Prof Bruce’s Startup Checklist

“Those mundane and tedious little things that, when done exactly right, with the right kind of attention and intention, form in their aggregate a distinctive essence, an evanescent quality that distinguishes every great business you’ve ever done business with from its more mediocre counterparts whose owners are satisfied to simply get through the day,” Michael E. Gerber, The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, HarperCollins, NY. 1995.

If it is OK for pilots and astronauts, heart surgeons and nurses to use them, it is probably OK for entrepreneurs too. What are we talking about? Checklists!

Hospitals that introduce checklists for their OR nurses and Doctors (for things as simple as: ‘Did you remember to wash your hands?’) have found that their infection rates drop from around 10% to zero. Enterprises that integrate checklists into what they do, day-to-day, may avoid becoming 1-sigma businesses (see: for more about this); they can witness remarkable increases in labor productivity, improvements in customer satisfaction and reduced litigation risks.

Entrepreneurs have little room for doubt and even less for mistakes. They need to be right almost all the time since their margin of error is so slim—they usually don’t have the resources to recover from serious error. So here is our Startup Checklist, 45 things you can do to improve the odds.

First, find out if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur. Take the online ECQ Test:
Next, select the right idea for your business:
Get your business model right:
Generate a business model:
Get a mentor. Bounce your ideas off him or her. Shine some daylight on your ideas—give them a reality test. Verbalize:
Create a compelling value proposition with lots of differentiated value:
Self-capitalize/bootstrap your enterprise so you end up owning it not a VC:
Get as much trade credit and supplier credit as you can:
Use guerrilla marketing/social media to get earned media exposure:
Find at least three pre-launch clients:
Remember if you can’t do three things (i.e., Sell, Sell, Sell), you can’t be an entrepreneur: and
Make sure you can make great pitches and think-on-your-feet:
Set your goals and remember to check, check, check everything:
Learn how to get sponsors for practically anything:
Find some strategic investors:
Remember your competitors can be your allies too. This is called co-opetition: and
Master the Entrepreneur’s Skill Set, A to Z:
Three more things for you to do—Practice, Practice, Practice:
Find a ‘Magic Marketing Button’ that really works:
Be a team player:
Make sure you keep your costs down. Costs will always rise to exceed revenues unless you are very, very careful:
Keep innovating:
Be the best product manager you can be:
Organize and exploit your supply chain with as much care and attention as your sales channels:
Integrate the Internet into everything you do:
Create an organization that suits your industry and give some thought to creditor proofing yourself in case things don’t go well: and
The most important decision you make other than to start your business is who you hire and who you surround yourself with—so hire up:
Pay attention to your cash conversion cycle and remember to collect your receivables: and
Build lots of leverage into your model:
Take advantage of cheap or even free space and use all the great (and free or near free) tools that are available to you over the Internet:
Remember ideas are fine but execution counts for even more:
Be someone that everyone can trust:
Be ethical:
Build and hold: and
Create a personal business for life:
Don’t fear success:
Join networking groups and participate in events: and
Get a Twitter account. Read Twitter Nation:
Get a copy of the Entrepreneurs Handbook:
Write a blog: and publish elsewhere:
Build your own YouTube channel:
Start your own online store:
Expand the language/start your own UrbanDictionary channel: and
Give back to society:,,,, and
Need some inspiration? Read 1,000 Entrepreneur Quotes and Sayings: and

Prof Bruce

Download this checklist as a PDF:

Bruce Firestone

Bruce Firestone

CENTURY 21 Explorer Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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