Startup Professionals Musings

8 Smart Tips To Soliciting Friends And Family Funding

Startup Professionals Musings

It’s great to start with a big dream as you contemplate a new business, but finding the money you need takes more than dreaming. As an advisor to young entrepreneurs, I find that many are a bit naïve about how the investment process really works.

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.

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7 Keys To Success With An Employee Ownership Culture

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the lessons I have learned over the years as a business executive, and now as a mentor to entrepreneurs, is that if you really want employees who enthusiastically take ownership of their work, you have to start treating them like owners, not renters.

7 Groups Of Difficult Customers Test Every Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Have you ever noticed that some of your business owner friends get all the bad customers, and yours all seem fairly reasonable? Or is it the other way around? I’m always amazed that, in my role as a business advisor, bad customers somehow seem to gang up on certain businesses.

7 Myths That Kill Many Businesses Before They Start

Startup Professionals Musings

You don’t have to be a new venture advisor like me to hear all the excuses for not starting your own business. I’m sure all of you have friends who are not happy in their employee roles, and are not shy about complaining, but never seem to get around to doing anything about it.

10 Outsourcing Myths Jeopardize Too Many New Ventures

Startup Professionals Musings

These days, it is almost impossible to find a small business where everything is done at the home location, by full-time employees. We are in the age of outsourcing, by any of many popular names, including subcontracting, freelancing, and virtual assistants.

6 Reasons Startups Need All Angels Plus Crowd Funding

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs who require funding for their startup have long counted on self-accredited high net worth individuals (“angels”) to fill their needs, after friends and family, and before they qualify for institutional investments (“VCs”).

5 Motivations That Bode Well For New Venture Success

Startup Professionals Musings

As a startup advisor, I see many aspiring entrepreneurs whose primary motivation seems to be to work part time, or get rich quick, or avoid anyone else telling them what to do.

6 Hurdles For Going Public Through A Reverse Merger

Startup Professionals Musings

With the current strong economy, as an active startup mentor, I’m seeing a new surge of entrepreneurs and startups, with the commensurate scramble for funding. There just aren’t enough angel investors and VCs to go around.

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10 Strategies To Isolate Smart Risks In A New Venture

Startup Professionals Musings

There is an old saying that good lawyers run away from risk, while good businessmen run towards risk. Entrepreneurs see “no risk” as meaning “no reward.” In reality, all risks are not the same.

10 Signs That The Age Of The Entrepreneur Is Here Now

Startup Professionals Musings

With the current strong economy, and sparked by the last recession, I’m seeing a real resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit, and more startup activity than ever before.

5 Key Decision Points Highlight Great Venture Leaders

Startup Professionals Musings

Most aspiring entrepreneurs are convinced that the strength of their initial idea somehow defines them as a leader, as well as the success potential of their derivative business. In my experience, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

10 Investor Approaches To Avoid When You Need Funding

Startup Professionals Musings

Many new entrepreneurs are so excited by their latest idea that they can’t resist contacting every investor they know, assuming the investor will be equally excited and want to contribute immediately.

AVIXA’s Heidi A. Voorhees on Thinking Differently

Startup Professionals Musings

Heidi A. Voorhees, CAE. EDUCATION Bachelor of arts, majoring in commercial recreation/business, Central Michigan University; master of business administration, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. MY FIRST INDUSTRY JOB Straight out of college — convention assistant, SmithBucklin.

5 Strategies To Capture Sustainability Opportunities

Startup Professionals Musings

As I have said many times, the cost of entry for an aspiring entrepreneur has never been lower, and the total wealth of opportunities has never been larger.

8 Attributes Of The Most Creative Startup Founders

Startup Professionals Musings

An entrepreneur is literally “one who creates a new business.” The best new businesses are ones that have never been done before, so mastering creativity and recognizing creativity are key skills and mindsets. But how does one recognize and nurture creativity in a person or team?

10 Ways To Jeopardize A New Venture Early And Often

Startup Professionals Musings

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs seem to prefer to fail their way to the top, rather than do some research and learn from the successes and mistakes of others. It seems to be part of the “ fail fast, fail often ” mantra often heard in Silicon Valley.

8 Elements Of A Mindset For Success In Your Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Maybe starting a new business isn’t your passion, but in these days of rapid change, where everyone is dealing with uncertainty, I believe that thinking and acting like entrepreneurs will help you get ahead in any profession.

5 New Venture Deliverables Put You Ahead Of The Crowd

Startup Professionals Musings

As a mentor to startups and new entrepreneurs, I continue to hear the refrain that business plans are no longer required for a new startup, since investors never read them anyway.

10 Questions To Ask Before Selecting A Search Firm

Startup Professionals Musings

I started out in business as a techy geek, so I understand why technologists starting a new venture spend so much effort getting the product just right. Yet I’ve learned over time that building the business is all about having the right team members.

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10 Strategies To Kick Up How You Will Be Remembered

Startup Professionals Musings

Every entrepreneur and business leader waits too long before really working on the legacy that he wants to leave to society and his family.

10 Negatives That Still Make Going Public A High Risk

Startup Professionals Musings

In the old days, every entrepreneur dreamed of easily taking their startup public, and making it big. Today the rate of startups going public (IPO – Initial Public Offering) is up from the dead zone, but is still half the rate of 15 years ago.

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5 Ways To Give Now For A Future Competitive Advantage

Startup Professionals Musings

Business partnerships have traditionally been agreements to drive more transactions than either company could do alone.

10 Top Revenue Models Drive Viable Businesses Today

Startup Professionals Musings

I was mentoring some graduate students at a local university recently, and I sensed again that profit seems to be a dirty word these days to many aspiring entrepreneurs.

8 Strategies For Regularly Reinventing Your Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Sometimes entrepreneurs are so focused on making change happen for customers that they forget that continually changing themselves and their company is equally important.

7 Plan Elements That Separate Businesses From Hobbies

Startup Professionals Musings

Unless you are a serial entrepreneur with a string of successes behind you, you need a business plan to convince investors that you can build a business out of the dream that has been driving your passion to change the world.

7 Action Items For Introverts Starting New Ventures

Startup Professionals Musings

You can’t win as an entrepreneur working alone. You need to have business relationships with team members, investors, customers, and a myriad of other support people. That doesn’t mean you have to be a social butterfly to succeed, or introverts need not apply.

The Good The Bad And The Ugly Of Funding From Friends

Startup Professionals Musings

In their passion to succeed, too many entrepreneurs treat friends and family investments as “low-hanging” fruit, only to find out later, after a stumble, that the pain of lost relationships is greater than the loss of their beloved startup.

10 New Venture Approaches That Can Jeopardize Success

Startup Professionals Musings

Starting a new business is a serious undertaking. Yet many aspiring entrepreneurs I know approach it as a fun project, get-rich quick scheme, or perhaps an expensive hobby.

6 Steps To Empowered Employees And Unstoppable Growth

Startup Professionals Musings

As a business advisor, one of the things I see most often as a drag to productivity and growth is employees who, despite their best efforts, can’t change things that they know are hurting the company.

7 Modern Business Values Lead To Sustainable Profits

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur, it’s never too early to set the culture you need for a thriving business, as well as thriving employees, customers, partners, and vendors.

10 Strategies For Leaders To Drive Disruptive Change

Startup Professionals Musings

How is it that only a few business leaders and entrepreneurs seem to drive exceptional results and disruptive innovation in this rapidly changing market economy (marketquake)? These few seem more adept at executing market and technology turns, not just incremental evolution.

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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 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.

7 Startup Strategies For The Next Dot Com Billionaire

Startup Professionals Musings

Many aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to the Internet as an opportunity to get rich quick, instead of a place where you can start a business you love, for very little capital and minimal technical expertise.

6 Key Tenets Of A Winning Marketing Story In Business

Startup Professionals Musings

In my role as a mentor to entrepreneurs and an angel investor, I find that too many are stuck in this myth that a good pitch, and good marketing content, should consist of more product features, and more hype on customer benefits.

5 Public Speaking Opportunities To Make Your Company

Startup Professionals Musings

As a mentor for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs, I talk to a fair number who may have a great vision and a strong engineering background, but have a negative interest in the role of public speaking in business.

5 Reasons Every Smart Business Owner Seeks A Mentor

Startup Professionals Musings

Advice is cheap. As a new business owner, you don’t have to take any advice you hear, but failing to listen and learn from someone’s prior experience can cost you a fortune. As a long-time mentor and business advisor, I find it ironic that many look only to friends for advice.

8 Ways Startups Are Changing The Way Businesses Work

Startup Professionals Musings

The new era of highly connected and interactive technology is changing not only how business employees interact with customers, but also how they interact with each other, and with their company.

Why Taking Risk Is The Ultimate New Venture Advantage

Startup Professionals Musings

Outside of dreams, there is no real business opportunity without risk. Serious entrepreneurs know that, but too many “wannabes” still fall for that elusive get-rich-quick scheme with no risk.