It's never too early to focus on revenue

Watercooler CEO Kevin Chou on the virtues of team, taking baby steps and revenue

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Bambi Francisco Roizen
February 10, 2009
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Few companies gain enough momentum and traction - Twitter comes to mind - that revenue can be an afterthought. The reality is that most companies achieve modest traction, making revenue generation a must have. 

"You can never start focusing on revenue too early," said Watercooler CEO and co-founder Kevin Chou, during his recent visit to the Vator studio in San Francisco. Even if you get some traction, you'll "flounder" unless you start creating revenue to sustain the business, he said.

Another piece of advice from Chou is to make sure that the right team is in place. This is something I've heard time and again from entrepreneurs, making this piece of advice all the more valuable. Don't hire or partner based on someone's resume, he said. It's not about the pedigree, but whether the potential founder has enough passion. During tough times, these are the people who can get you through - if you choose the right partners.

Chou also believes in taking baby steps. He believes that CEOs must have a 10-step game plan and a grand vision. But you'll never achieve step 10, if you can't get through steps one and two, he said. So, have a vision in place, but focus on getting through the first few steps.

Finally, Chou - formerly a venture capitalist at Canaan Partners before jumping to the entrepreneurial side - offers this advice to venture capitalists-turned-entrepreneurs or VCs thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. 

"Until you do it, you can never understand what it’s like.”

Great advice. And, as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg once said, if business fails, there's always Harvard.

If Chou fails - which we certainly don't believe he will - there's always venture capital. 

(Editor's note: Stay tuned for my interview with Chou)

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