Startup Professionals Musings

7 Steps To Finding Investors Aligned With Your Values

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the most common complaints I hear from new business owners and startups is about the pain and difficulty raising capital. The “venture capital” model is the only option they know, where they feel they get no mercy, giving up equity and control.

5 Principles For Working With Someone You Don’t Like

Startup Professionals Musings

One thing is certain in any business – not everyone you have to deal with will be like you, or will like you (and vice versa). These people may include one of your business partners, an investor, a key vendor, or even one of your best customers.

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10 Guidelines For Storytelling To Hype Your Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

The entrepreneur’s challenge is to effectively communicate their value proposition, not only to customers, but also to vendors, partners, investors, and their own team. Especially for technical founders, this is normally all about presenting impressive facts. But in reality facts only go so far.

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Startups Need Employees Who React Like Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

Every startup lucky enough to get some traction gets to the point where they decide to hire some “regular employees” for sales, marketing, and administrative tasks. Then they are surprised to see productivity and creativity take a big dip.

10 Answers That Make Your Startup Plan Investable

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investors need to develop and pitch a plan -- preferably written -- that answers every potential investor question about your startup before it is asked.

6 Situations Where A Business Plan Does Not Add Value

Startup Professionals Musings

Writing a business plan is hard work, so I get lots of pushback from prospective new venture founders that it’s just a waste of their valuable time in this rapidly changing environment. They all claim to have the plan in their head, and writing it down will only slow down their success.

10 Controversial Lessons From Serious Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

Most people agree that entrepreneurs have to think differently and take risks to have much chance of building a successful business.

6 Lessons From Navy SEALs For New Venture Founders

Startup Professionals Musings

You have to be extra tough mentally to start a new business venture.

6 Key Attributes That Investors Look For In A CEO

Startup Professionals Musings

Every business needs that ultimate leader and decision maker at the top, commonly given the title of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Sometimes it’s the business founder, and in other cases the CEO is recruited by the founder or investors to complement the skills of the technical team.

10 Steps To Investing Successfully In New Ventures

Startup Professionals Musings

Investing in entrepreneurs and startups is a fun but different world from investing in conventional stocks, bonds, and commodities. First of all, it’s more of an investment in people than in a business, since the startup is usually an idea barely half-baked when they need your money.

8 Leadership Lapses Every Business Owner Must Avoid

Startup Professionals Musings

Even entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. They know leadership is all about managing their own complicated, illogical, and fallible human foibles, as well as the people they depend on.

6 Ways To Spot Innovative Thinkers For Your Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs are usually highly creative and innovative, but many innovative people are not entrepreneurs. Since it takes a team of people to build a great company, the challenge is to find that small percentage of innovative people, and then nurture the tendency, rather than stifle it.

6 Insights On Social Media Trends You Need To Know

Startup Professionals Musings

Isn’t it frustrating to think you finally understand something in business, like marketing with social media, only to realize that the landscape changed while you were looking at other priorities?

If You Can’t Find An Angel Investor, Look Again, Here

Startup Professionals Musings

If your startup is looking for an angel investor, it makes sense to present your plan to flocks of angels, and assume that at least one will swoop down and scoop you up. Or does it? Actually numbers and locations are just the beginning.

6 Key Leadership Habits Required For Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

Starting and building a company is all about leadership – formulating an idea, building a unique plan based on vision and experience, and forging a path over and through all obstacles.

8 Creativity Traits That Will Improve Your Leadership

Startup Professionals Musings

Starting a new venture is all about being creative, not just in the initial solution, but in tackling the daily challenges of every new and innovative business. In my role as business advisor, I find too many people still looking for the right answers in the back of the book.

10 Actions That Will Transform You From Good To Great

Startup Professionals Musings

Everyone recognizes a great leader when they work with one, but most leaders don’t know what to look for in themselves that will drive that perception by others.

5 Keys To Keeping Your Office Positive And Productive

Startup Professionals Musings

Throughout my career in small companies and large, I’ve always been appalled by the number of people who have a negative attitude or complain all of the time.

6 Startup Strategies That Turn Off Most Investors

Startup Professionals Musings

Don’t bash the competition. Every investor knows how vulnerable a new startup is to competitors, so investors always ask about your sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace.

6 Growth Barriers Most Startups Don’t See Coming

Startup Professionals Musings

Every entrepreneur thinks he can relax a bit after his business model is proven, funding is in place, and revenues are scaling as projected up that hockey-stick curve.

Smart Entrepreneurs Build Startups Without Investors

Startup Professionals Musings

In my experience as an advisor to aspiring entrepreneurs, I often encounter the myth that an initial startup requires investors.

7 Strategies For A Low Entry-Cost Sustainable Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

If your dream has long been to start and manage your own business, there is no time like the present to get started. The cost of entry is at an all-time low, working from home through an Internet website seen globally, turning a hobby or an invention into an online business.

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10 Personality Types That Shouldn’t Be Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

People who get stressed managing their own lives don’t make good entrepreneurs. Small businesses require multi-tasking, work prioritization, and decision-making, with no assistants or help from specialists. That’s why Fortune 500 executives usually don’t survive as startup CEOs.

8 Entrepreneur Challenges Founders Don’t Anticipate

Startup Professionals Musings

Every new entrepreneur who has not spent years in corporate life has the advantage of an unbiased look at business opportunities, but at the same time has the disadvantage of missing critical business experiences that can cost them dearly in their first startup venture.

7 Leadership Principles To Get You From Smart To Wise

Startup Professionals Musings

Most of the entrepreneurs I have met are smart, but many are not always wise.

6 Tools To Assess Your Potential As An Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

Too many people, young and older, let their career and their lifestyle happen to them, rather than proactively making things happen based on their personal passions, skills, and interests.

7 Writing Rules Eliminate Any Failure To Communicate

Startup Professionals Musings

Even in this age of videos and text messages, the quickest way to kill your startup dream with investors, business partners, or even customers, is embarrassingly poor writing.

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Startups Need Great Execution More Than Great Ideas

Startup Professionals Musings

A popular approach for aspiring entrepreneurs these days seems to be to corner anyone who will listen, with a pitch on their current “million dollar idea.” The initial monologue usually ends with the question “How much money do you think this is worth?”

6 Ways Startups Are Fooled By Prior Business Models

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur mentor and startup investor, I see with sadness the 50 to 90 percent that fail. If you ask them for a reason, most will insist that they couldn’t get funding, or they ran out of money too early. But I’m not convinced that it’s as simple as that.

Don't Fall for These 6 Deadly Myths of Startups

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Flickr by Side Wages Some entrepreneurs forget that they need an innovative business model along with an innovative solution to have a successful startup. Inventors alone, or business gurus alone, generally fail. It really takes a complementary pair of founders to improve the odds.

These 8 Disciplines Define A Fundable Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

Aspiring entrepreneurs often ask me what to do first when starting a business.

10 Proactive Ways to Build Engagement From Your Team

Startup Professionals Musings

Every business wishes that all their employees were star performers, but wishing doesn’t make it happen. Some coaches and leaders seem to have the magic for bringing out the best in everyone.

How Much Stock Would Convince You To Join A Startup?

Startup Professionals Musings

Wouldn’t you like to be one of the lucky people who joined Google and Facebook when these were startups, and now be a multi-millionaire or better? So people ask me “How many shares should I ask for or expect when I join a startup today?”

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How Entrepreneurs Select And Nurture Top Performers

Startup Professionals Musings

Isn’t it amazing that some people you know always seem to be working hard, but never seem to get anything done? As an entrepreneur, you need to avoid partnering with these people, or hiring them into your startup. The challenge is to find people who get things done, as well as work hard.

Every Startup Needs Intellectual Property To Thrive

Startup Professionals Musings

A large portion of your competitive advantage and your potential value to investors is the size of your intellectual property portfolio. When someone says Intellectual Property (IP), most entrepreneurs think only of patents.

8 Keys To Getting Real Value From Business Networking

Startup Professionals Musings

There is no skill more vital to an entrepreneur than effective networking. You can’t build your business alone, and networking is the best way to open doors, professionally and personally.

How To Win Business Without Sacrificing Your Ethics

Startup Professionals Musings

Many people seem to have the sense that ethics are spiraling downward in business, and unfortunately most startup professionals and entrepreneurs I know don’t believe they can make a difference.

7 Key Steps From a Million Dollar Idea To a Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Based on my own experience as a startup investor, and feedback from like-minded friends, we all get pitches for at least ten startup ideas for every one new business plan. New business founders need to remember that investors fund business implementations, not ideas.

10 Startup Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make Again

Startup Professionals Musings

The good news is that everyone expects entrepreneurs to make mistakes, since founders explore uncharted territory. In fact, investors recognize that founders usually learn more from mistakes than from success, so a well-explained startup failure can improve their odds of funding the next time around.

4 Startup Survival Lessons Lead To Business Success

Startup Professionals Musings

The good news is that the rate of new entrepreneurship leveled off a bit last year, although it is still rising, according to the latest Kauffman Index of startup activity.