[Sam] worked with me to identify completely different core strengths and rebuilt a marketing message that really helped to differentiate us from the competition. Since working with Sam, the company's fortunes have grown tremendously with rapidly accelerating revenue.
As an advisor to our company, Sam’s technical depth, business breadth and clear, methodical approach has proven first-hand his expertise at startup execution. Our only regret is not having him as an advisor earlier!
With Sam's intense experience and his dedication to making our startup successful, and his simple but brilliantly designed workshop brought a new lease of life to our team and gave much-needed direction to our company.... He goes above and beyond to make sure no stone is left unturned even if it means to add extra hours of his time.
Most coaches tell you what to do.
Great coaches show you how to do it.
Great coaches need three things:
Most advisors only answer startup trivia and don't have a plan and don't bring any tools. We can often help you apply a detailed solution from our 35+ hours of startup training.
We hated it when a college professor couldn't teach clearly. We've worked hard to develop "expert witness" skills to explain hard problems using simple visual concepts.
Before Signing with an Advisor, Read This!
I made a ton of mistakes as a first-time CEO of startup #4. The company struggled mightily. We almost went bankrupt multiple times.
Friends connected me with a few advisors to help me right the ship. But several advisors were the opposite of help, as they didn't truly have startup experience, didn't bother to dive into the details, or really weren't qualified and got lucky with their own startup.
Here are two blog posts that I suggest every founder read before signing on with an advisor or startup coach:
“Practice doesn't make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect.”
– Vince Lombardi, winner of 5 NFL championships as Head Coach, Green Bay Packers
What makes our coaching different?
Learn from an author and a veteran of 5 startups with 3 successful exits, who can address both technical & business issues.
Guided by our Startup Execution Roadmap & Blueprint, we go deep with proven methods and frameworks - not random soundbites.
Advice helps you with what. Tools help you with how. Our color-by-numbers templates help you quickly implement best practices.
Ready for Coaching?
We typically start our engagements with small coaching packages.
Get help to address a problem without costly long-term commitments.
Got Founder / Coach Fit? Let's Roll!
After we've done some work together, you'll get a sense of our capabilities and we'll get a sense of your potential.
If we have founder / coach fit, then we can discuss one or more of the following fractional founder roles.
Chief Business Officer (CBO)
The CBO serves as the CEO's top lieutenant and often helps with fundraising, due diligence, sales, financials, legal, talent, operations, and execution from both a strategic and tactical perspective.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
As a startup CFO, we often integrate startup best practices into the accounting system, model financials, produce financial statements, report on key metrics, & lay the FP&A foundation.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
As a CTO, we typically help the startup's top developer learn to view technology through a business lens, learning how to not to build the best technology, but the technology that works best.
Chief Product Officer (CPO)
As a CPO, we often drive Lean Startup customer discovery, idea validation, product marketing (including refining / rebuilding messaging), MVP, go to market, & customer acquisition / sales.
Startups Need Team Members to Wear Many Hats
Our broad and deep skillset and experience makes us especially well-suited to help startups with strategic direction and tactical execution. Unlike many advisors who only offer high-level "point-the-way" guidance on one or two subject areas, we roll up our sleeves and help build content and deliverables across many startup disciplines.
Want to Talk to Us About Coaching?
If you think you're almost ready to move forward with a coaching project but want to talk to us first, you can book an initial consultation here.Schedule a Consultation
Do You Accept Equity for Your Coaching?
We will accept equity for our coaching and fractional founder work only for very well qualified startups. Here's why:
What is your equity worth?
Many early-stage founders are quick to offer 0.5% to 1.0% of their equity to an advisor. But without a good assessment of the startup's value (which can take 12+ hours) both parties are guessing at how much stock is appropriate.
How much work is needed?
Most startup advisors spend only 1-2 hours per month talking over coffee with their startup. This isn't enough to solve most startups' needs. We often spend 10-40 hours per month as a coach / fractional founder.
Is this a founder / coach fit?
First Round Capital famously states that a "vast majority of startups have 5-10 general advisors who take equity & end up as nothing more than names on a slide". It's better to do a trial run for cash before giving precious equity.
Given these questions, experience teaches that it's usually best to start with a small cash-based coaching project. By doing a small "trial project" we can learn about you, your startup, and your potential. And you can get some short-term value while assessing if we are the right coach for you.
“Coaching isn’t therapy.
It’s product development, with you as the product.”
– Fast Company
Here are a few custom projects we've done
Acquisition Readiness & Exit
Sam served as a fractional CFO to help a startup build a solid financial and operational foundation. Sam supported the company's conversion to a C-Corp, concluded the Slicing Pie dynamic founder equity plan, cleaned up the stock grants / cap table, built a stockholder dilution model, implemented Carta, ran corporate housekeeping and board meetings, help set up the due diligence data room, and supported the M&A process. Sam's role ended with the acquisition of the startup.
Startup Fundability & Fundraising
Sam served as a fractional Chief Business Officer (CBO) to help a startup build fundability and raise funds. In his role as a coach to the first-time startup CEO, Sam helped institute Lean Startup customer discovery practices, designed the chart of accounts to support efficient managerial accounting, supported the implementation of Forecastr as the bottoms-up financial modeling platform, helped set up and create due diligence documents, developed a funding strategy that enabled the CEO to raise six-figures in Pre-Seed funds, and identified / successfully negotiated against several key investor-friendly terms.
Fractional CTO & Acquisition Advisor
Sam initially served as a CTO to help a startup stabilize its tech, as the non-technical founders had an under-performing 3rd-party software development company. Sam assessed the distressed project, built a plan to rein in the project, and unfortunately had to terminate the vendor when they failed to rectify delivery problems and multiple missed deadlines. Sam also supported the startup's equity crowdfunding initiative. Finally, Sam was instrumental in M&A negotiations, building a pro forma that demonstrated strong enterprise value of the combined companies, shepherding the due diligence process, and winning the trust of the buyer's executive team. Sam's role ended with the acquisition of the startup.