Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurs’
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
A word of advice for workers considering wearing pajamas, a chicken suit or parachute pants to the office: Don’t. In a survey from OfficeTeam, eight in 10 (80 percent) executives interviewed said clothing choices affect an employee’s chances of earning a promotion, and respondents gave some pretty hilarious examples of outfits that missed the mark.
The good news for the wardrobe-challenged is that proper attire may carry less weight than it did six years ago: 93 percent of executives surveyed in 2007 tied professional wear to advancement prospects. Among those respondents, 33 percent said clothing significantly affects a person’s chances of moving up the ladder, versus just 8 percent who feel this way today.
Personally, attending some tech events that draw a large number of entrepreneurs, programmers, and younger startup workers, we’ve felt overdressed in a suit and tie. On the other hand, at TechMedia events that draw a large number of venture capitalists, the dress is distinctly upscale – although many entrepreneurs still forgo the tie even if wearing a sports shirt instead of a tee.
We suspect the rules are much more lax at most tech startups – although the chicken suit and the pajamas are still a bad idea – and unless you’re working for NASA and about to head for the moon, better leave your space suit in the closet.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Managers were asked, “To what extent does someone’s style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted?” Their responses:
|Not at all
A space suit isn’t appropriate office wear unless you’re an astronaut.
Managers also were asked to recount the strangest outfits they have heard of or seen someone wearing to work, not in observance ofHalloween. Following are some examples:
- “A dinosaur costume”
- “Parachute pants”
- “A chicken suit”
- “A space suit”
- “Studs and motorcycle gear”
- “A wolf mask”
These professionals got creative with their clothing combinations:
- “A T-shirt, tie and flip-flops”
- “Short pants and a winter jacket”
- “One red sock and one white sock”
- “Tennis shoes and men’s knicker pants”
- “Shorts and house slippers”
- “A red suit with sporty footwear”
Others donned apparel that left little to the imagination:
- “A see-through dress”
- “Fishnet stockings and stilettos”
- “A bathing suit”
- “A tube top”
- “A backless shirt”
This gear was more appropriate for the gym than the workplace:
- “A muscle shirt”
- “A sweat suit”
- “Yoga pants”
- “Very tight bike shorts”
These outfits just didn’t make the “cut”:
- “Torn jeans”
- “A vest with a big hole in the back”
- “A T-shirt with cut-off sleeves”
And the following getups might be viewed as fashion faux pas both in and out of the office:
- “Saggy pants”
- “Sandals with socks”
- “Flood pants”
“Employees may be tempted to dress down in today’s workplace, especially during warmer months, but clothing that’s too casual or revealing can be frowned upon,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking . “Although a polished appearance alone won’t land you a promotion, it can help others envision you in a leadership role.”
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Eighty-four percent of entrepreneurs said they are confident or very confident in their companies’ prospects for profitability in the next 12 months, which is the highest confidence level since the survey launched early last year and reflects a 1 percent increase over the fourth-quarter 2012 survey.
Furthermore, confidence levels of the youngest entrepreneurs – those 18 to 30 years old – started to rebound, as 96 percent reported they were confident or very confident that their businesses’ profitability will increase in the year ahead, a 3 percent jump over fourth quarter 2012.
This is just the latest of a number of surveys showing that small businesses, startups and even private equity firms are showing more confidence about their businesses than they have in years, despite concerns about the overall economy and political machinations.
Granular feel for entrepreneurial sentiment
“The findings of this survey from quarter to quarter provide an important gauge for entrepreneur sentiment, which plays a significant role in their business decisions,” said Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “This also is a way to give entrepreneurs, who are as diverse as their companies, a collective voice.”
Confidence levels among other age groups fell as the entrepreneurs’ ages increased. Nevertheless, even entrepreneurs aged 61 and older – the oldest category – expressed 73 percent confidence in 2013 profitability.
“These reports continue to benchmark entrepreneurial confidence across the country,” said John Suh, CEO of LegalZoom. “They also provide a more granular feel as to how an entrepreneur’s experience with consumer demand and perceived outlook on the economy may impact the decision to hire.”
No so optimistic about overall economy
Despite their optimism for their own companies’ profits in the year ahead, entrepreneurs’ faith in U.S. economic growth deteriorated from fourth quarter 2012. Just 39 percent said they expected the economy to improve over the next 12 months, compared to 44 percent in the previous quarter’s survey.
The number of entrepreneurs planning to hire more employees also declined. In fourth quarter 2012, 37 percent of the respondents planned to hire. In the most recent survey, only 32 percent expected to hire more employees in the next 12 months.
Entrepreneurs’ outlook for consumer demand dipped with 44 percent expecting an increase in customer demand, down from 45 percent in the previous survey.
The Kauffman Foundation sponsors the Startup Confidence Index surveys in conjunction with LegalZoom, a leading national provider of online legal solutions and legal plans to young companies.
The findings are based on 1,650 responses to a nationwide, February 2013 survey distributed via email to LegalZoom customers who formed their entities within the last 12 months. The Index is conducted quarterly to gauge entrepreneurial confidence.
View the Kauffman LegalZoom Startup Confidence Index infographic. Follow the conversation online at #startupconfidence.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Chris Shaw, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kansas City-based startup accelerator and business incubator Think Big Partners has been selected by Google to be a beta tester of its exclusive Glass hardware.
Google selected 8,000 people worldwide to be part of its Glass Explorers program, an initiative to test the limits of the Glass wearable computer hardware.
Connects to mobile phone
Google Glass is a head-mounted display unit that connects with the user’s mobile phone to allow for seamless communication over the web. Glass also has a video camera that allows for pictures and video to be streamed over the web.
Chris Shaw, a serial entrepreneur who founded LexSpot and has advised over a dozen technology startups, said he wanted to use Glass to give back to the community that enabled his success.
“Glass is a truly innovative way to tell stories and share experiences,” says Shaw. “While our primary use for Glass will be for developing mobile applications in spaces like healthcare and enterprise, we wanted to test the media capabilities of Glass in a unique way.”
Tech Trek documentary
As a result of this thought, Herb Sih, Founder and Managing Partner of Think Big Partners encouraged Chris to create Tech Trek, a Glass-enabled documentary that explores the different startup hubs, technologies and innovations throughout the country.
“When Chris said he wanted to give folks a birds-eye view into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, we were enthusiastic to support Tech Trek,” says Sih. “Think Big has started dozens of companies either directly or indirectly and we feel like we have an obligation to give back to the community.”
Tech Trek is using Kickstarter to raise funds for the ambitious project to tell the story of technology entrepreneurship in the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, Ca., Los Angeles, Ca., Las Vegas, Nv., Boulder, Co., and Kansas City, Mo.
Funds will sponsor entrepreneurs
In addition, Shaw explains that some of the funds from the Kickstarter campaign will be used to sponsor entrepreneurs to attend Tech Trek who cannot afford to visit the cities and companies that Tech Trek will feature at incubators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Science and TechStars.
“Our goal with Tech Trek is to show people what we do and how technology and entrepreneurship are building the future of our world,” says Shaw.
Spencer Walsh is an independent film producer and director who will be filming and producing Tech Trek.
“Google Glass provides a very unique opportunity for documentary work. I’m already excited to capture the effect this new technology has on the people interacting with it physically and virtually,” explains Walsh.
“Also, most of my productions are for startups so I know how creative entrepreneurs are. In my opinion, the possibilities of Glass will really begin to reveal themselves as Chris interacts with these established and growing communities. This might be selfish, but I feel like I’ll be getting a glimpse into the near future.”
To learn more about Tech Trek, please visit www.techtrek.co. To become a part of the Tech Trek Kickstarter campaign, please visit http://kck.st/10OBm3R.
Friday, March 29th, 2013
How do successful entrepreneurs deal with uncertain economic times? Businesses that survived the Great Recession and are thriving today didn’t focus on losses then – and they aren’t now, says Donna Every, a financial expert who has published three non-fiction business books.
“The entrepreneurs who are successful during times of uncertainty are so because they don’t rely on the standard approaches they’d use in predictable times, and they look for opportunities – the positives — in situations that would have been considered negatives five years ago,” Every says.
“It’s similar to how we deal with the weather. In places where it’s sunny most of the summer, we wouldn’t leave our house each morning packing coats and umbrellas just in case. The weather’s predictable. But in the winter and other seasons when the weather can quickly change, we head out with a different mindset.”
For businesses, switching gears to deal with inclement economic conditions involves adopting new perspectives and practices, she says.
What are some of those strategies? Every outlines them:
• Build on what you have, not toward what you want: Instead of setting goals and then seeking out the resources you’ll need to meet them, assess what you have available and decide what you can achieve with that. This not only saves you the time and expense of pulling together resources you may not have, it also gives you the advantage of working from your business’s individual and unique strengths.
• Follow the Las Vegas rule: Tourists planning a weekend in Las Vegas will often set aside the amount of money they’re willing to gamble – and lose — on cards or the slots. That way, they won’t lose more than they can afford. During an uncertain economy, entrepreneurs should calculate their risks the same way. Rather than going for the biggest opportunities as you would in prosperous times, look for the opportunities that won’t require as much of your resources. Calculate how much you can afford to lose, and always consider the worst-case scenario.
• Join hands and hearts: Competition is fine when things are going well, but when times are tough, you need allies. Explore forming partnerships with other entrepreneurs so you can strategize to create opportunities together. With what your partners bring to the table, you’ll have more strength and new options to work with.
• Capitalize on the unexpected: Surprises can have positive outcomes if you handle them nimbly by finding ways to use them to your advantage. Instead of planning damage control for the next unexpected contingency, look at it as an opportunity. Get creative as you look for the positives it presents.
• When life is unpredictable, don’t try to forecast:Focus on what you can do and create now rather than what you can expect based on what happened in the past. In good times, that information can be a helpful and reliable way to make predictions, but savvy entrepreneurs don’t count on that in uncertain times.
“While the U.S. economy certainly is improving, there’s still too much uncertainty both here and abroad to go back to the old ways of doing business just yet,” Every says.
“If you’ve survived the past five years, you’ve probably been relying on many of these strategies – maybe without even realizing it,” she says. “Don’t abandon them yet, and if there are some here you aren’t using, work toward incorporating them, too.”
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Starting their own business made life better for many entrepreneurs, says PlanetSoho, a provider of easy-to-use online management tools and services for small office / home office businesses (SOHOs), in its new State of America’s SOHOs study.
Results from surveying 1,300 SOHO owners show life improved for these entrepreneurs after they took the leap to turn their passion into a business.
The State of America’s SOHOs study reveals that nearly 2/3 of PlanetSoho members consider their business a success in less than two years. Additional findings include:
- 46% say the main reason they have a SOHO is to do what they love
- 46% report having more time to spend with friends and family since starting a SOHO
- 37% are sleeping better
- 14% report having more sex
Why people love being a SOHO:
- 61% love creating their own schedule
- 56% enjoy being their own boss
- 41% like not commuting to work
What kept them from “Taking the Leap” to become a SOHO sooner:
- 36% weren’t sure where to start
- 31% didn’t have the money needed to get started
Top four SOHO industries:
1. Computer and Internet
2. Health, Wellness and Fitness
3. Marketing and Advertising
SOHOs are not just improving their own lifestyle; they are improving the U.S. economy. These smallest-of-the-small businesses are pumping $1.8 trillion into the U.S. economy every year – $5 billion every day. The trend of turning passion, talent and skills into bankable income is on the rise.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
Does price really matter in a venture financing deal? Can “small ideas” still get funded?
Don Rainey, a former entrepreneur, says his 12-years “on the dark side” as a venture capitalist, have taught him a handful of lessons that still serve him daily, among them, answers to those questions and others.
Rainey, a general partner with Grotech Ventures since 2007, was named to the Washingtonian’s “Tech Titans” list in 2011, and currently serves on the boards of Grotech portfolio companies Clarabridge, GramercyOne, HelloWallet, LivingSocial, Personal, SnappCloud, and Zenoss. He’s one of more than two-dozen venture capitalists and other investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
Price doesn’t matter
On his blog, VC in DC, Rainy outlined ten of the lessons about entrepreneurship that still guide him.
That business about price, for instance. “Price doesn’t really matter,” he says. “If you invest in something htat fails, it’s immaterial. If it wins, you might hope you had bought it a little cheaper, but you’ll always wish for that. The question is, is it something you believe in? If a deal works out, the price was right at some level. Get in good deals, and forget about getting the last dollar in a negotiation for that good deal.”
He adds, “We’re judged by whether the companies we invest in succeed, not the price.” Also, he notes, “Sometimes you do everything right and sill lose. Macro events can put real pressures on a company. Just think if you had gone into something aimed at financial services in 2007. Some things are beyond your control.”
Don’t pursue small ideas
Big ideas and small ideas are equally difficult, he says. But a venture capital firm has to have some multiple return on the capital it invests and can’t support small ideas, Rainey says. On his blog, he writes, ”What’s the point in trying to change the neighborhood when you can change the world.”
You’re not a rock star
“I’m very suspect of the venture capitalist who wants to be in front of the parade,” Rainey says. “That’s the role of the entrepreneur. We’re enablers, not the primary actors.”
Add value outside of board meetings
Portfolio company board meetings are not the place where a VC adds real value to the firm’s investment. “Private conversations over coffee, lunch, or late at night is when you really can influence the CEO,” Rainey says.
Don’t Invest in People who don’t take advice
Some entrepreneurs have a world class talent for ignoring good advice, Rainey notes on his blog. “I’ve done this 12 years and only had one CEO who ignored my advice and failed. He made a point of it. It wasn’t personal, he ignored everyone’s good advice. A good CEO listens to everyone.”
Then, he’ll let you know he heard you, saying something like, “I concur on these four items from your suggestions. “That’s what the smart ones do,” Rainey says. “They assimilate all that advice and incorporate it into their own perspective.”
Starting and running a business is often fraught with extreme ups and downs, more than one entrepreneur has told us. One day you land a really big customer, the next everyone you talk to says “No.” An entrepreneur has to be able to ride that roller coaster. “One of the great assets of an entrepreneur is confidence,” Rainey says.
“It does ebb and flow. There are days when you’re driving to work thinking there is no way you could be more screwed than you are at that moment, but when you get to work, you find out you were wrong, there are ways it can be worse. It’s hard. People don’t always appreciate how challenging it can be to be able to swing above your weight in the face of weeks or months of bad news. But you have to keep on fighting, even with a strong headwind.”
Be nice to people, it pays well
“In a business like ours,” Rainey says, “You have to say ‘no’ to 99 of 100 people who come to you for money. If you’re not nice to people, even when you have to say ‘no,’ they remember. They also remember if you were nice about it. None of knows where we’ll be in five years or what we’ll be doing.”
Monday, January 28th, 2013
We hear a lot about job creation and how critical it is to our nation’s economic health and future. But who are America’s job creators? Are they the nation’s richest individuals? Are they big public companies? Hot start-ups?
The answer, says business growth expert Professor Ed Hess, is none of the above. He points to new research sponsored by the Small Business Administration—“Accelerating Job Creation in America: The Promise of High-Impact Companies” by Spencer L. Tracy, Jr.—showing that almost all net U.S. job creation in recent years came from existing private, high-growth companies.
“If we are really going to get serious about job creation, policymakers and communities should focus more on nurturing existing private, high-growth businesses,” says Hess, the author of Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses (Stanford University Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-8047753-4-2, $29.95, www.EDHLTD.com).
Focus on an important issue: Growth
“That means doing what’s necessary to create a healthy small business environment, such as encouraging investment in private business through tax incentives, encouraging hiring inside the U.S., making credit readily available, and so forth,” he adds. “But it also means zeroing in on a very important issue that often gets overlooked: growth.”
To this end, Hess thinks, state governments, the Small Business Administration, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and entrepreneurship centers at colleges and universities should increase their focus on educating existing private business owners on how to manage both the risks and the challenges presented by growth.
Challenges facing the nation’s real job creators
Professor Hess led a study that looked at 54 high-growth private businesses in 23 different states, included both service and product businesses having an average age of 9.6 years and an average revenue of approximately $60 million with the range being $5 million to $350 million.
The key findings of that study led Hess to write two books: Growing an Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases, a case-textbook for colleges and universities, and the aforementioned Grow to Greatness. Both were peer-reviewed and published by Stanford University Press. The key concepts in those books are the subject matter of this free course.
So, what are the big challenges facing the nation’s real job creators? Take a look at a few facts Hess thinks every company should know about business growth:
Too often, businesses grow themselves into trouble. We know that many successful small businesses implode when they attempt to grow too much too quickly. Growth can outstrip people, processes, and controls.
“Cash flow management during growth periods is critical, because in many cases growth requires investments in people, technology, supplies, etc., ahead of the receipt of cash from customers,” says Hess.
“Entrepreneurs have to understand that they may not be able to afford all the available growth. Instead of following the ‘grow or die’ myth, a much better axiom to follow is ‘improve or die.’ As a business grows, in most cases entrepreneurs have to scale people, processes, and controls. That means not only more but better people, processes, and controls. A focus on improvement is critical because one must maintain high quality standards and financial controls in the haste of growth.”
Successful entrepreneurs know when to release the growth “gas pedal.” In his research, Hess found that every private business faces the same challenges as it attempts to grow. He found that successful entrepreneurs learned to pace their growth.
“They use what I call the ‘gas pedal’ approach to growth,” notes Hess.
“Letting up on the growth pedal to give their people, processes, and controls time to catch up. We also found that strategic focus was critical to safely growing. Focusing on doing one thing that lots of customers needed better than the competition equated to big opportunities.”
Growth means learning to effectively delegate. For a business to grow, the entrepreneur must grow also. When growth begins, entrepreneurs quickly find that they can do only so much and that they need help from others to properly serve customers. They must evolve from being a doer to a manager of employees and then eventually to a manager of managers (a leader).
“This may sound easy but it isn’t,” says Hess.
“Most entrepreneurs don’t like to give up control of any aspect of their business. Facing the fact that they can’t do it all on their own and that they must learn to rely on others to complete certain tasks (and not necessarily exactly how they themselves would do them) can be a very hard reality to swallow.”
Upgrading never ends. The people, processes, structure, and controls needed to manage a business with $1 million of revenue generally do not work for a business with $10 million of revenue. Entrepreneurs often learn the hard way that growth means continual change.
“As you grow, the solutions that worked at one level will most likely not work at the next,” says Hess.
“Inflection points for the companies I’ve studied occurred frequently when they expanded to 10, 25, 50, and 100 employees. When these changes take place, entrepreneurs often realize their hope of having a smooth-running machine is an elusive dream. Successful entrepreneurs and their employees are open to learning and adapting in an incremental, iterative, and experimental fashion.”
Growth creates business risks that must be managed. Growth stresses people, processes, quality controls, and financial controls. It can dilute a business’s culture and customer value proposition and put the business in a different competitive space. Understanding these risks is critical to managing the pace of growth and preventing growth from overwhelming the business.
“To get a better handle on growth risks, consider how your strategic space will change as you get bigger,” says Hess. “You will probably enter a new competitive space, facing bigger and better competitors than you previously faced. Those new competitors may be better capitalized than you and be able to engage in price competition, driving down your margins.
“The good news is that you can minimize this and other big risks by planning for growth, pacing growth, and prioritizing what controls and processes you need to put in place prior to taking on much growth,” he adds. “I call it ‘what can go wrong’ thinking, and entrepreneurs can’t indulge in too much of it.”
Friday, January 18th, 2013
Nearly half of the world’s entrepreneurs are between the ages of 25 and 44. The survey also reports that, in all geographic regions surveyed, 25-34 year olds showed the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity, according to a Babson College report.
“Although most of the entrepreneurs tend to fall into the early to mid-career age ranges, we see people participating in entrepreneurship at all ages,” commented Donna Kelley, co-author of the report and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College.
“Encouragingly, in every part of the world, youth are starting businesses as well as those in their late careers. Given this broad spectrum of participation, some economies may be well-served by looking more closely at certain age groups in order to determine how to encourage and support entrepreneurial activity.
European entrepreneurs are younger
“Whether it be educated youth in a society unable to find jobs to apply their skills, mid-career workers suddenly unemployed, retirees wanting or needing to continue earning income, or individuals of any age that recognize opportunities and have the desire to be entrepreneurs, people have particular strengths they can leverage at various points in their careers, but they are likely to need different training and resources to effectively engage in entrepreneurial pursuits.”
The Latin America/Caribbean and sub-Saharan African regions tend toward older entrepreneurs, with one-third falling into the 45-64 age range.
In Europe, on the other hand, the non-EU economies report, on average, that half of the entrepreneurs are between 18-34 years of age. China was also distinct in claiming a high proportion of young entrepreneurs, with 57 percent between 18 and 34 years of age.
Unveiled today at the GEM Annual Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this is the 14th annual survey of entrepreneurship worldwide and is the largest single study of its kind.
In the late spring and early summer of 2012, more than 198,000 adults in 69 economies took part in the GEM survey. With the largest sample to date, this group of economies represented an estimated 74 percent of the world’s population and 87 percent of the GDP.
The GEM 2012 Global Report also looked at cultural attitudes about entrepreneurship. Perceptions about entrepreneurial opportunities, capabilities, fear of failure, and intent to start a business are key predictors of entrepreneurial activity around the world. “We are finding that entrepreneurship education and media attention about entrepreneurs may have a lasting effect on cultural attitudes about entrepreneurship,” Kelley stated.
Visit the Babson Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Reports Website to access the full report
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Almost three-quarters of Americans think the pre-recession economy may be gone for good. According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey, just 27 percent think the old, pre-recession economy will return. Half of these Americans don’t expect to see it return until 2015 or later.
What’s more, entrepreneurs are less likely to expect a return to a pre-recession economy compared to private company and government workers.
They are also less confident about their finances in this new economy.
- Only one in five entrepreneurs (20 percent) think the pre-recession economy will return. This compares to 34 percent of government workers and 30 percent of private company workers.
- While 56 percent of entrepreneurs are confident they can meet their financial goals and needs in a new economic reality, confidence is higher among government workers (67 percent) and private company employees (66 percent).
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
As 2013 begins, small business owners are excited about the year’s prospects according to a new survey of more than 600 small business owners by ONTRAPORT - and many plan to hire.
This is the second report we’ve seen noting that small businesses are optimistic – if cautious – about the new year.
Entrepreneurs are almost universally expecting to grow in 2013, with that growth translating into hiring – more than half of all small businesses surveyed plan to hire staff in 2013.
Financing still sluggish
The market for financing a small business remains sluggish, however, as those surveyed indicated that securing financing is more difficult today than in the past and those seeking financing are outnumbered 4-to-1 by those who are waiting for better conditions.
If your small business is looking for funding, you may want to apply to present at the 7th annual Southeast Venture Conference set for March 13-14 in Charlotte, NC. It is currently (January 2013) seeking presenting companies.
Through a survey of more than 600 small business owners ranging across a number of industries including financial services, information marketers, restaurants and retail, ONTRAPORT secured a snapshot of small business sentiment today.
Highlights of the survey include:
- Holiday sales were great this year. More than 80% of small business owners reported seeing or expecting an increase in December/holiday sales this year. Last year, a study by Intuit stated that small businesses saw a 5% growth in sales volume over the holiday season. Small business owners seem particularly optimistic this year because almost 40% of respondents forecasted their holiday sales will increase this year by 10% or more.
- Small businesses will continue to be job creators in 2013. Small business owners were almost universal in their expectations that their businesses will grow in 2013. This optimism is reflected in the fact that nearly 60% of those surveyed plan to hire additional staff in 2013. Talent acquisition isn’t a concern though as almost half of respondents indicated that hiring staff is easier today than it has been in the past.
- The market for small business financing remains tight. Despite the fact that financing pressures were listed as nearly the top issue that keeps them up at night, 60% of small business owners stated that they will not be seeking financing in 2013. The choice to operate on a shoestring budget may be due to the fact that more than 40% of respondents indicated that it’s harder to secure financing today than it was in the past.
- They may be pursuing their passion, but what small business owners really want is more personal time. When asked the biggest factor in deciding to start their own business, 42% of respondents indicated that they wanted to pursue their passion. When asked what they would do if they had an extra hour every day, however, the number one response was “take more personal time” (34%), which beat out more focus on marketing, product development and customer service.
ONTRAPORT sells the business and marketing automation platform OfficeAutopilot.
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Wil Schroter, a serial entrepreneur, founded Startups.co
Startups.Co- which says it is the world’s largest network of business investors- has launched Funding 101, a free educational resource to guide entrepreneurs through the process of raising capital.
Funding 101 will serve as a tool for successfully navigating the steps to find startup funding- from initial business development and strategy, to preparing business documents and pitching angel investors and venture capital firms.
Funding 101 was developed by veteran entrepreneur Wil Schroter to fill a gap in resources available for startups beginning their fundraising journey.
Developed to share lessons learned
After launching 9 internet companies, and successfully raising funds from angel investors and leading venture capital firms, he found that investors were difficult to find and intimidating to pitch.
He decided to dedicate his career to streamlining the fundraising process.
Funding 101 was developed to share insight from Schroter’s path to becoming a serial entrepreneur, and deliver lessons learned from navigating the logistics and pain points of raising capital.
According to Schroter, “The truth is that fundraising is hard. Most people try and fail, no matter how great their preparation, their perseverance, or their idea.”
He adds, “That’s because there are far more people looking for capital than there are people writing checks, and therefore an entrepreneur needs to do everything possible to ensure they can successfully fundraise. Funding 101 is our effort to give every entrepreneur resources to educate themselves on the funding process and the options that are available”.
Funding 101 Resource Features
Funding 101 has broken down the fundraising process into three manageable steps; Prep, Match, and Pitch. Each stage is accompanied by a tool kit of how-to’s and advice for Startups on topics like crafting the perfect elevator pitch, evaluating investment needs, and how to find the right Investors.
Prep- Walks entrepreneurs through the initial process of forming a company, budgeting and fundraising, and gaining initial traction.
Match- Discusses the funding Landscape and provides a walk-through of funding options like bootstrapping, debt, and equity.
Pitch- Describes in detail how the investor pitch process works for startups interested in connecting with angel investors and venture capital firms. It also details exactly what investors are looking for in a potential startup investment.
How-to’s include “Making a good investor introduction”, “Crafting an elevator pitch”, and “Creating an investor prospect list”.
Funding 101 is one of many resources available through Startups.Co, which was founded as the first online funding platform in 2004.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Entrepreneurs, VCs, Accelerators and Incubators will converge at the Startup Summit on Nov 6-7 in Raleigh. The event will feature 16 showcase demo companies in addition to 8 panels & presentations on the most pressing issues facing startups in 2012. Startup Summit precedes the 5th Annual Internet Summit Conference held Nov 7-8 presented by TechMedia.
You’ll be all fired up and ready to conquer your space after hearing from national, regional and local Research Triangle startup founders, VCs such as Scott Maxwell, founder of OpenView Venture Partners, Laura Witt of ABS Capital, Dayna Grayson with North Bridge Venture Partners, and both Jason Caplain and David Jones of Southern Capital Ventures, among others.
Startup CEOs include Sarah Lacy, founder and editor of tech site, Pando Daily, David Morken, founder and CEO of Bandwidth.com, and Aaron Houghton, co-founder and CEO of Boostsuite, and Robbie Allen, founder and CEO of Automated Insights.
Attend the 2 day event and networking reception for just $95. Confirmed speakers include:
* Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
* Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
* Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
* Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
* Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
* Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
* Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
* David Morken, Founder & CEO, Bandwidth.com
* Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner, Fortify.vc
* Dayna Grayson, Principal, North Bridge Venture Partners
* Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
* Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
* Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
* Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
* John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
* Joe Velk, Contender Capital
* Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
* David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
* Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
* Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
* Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle
* Aaron Houghton, Co-Founder & CEO, BoostSuite
Register here: http://www.internetsummit.com/sus.html
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013.
The seventh annual Southeast Venture Conference, a major event for investors and entrepreneurs, is headed to Charlotte, NC, March 13-14 at the Riz-Carlton.
The conference features presentations by 60 of the region’s high growth investment opportunities.
They will include both early and later stage companies from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to Network with hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives, National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the technology community.
We’ve covered many startup and later stage firms that presented at previous SEVC’s and later landed multiple financing rounds.
SEVC is also teaming with the Internet Summit in Raleigh Nov. 6-8 this year to present the two-day Startup Summit focused on entrepreneurs.
ttendees and speakers include leading incubators, venture capital firms, and innovative companies. We’ll feature 16 presenting startups that will showcase their companies and concepts. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them one-on-one in our demo pit.
Speakers at the Startup Summit include influential entrepreneurs and leaders from the investment community:
- Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
- Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
- Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
- Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
- Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
- Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
- Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
- David Morken, Founder & CEO, Bandwidth.com
- Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner, Fortify.vc
- Dayna Grayson, North Bridge Venture Partners
- Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
- Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
- Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
- John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
- Joe Velk, Contender Capital
- Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
- David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
- Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
- Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Internet companies nabbed more angel investment dollars – just over a third – than healthcare companies for the first time, according to the new Halo report.
The Angel Resource Institute (ARI), Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and CB Insights released the latest edition of the Halo Report, a national survey of angel group investment activity, covering the first half of 2012 today. See the infographic below for a breakdown of findings.
Halo Report Highlights for 1H 2012, unless otherwise noted:
- Pre-money valuations increased for pre-Series A deals by angel groups to $2.7 million in Q2, up from $2.5M in Q1, based on the trailing 12 months
- Median angel round sizes dropped 21% to $550K over 1H 2011, returning to 2010 round amounts
- Median round size is $1.5M when angle groups co-invest with other investor types
- Internet companies received more total dollars than healthcare companies for the first time
- 52% of angel group investments were in healthcare and internet companies combined
- Internet companies received 34% of the angel group dollars
- The Southwest and Great Plains regions increased both share of deals and dollars over 1H 2011
- The most active angel groups (deals) were Tech Coast Angels, Central Texas Angel Network, Launchpad Venture Group, Golden Seeds, Sand Hill Angels, and Investors’ Circle
- The biggest investors among angel groups (dollars) were Tech Coast Angels, Central Texas Angel Network, Sand Hill Angels, Golden Seeds, Launchpad Venture Group, Alliance of Angels,
- Arizona Technology Investor Forum, Common Angels, Desert Angels and Atlanta Technology Angels
“The Halo Report sheds light on investing that is often critical to entrepreneurs’ success, but very hard to track,” said Robert Wiltbank, Vice Chair of Research for ARI. “With this data, entrepreneurs have a much better sense of how to interface with angel investors, and investors have a much better sense of ‘the market.’”
“As more angels participate each quarter, we are identifying trends and practices that help entrepreneurs and investors make better decisions and to more effectively create great new companies,” said Carrie Walsh, Managing Director for Silicon Valley Bank’s Entrepreneur Services Group.
Angel investors following trend of more Internet & mobile investing
“Angel investors seem to be following a trend similar to the one we’ve witnessed recently in the venture capital market: Internet and Mobile are increasingly becoming attractive areas for investment while Healthcare is seeing its share decrease in terms of both deals and dollar,” said Jonathan Sherry, Co-Founder of CB Insights.
Angel investors, those who invest their own funds and expertise directly into startup companies, appear to be taking on an increasingly important role in driving entrepreneurship throughout the United States.
Their investments are in startups and young companies, which have been cited by the Kauffman Foundation as the key source of net new jobs in the country. Nationwide, these angel group investments have opened up new opportunities for centers of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Halo Report includes aggregate analysis of investment activity by angels and angel groups and highlights trends in round sizes, location and industry preferences. The data is collected via survey and aggregation of public data using CB Insights innovative data analyses.
The 1H 2012 Halo Report data is based on 342 deals totaling $467.7 million dollars invested. The transaction details are available in the CB Insights subscription database for users to review and analyze themselves. Academics may also access some of the data through ARI.
Angel groups and individual angel investors interested in including their data in the Halo Report should contact Sarah Dickey, ARI Research Director, for details. She can be reached at 913-894-4700 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
The ‘can do’ attitude that entrepreneurs need to survive and thrive could also be their Achilles heel, according to new research released today by specialist insurer Hiscox.
The research found that despite 71% saying that legal and 43% saying that accounting issues should be handled by a professional, only 30% of small business owners actually employ full and/or part time help in these areas of expertise.
When asked which area of running a business they lacked the most knowledge of, over half of respondents said legal (52%) followed by taxes (42%), IT (22%), insurance (19%) and sales and marketing (23%). But over three quarters (77%) do not believe this to be a threat to their business, and 36% are determined to find a way through any problems themselves.
Over a third (35%) of small business owners say their passion for their idea gets them through the pressures of day-to-day management of their business and 48% believe pressure is what they signed up for when they started out.
“We know that entrepreneurs are committed to giving their businesses nothing less than a hundred per cent and they are often stretched to become a ‘jack of all trades’. Our research shows there could be a skills gap between what they admit they lack knowledge of, and what they are willing to invest in,” said Deepak Soni, small business insurance expert at Hiscox.
“There comes a point when small business owners need to trust other experts to help them with the more complex and technical issues associated with running a business.”
Despite the potential hazards of legal and financial errors, more business owners employ an office manager than an accountant and/or in-house legal counsel (19% vs. 5%).
Although, if they could employ another person, 18% believe that the professional assistance that would be most valuable to their business would be an accountant/lawyer.
The research also found that business owners handle the majority of office tasks including:
- Ordering supplies – 80%
- Filing - 77%
- Paying invoices – 71%
- Preparing invoices - 70%
- Printing/ binding documents - 70%
- Opening the business in the morning - 67%
- Closing up at night - 66%
- Cleaning the office space - 58%
- Reception duties – 54%
- Customer deliveries - 49%
Deepak Soni adds: “It is important for entrepreneurs to recognise when they need to seek out expert advice and support so they aren’t opening themselves up to business critical risks. For example, a badly worded supplier contract could lead to disputes down the line that could end up breaking the bank or the relationship.”
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
The Angel Capital Association says it is supporting the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, a first-of-its kind financing initiative that provides entrepreneurs up to $100 million in the financial and scalable technology resources they need to maximize potential for innovation, speed to market and job creation.
The Angel Capital Association will promote the program to startups that are funded by ACA member angel groups.
“To build scalable, high-return startups, entrepreneurs need access to early stage capital and great resources,” says Marianne Hudson, Executive Director of ACA.
“Through the launch of the Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell is helping promising entrepreneurs obtain the technology solutions they need to grow and get to market faster. We’re excited to offer the Dell program to the portfolio companies of our member investors.”
The Dell Innovators Credit Fund aims to get end-to-end, scalable technology solutions in the hands of growing businesses during that crucial early time in market.
Up to $15oK each available
Through Dell Financial Services, qualified angel and venture-backed companies can access up to 10 percent of their funded amount, or up to $150,000, with accelerated, limited credit terms .
“Dell is committed to fueling the growth of entrepreneurs and the jobs they create,” said Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence.
“The Angel Capital Association understands the importance of helping innovative startups thrive by eliminating access to capital and technology barriers.”
More information about the Dell Innovators Credit Fund is available at http://dell.com/eir or www.angelcapitalassociation.org/dellclub.
Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Entrepreneurs should invest time and money into gaining the opinions of their target audiences prior to making any important business decisions in order to avoid making costly errors, according to global provider of smartmarket research tools, Cint.
With the economy still in a precarious position, competition is rife when it comes to a new business succeeding, let alone becoming a leader in its specific sector. It is during the initial setup that new business ventures are at their most vulnerable; therefore, gaining the upper hand during this time is imperative to the success of the business.
Many entrepreneurs may choose not to obtain market insight through potential consumer or client opinion due to costs and time scales needed to locate appropriate people and analyze the data.
However, do-it-yourself surveying allows businesses to have complete control over who is being targeted and the method of online surveys allows for fast collection of responses.
This means the overall results are bespoke, value for money and can be instrumental when it comes to choosing the right path for the company. Asking the opinions of others, especially if the target group in question is relatively niche, may lead some entrepreneurs to realize that the venture is not as viable as they first thought.
Bo Mattsson, CEO and founder of Cint, comments: “Entrepreneurs that make decisions without a full understanding of what others outside of the business think, especially potential clients or customers, are likely to be making ill-informed choices, as well as costly ones.”
He added, “Simple, easy-to-implement and cost-effective market research tools allow businesses to gain market intelligence through online surveys that are targeted at a tailored audience. Feedback is required to make educated business decisions and this is never more important than in the initial stages of a new venture.”