Fred Wilson’s Guide to Starting Up: Business School for Startups

March 5, 2015

12:39 pm

Fred Wilson is a renowned venture capitalist and the principal of Union Square Ventures. Because of this, startups value any and all advice that they can get from him; and, for many, the main way they attain that knowledge is from his blog AVC (which is a literal representation of “a VC”). For those┬ástill in the very early stages of their startup or for those who have just discovered a desire to pursue the life of an entrepreneur, Wilson’s “MBA Mondays” posts feature advice on starting up – from pointing out the different kinds of corporate entities to defining your key business metrics. Well, did you know that you can get the best of these MBA Mondays in a free ebook. Because you can, and it’s called Business School for Startups.

“When you start a business, it is important to recognize that it will eventually be something entirely different than you. You won’t own all of it. You won’t want to be liable for everything that the company does. And you won’t want to pay taxes on its profits,” writes Wilson in Business School for Startups.

Yesterday, we shared with you the Harvard Startup Guide, created by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. While the guide is definitely useful in providing an overview on what to consider before jumping into your own venture, it’s nowhere near comprehensive enough to actually walk you through on all the aspects of what it takes to launch and run a startup. Wilson’s Business School for Startups, on the other hand, looks in-depth at the many different considerations one must have before launching a company. I mean, sure, they’re all just a bunch of previous blog posts, but, again, Wilson’s posts are nothing to scoff at, and the quality of the advice found within each chapter is higher than the things you can find in other books today.

Reflecting on both his own experiences at business school and his past and current experiences as a VC, Wilson offers readers with practical advice on how to start a company. What’s great about the content of Business School for Startups is that it’s really formatted more like a textbook, but reads much easier in Wilson’s voice; hence, it’s deeply informative without being robotic. And jargon isn’t just thrown at your face; rather, he takes the time to explain each and every term that you should grow to be familiar with, and even offers examples (whether by providing his own, or linking to an external article or website) in cases where things may be a little too difficult to understand through mere description.

“Getting someone to join your dream before it is much of anything is an art, not a science. And the amount of equity you need to grant to accomplish these hires is also an art and most certainly not a science. However, a rule of thumb for those first few hires is that you will be granting them in terms of points of equity (i.e., 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%). To be clear, these are hires we are talking about, not co-founders.”

In Business School for Startups, Wilson┬ástarts with sections describing corporate entities, options for financing your startup, and the all-too-crucial considerations on what your role should be as a CEO of a company. He then moves on to employee equity and accounting – both of which take up a substantial part of the ebook. He then ends it with what kinds of business metrics you should use, and the fundamentals of mergers, acquisitions, and exits.

Business School for Startups is completely free, and you can download the ebook now as a PDF or for your ereader. Download a copy of Fred Wilson’s Business School for Startups. If you want more startup reading, then consider downloading Tech Cocktail’s own Startup Mixology, written by our very own CEO, Frank Gruber!

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.