I was great at customer support though. Imagine talking to a customer support person who not only knew everything about the product, but would apologize abjectly if there was a bug, and then fix it immediately, while you were on the phone with them. Customers loved us. And we loved them, because when you're growing slow by word of mouth, your first batch of users are the ones who were smart enough to find you by themselves. There is nothing more valuable, in the early stages of a startup, than smart users. If you listen to them, they'll tell you exactly how to make a winning product. And not only will they give you this advice for free, they'll pay you.

Resist the urge to start over. There’s always a feeling that if you just rebooted, you’ll somehow avoid the Trough of Sorrow. Not true. Trust your initial instincts in your market and in your product, and figure out how to guide it into a similar place. If smart people invested in you and in the market, there’s probably something there, but you have to find it.


Deductible real estate taxes are any state, local, or foreign taxes on real estate levied for the general public welfare. The taxing authority must base the taxes on the assessed value of the real estate and charge them uniformly against all property under its jurisdiction. Deductible real estate taxes generally do not include taxes charged for local benefits and improvements that increase the value of the property. See Taxes for local benefits , later.
In the past year, the Lily family has had many ups and downs. We have been delighted by the steady advancements in the quality of our product and have received great feedback from our Beta program. At the same time, we have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds. Over the past few months, we have tried to secure financing in order to unlock our manufacturing line and ship our first units – but have been unable to do this. As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers (details below).

A few months into my newest startup, Custom Reality Services (CRS), I lost my mother and then my sister. The grief impacted my ability to read. I negotiated a leave of absence for six months. I resigned from all of my boards. My recovery needed to be put first. Thankfully, I had partners who were willing to make room for me. If that isn't your situation, you still matter. Get into conversation with your key stakeholders (e.g., co-founders, board and/or partners) to figure out how to make a leave of absence work or how to exit gracefully. There are things in life you cannot muscle through.


The first few weeks were a blur. I was the first non-engineer at the company, as well as the first woman. I told myself I was up for the challenge. We were building something! We were moving fast! I was tough. I was blazing trails for the women who would come after me. I eschewed pangs of confusion and uncertainty as the normal feeling of inadequacy you get at any new role. I didn’t dare share with anyone that I had no idea what I was ultimately responsible for, what would count as a win in my role, or even what expectations of me were.
It’s OK if your solution is clunky - what matters is that you deliver your Value Proposition and you learn the basics of your customers’ problems before you automate. By being a part of the solution personally, you’ll be able to experience your customers’ problems first hand and you’ll get to see what pain points matter the most for them. Plus, you’re not spending a lot of time and money on building an automated solution you don’t know will work yet. But you are serving customers.
A kickback is a payment for referring a client, patient, or customer. The common kickback situation occurs when money or property is given to someone as payment for influencing a third party to purchase from, use the services of, or otherwise deal with the person who pays the kickback. In many cases, the person whose business is being sought or enjoyed by the person who pays the kickback isn’t aware of the payment.
Generally, you can claim a partial bad debt deduction only in the year you make the charge-off on your books. If, under audit, the IRS does not allow your deduction and the debt becomes partly worthless in a later tax year, you can deduct the amount you charged off in that year plus the disallowed amount charged off in the earlier year. The charge-off in the earlier year, unless reversed on your books, fulfills the charge-off requirement for the later year.
The treatment of preoperational startup costs is potentially much more complex for tax purposes than financial accounting purposes. Costs that are startup costs for financial accounting purposes must be analyzed and possibly subdivided into smaller categories, each of which is treated differently for tax purposes. Making things more confusing, one of these smaller categories for tax purposes includes the costs described in Sec. 195, which commonly are referred to as startup costs in tax discussions.
Pick up small tactical wins. Even if you do something in the product that doesn’t scale at first, it can be worth it- like prepopulating content, inviting all your friends, doing PR, etc. These small wins build momentum, raise team morale, gets you incremental amounts of capital, and makes it so that you can keep going. Over time, to scale, you can figure out how to systematize these processes or they can end up bootstrapping bigger and more scalable ideas.

A key to effectively executing at this stage is to expand your growth team by hiring specialists with deep expertise in your primary channels. If SEO is a promising growth channel then bring an SEO expert in house, if you’re hitching yourself to the instrumented virality sled, then bring in a product person who’s got relevant experience, and so on.
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