Find your Niche and product market fit: Create differentiation. If you don’t have a strong USP, you will die explaining. If the product market fit is not there, you may be fighting the wrong battle.
Hunt deer : Rightsizing your product ensures you focus on how and to whom you sell it. Don’t aim for something too big or small. We used up 1 year using a product that wasn’t salable locally. We couldn’t hunt for elephants. So we built fo the US market. We got some good customers. I prettymuch bootstrapped for the next year and a half or so.
Raising capital: Understand what a VC is interested in. They have limited time and bandwidth. You need to get know the market. Every VC has a different win to lose ratio. You have to map yourselves to the right firm. He is paying for his own growth and you are paying for your startup. The interests are aligned but your understanding will help you work with the right firm.
Valuation is the last thing the founder should be worried about. There are multiple ways a VC can trick you anyways. Whats really valueable for you is the partner, the firm, the value. You need to know what you are setting yourself up for. Ask questions like do you understand my market. See if they have invested in any of the startups in your area. Use capital judiciously. It takes about 3 years to build a product. There is no way you can speed it up. At that stage, be focused on buildling the product and invest in the product.
Cultivate analysts and media by being helpful to them and suggesting ways to work together.
Create barriers to entry: A barrier to entry is not just technology. Its also about being first in the market. You can own a market by marketing the hell out of it. Sometimes you can create technological barrier. Design. Patents. For instance, Gillete invested nearly $1 billion in R&D to create barriers to entry in the commoditised market. For them, innovation was a barrier to entry. By people, marketing, innovation, technology and design, you can create barriers.