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Presidential Election Sheds Four Ways To Make CEO Status In A Startup World

U.S. presidential candidates, Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, are armed with facts, stats and talking points as they complete the final stretch of their campaign trail. Both continue to echo their vision among voters on how they plan to strengthen our nation, addressing issues related to budget allocation, job creation and income growth.

Regardless of your political views, it is clear for me that these candidates are running for our government’s highest executive office as if they are pursuing a CEO position of a global company or pitching a new startup. That’s because those who seek to lead often find themselves moving through a strategic campaign process that attempts to sway individuals, investors and institutions to open up their hearts, wallets (and voter’s ballets), thus allowing the right visionaries to rise above the rest.

Visionaries have an uncanny ability to turn a perceived risk into a valuable asset, and we’ve had a number of entrepreneurs find their start within our building as of late. Like a presidential candidate, it is amazing to see how today's entrepreneur is armed with strong data points, fantastic advice, capital, and mentorships. And incubators like TechStars and Founder’s Co-op are minting and mass-producing the world’s next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg.

Maybe it’s because of my humble blue-collar upbringing, but I secretly wonder whether the franchised approaches to entrepreneurship is so slick that it can't be believed. Kickstarter alone has launched more than 75,000 projects and raised a total of $399 million in capital, yet it only has a success rate of about 44 percent. So depending on how you define success rates of startups, one thing is clear, there is a lot to be learned from today’s leaders whether they are today’s entrepreneurs, CEOs or politicians. 

Leaders, especially for those of us that are in larger, more established companies or roles can provide insight on how to make product or business pitches succinct and exciting. There are countless blogs on this type of advice and I don't purport to have a new angle on this. However, as many similarities there are to lead a vision, I believe that as a former startup leader, the corporate environment is quite different as well. It may be more difficult to launch a vision, in the midst of others and other leaders who possess their own ideas.
For those new to the startup world, you are typically pitching to one of the following: angel investor, venture capitalist or strategic partner. In general, you are building a concise 10‐page, 20‐minute pitch to investors. You will be allowing 30-minutes or more for questions and answers, and the materials you develop should tell a story that contains the following points:

1) Your vision offers a unique product or service that addresses core customer needs
2) The market opportunity is large enough that it is an interesting business or company
3) There is a market demand for your product, service or solution
4) You have a strong execution plan for your vision that includes a world‐class team
Mastering these basics are important, and I highly encourage visionaries within establish companies as well as entrepreneurs to practice getting the basics right. People need to see the picture of how you envision the significance of the impact and executive of your next project and/or business on your organization.


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