Here's a long, but good article from 2008, about an unknown knowledge management startup's failure, and some lessons to be drawn from it. Here are some choice extracts:
- You don't need a product to start selling if it's software. The first sales meetings with managment were perfectly possible with screenshots, mockups and slides.
- Start selling before you found the company. Start selling now! You do not need to have a company to sell new ideas to customers.
- We didn't sell anything because we had no sales person. Bummer. Of course we were looking for one and the business plan said: High priority is finding a sales person for the founding team.
- Ask people if they are allowed to buy your product. Get to the one who says "Yes" fast. We had several big companies in our sales queue and I'm sure they would have bought in the end, but as a startup we couldn't wait.