Raising capital may be the hardest thing you ever have to do in your business career. So, if you've decided to raise outside capital for your business, let me provide some guidance, borne of mine, my investors, and my clients' experience.
You're not going to go undefeated in your business. All entrepreneurs suffer defeats, failures, setbacks. It's how you rebound, learn and grow from them that makes the difference in small business success. Here are six action steps that can help .
Rarely can an entrepreneur build a great business alone. Almost always it takes a great team to build a great business. Easier said than done because there are many significant challenges in the construction of a great team.
The term “silver bullet” has been around for many years, where tradition has it, a bullet made of silver was supposedly the magical method to kill werewolves. We've come a long way, but we're still looking for the simple solutions to c
Here are seven key criteria most investors care about. Using the metaphor from the 2016 re-make of one of the greatest Westerns to grace a movie screen, “The Magnificent Seven,” introducing “The Magnificent Seven of Entrepreneurial Investment.”
Over the years, I've written a lot about business plans, especially for early-stage companies trying to raise capital. But, the mistake many entrepreneurs make is that the rationale for its existence is ONLY to raise money.
In this time of great technological innovation, no matter how cool or dazzling a new product might be, at the end of the day, if ain't solving a customer problem or addressing a customer need, nobody is buying it!
Creating a startup is one of bigger challenges you could ever have in business, with minefields and pitfalls everywhere. But there are three things would-be entrepreneurs need to avoid, at all costs, which can dramatically limit their potential success or
Equity and percentage ownership has always been a lightning rod for discussion and controversy with startups and entrepreneurs. It is also less understood than it should be, with dilution and control issues being major points of concern.
Instead of wasting countless hours with business plans and pitch decks, startup entrepreneurs should be focused how to prove their business concept and how it can make money. No investor funds an idea.
Tradition, while it tries to emphasize the past, often suppresses the future. Entrepreneurs are faced with issues of tradition that can impact their business at almost any stage of its evolution. Far too often, tradition can be a new innovation killer!
Technology has made this one of the easiest times ever to start a new business. It has also never been more difficult to make a start-up successful than it is today. While focus is critical, it's just as important, to not do stupid things. Don't d
Starting a business and raising capital are two, mutually exclusive, endeavors. Yet, many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken belief that you can't have one without the other. You need capital to grow your business, but it comes with a price.
Entrepreneurship is not just the province of the twenty-somethings. When it comes to creating new businesses, it's the "old dogs" who are leading the pack. A recent study found that twice as many successful entrepreneurs are more than 50 as under 25.
Every entrepreneur believes deeply in their business concept. Most have a deep passion for what they do, the market they serve and are willing to put in the hard work to launch the business. But, that's not enough. Without a vision, there is no success!
Marshall McLuhan, a renowned philosopher of communication, coined the phrase "the medium is the message." Nowhere is that more relevant than in an investor presentation. A bad presentation can kill a great product, blowing an opportunity for investment.
Whether driven by economic times or the seeming low cost of entry, it appears that more and more folks are setting out on the entrepreneurial path. And they are coming from every conceivable class, gender, age or ethnicity. But it ain't for everybody!
The culture an entrepreneur creates can be the single biggest factor in not only driving success, but attracting the employees and customers it needs to sustain that success. It reflects the environment and the management style the founder creates.
This may be the easiest time ever to start a new business with technology enabling entrepreneurs to begin on a literal shoestring. It's also probably never been more difficult to make a start-up successful than it is today. To help, here's what not to do!
Building a new company from the ground up is no easy task. And according to history, the odds are stacked against you. o when it comes to achieving startup success, who better to heed advice from than successful entrepreneurs?
That sounds like professional investors don't want risk. There's nothing further from the truth. They invest in high risk ventures in hopes of generating significant returns. However, there's a difference between "prudent risk" and a "lottery ticket!"
The Holy Grail for entrepreneurs is no longer just to be "first mover," but to be first mover with a "disruptive technology!" It's hard enough to achieve the former; achieving the latter is like hitting the lottery. Instead focus on fundamentals.
"Go big or go home" is a perfect description for the type of passion and effort that entrepreneurs need for business success. But, used by the investment community, it has an entirely different meaning; often, just creating "noise" for the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are often too nice for their own good and, equally often, it costs them both time and money. "Dirty Harry" had a unique hard-edged personality that exuded "attitude." Sometimes you need a little "attitude" to give you a tougher edge.
Picking a partner or co-founder isn't like finding a new friend. This is creating a relationship that will last for some time, with enormous financial and emotional consequences. It's like a marriage, but with a child from the get-go - the small business.
When you started up your own company did you know what skills you would need to make your enterprise succeed? Skills like marketing, sales, operations, finance and customer support, And how much of the skills you needed to know, did you really possess?
These are two phrases I use a lot when advising young companies. They are two sides of the same coin and critical traps for young entrepreneurs to avoid, to achieve early success. They are also the reason that many never get much beyond the launch pad.
Risk and commitment go hand-in-hand at the foundation of any entrepreneurial endeavor. You are blazing new trails, leaving a good position with a steady paycheck, yet the same monthly bills. It's a daunting yet binary decision. You do or you don't.
Occasionally, some smart entrepreneur, somewhere, will come up with a true product innovation. Any innovative product or true breakthrough should be treated like fresh fish - it has a high spoilage factor. Same thing with a great product innovation.
One of the big problems in early stage companies is when to start paying yourself anything at all, let alone a livable wage. Yet, if you think about it, it's not until you do pay yourself on a consistent basis, that you actually have a real business.
I don't think one phrase is more appropriate for start-up entrepreneurs, because beyond running out of money, lack of clear, pinpoint focus is the reason many start-ups fail. And often, the reason they run out of money - trying to do to much!
To be a successful entrepreneur takes certain talents those innate characteristics that define you as an individual, which can and should be developed and honed. There some key talents that every successful entrepreneur I've ever met or dealt with ha
Creating a formal business plan at inception is a waste of time and resources. It's static, a snapshot in time of the business. What early stage entrepreneurs need is a dynamic"battle plan," that guides/tracks the business and is easily modified.
Whether I'm speaking, working with a current client, a prospective one, or just sitting on an airplane after I've told somebody what I do, invariably, I get the question, "What's the best advice you can give a start-up entrepreneur?&qu
And maybe they never will...if you make it the target audience's responsibility to "get it." People will not buy something they can't understand. And it's the responsibility of the designer, developer, sales person or small business owner to make sure ...
I can't tell you how many business plans I have read that were built on a business concept that simply could not work. Too often an entrepreneur, full of passion and bent on hard work, ventures out into a business...
I have seen countless examples, especially in the technology space, where the entrepreneur is so passionate in his/her belief in the business concept that they expend all available resources to continue to optimize the product/service that...
I can't tell you how many business plans I've reviewed that were built on the premise that the market for the product or service of the business was simply astronomical and that all that was necessary was simply capturing a miniscule percentage of that...
In the early growth stages of your company, don't be overly concerned with the percentage of equity you retain. By either setting too high a valuation and/or making sure you keep controlling interest...