Silicon Valley venture capitalist, author and speaker Guy Kawasaki knows what can make or break a company.
In the mid 1980s and again in the early 1990s, he worked with the late Steve Jobs at Apple to market the original Macintosh computer and grow the company's fanbase. After that, he worked for several other tech companies and wrote more than a dozen books, many of which are about innovation.
In an interview with CNBC Make It at the New York Synergy Global Forum, Kawasaki shared a simple thing every entrepreneur-hopeful should consider.
"My top advice for entrepreneurs is prototype [your product]," he says. "Get it out there."
Many would-be entrepreneurs spend too much time thinking about starting a company, and far too little time, he says, on actually seeing if people are interested in buying what they want to sell.
"The purpose of a company is to ship," he says. "It's not to create Powerpoint, Excel or Word documents."
The venture capitalist says that when it comes to pitching your idea to investors, showing an a actual product is more important than presenting a report or even a business plan.
"The most important presentation to an investor is a prototype that is already being used or subscribed to," Kawasaki tells CNET. "That beats any pitch."
For those who have already built a company, the work doesn't stop. Kawasaki says that entrepreneurs should constantly be thinking about how to set themselves apart from the crowd. A simple way to do this is to think about how another entrepreneur might be trying to disrupt your field.
"A very good framework is to imagine that there are two guys in a garage together, or a guy and a gal in the garage, and they're after you," he says. "They're coming after you. They want to kill your business."
Ask yourself, "What are they doing? And then, if you should do it, or if you should hire them to do it for you?" he says.
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