- Lauren K. Ohnesorge
- Staff Writer- Triangle Business Journal
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Brothers Mike and Will Shook have learned a lot since merging their $110 million company, Strategic Technologies, with Consonus in 2007.
They’ve learned “what not to do,” and it’s that knowledge that is pushing them forward in their new consulting venture, Accelerence.
Cary-based Accelerence aims to help bridge the gap between high tech startups and venture capital and there are already three unnamed customers.
“The realities are, there are a whole series of barriers to have to get through,” explains Will Shook. “It’s elusive. We want to help offer them a way to get the capital, but more importantly, play the cards they’ve been dealt”
So, from the Shooks, here’s what NOT to do when starting your company:
1. Don’t: “Start building technology before you really understand how it’s going to bring value to customers,” Mike Shook says. “People have this great idea and then, all of a sudden they build a product.”
Do: Instead, companies SHOULD build something where there’s a demand- and that can only be accomplished by talking to your customers and assessing your industry. Talk to your customers and build the product with their specs in mind, not yours.
2. Don’t: Stay in your cubicle. That’s really the key to NOT creating a successful startup, Will Shook says.
Do: Companies SHOULD, instead, “get out there.”
“’Know thy customer,” he adds. “Treat that as the first commandment.”
3. Don’t: Ignore your competition.
“Think that nobody has a product like yours and that you don’t have competition,” he adds, as a key to failure.
Do: Instead, startups SHOULD give competitors due credit. Find out how you are uniquely positioned and can create value.
Figure out how to “dominate a segment, versus trying to be all things to al people,” Will Shook says.
The Shooks’ venture officially goes live this week, though in actuality, they’ve been testing their business model for a few months. The Shooks make their money through a combination of equity and a percentage of revenue growth a startup nets after heeding their advice.