotiating terms and closing out the round. You receive sample voicemail scripts, do’s and don’ts, valuation guidelines and come away armed and ready to negotiate ratchets, redemption rights, co-sale rights and liquidity preference terms.
  • Taking your bearings – you learn how to take your bearings and fix your company’s position in two simple steps.
  • Picking the best route for you and your product – answer some simple questions to reveal the best route for you and your startup.

Introduction << Back  |  Next >> The Long Haul from Zero-to-IPO