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Category: People & Management

How to Find and Recruit a Technical Cofounder for Your Startup

September 12, 2014 by Akira Hirai


How to Find and Recruit a Technical Cofounder for Your Startup

You have a great idea for a tech-oriented business and maybe an MBA to go along with it. But if you don’t have strong technical skills, then you’re going to need to fill that gap. That’s where a technical cofounder comes in. The fact is, no responsible investor will back a tech startup that lacks tech talent. It’s simply too risky. And even if you’re not looking for funding right now, you’re going to need in-house technical expertise sooner rather than later. No doubt about it: Having a CTO type [Read More]

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Hiring Independent Contractors: Know the Pitfalls

January 27, 2014 by Akira Hirai


Hiring Independent Contractors Know the Pitfalls

Independent contractors and freelancers, or independent specialists, represent a rapidly expanding category of entrepreneurship. Contractors have specialized skills in a given field and work independently, selling their expertise by the hour rather than working as a traditional corporate employee. Traditional employees come with overhead: healthcare benefits, employment taxes, HR compliance, training, paid time off, and often much more. There’s nothing wrong with any of this as long as your employees are necessary for delivering your firm’s core competency. In other areas, however, it may make more sense to outsource specialized, [Read More]

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Finding Helping Hands for your Small Business

February 11, 2013 by Akira Hirai


Helping Hands

Finding the best people and identifying the right staffing options for a small business can be a confusing and time-consuming problem. Every business has distinct needs, so there is no universal formula. However, here are a few principles that can guide you: Do look for quality when hiring. Resources can be tight for small businesses, especially when you are funding everything out of personal resources, and it can sometimes be tempting to hire based on cost. However, according to Ken Abosch of human resources consulting company Aon Hewitt, “above-average performers [Read More]

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We Have The Best Customer Service

November 19, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Best Customer Service

What is the one thing that every single entrepreneur says “distinguishes” his or her company from all the others? That’s right: it’s consistent, high-quality customer service. Yep, every single client for whom we write a business plan claims to have the world’s greatest customer service. This got us to thinking that if great customer service is really that important, what exactly is it? It also occurred to us that it probably isn’t great customer service that distinguishes one competitor from another; it is more than likely poor customer service determines [Read More]

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Use Your Business Plan to Get on the Same Page

July 6, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Use Your Business Plan to Get on the Same Page

Most entrepreneurs think that business plans are only good for communicating with potential investors and lenders. Not true! Business plans are a very effective way for management teams to communicate with each other, their Boards of Directors, and other stakeholders. For example, consider one of our recent assignments in which the client is headquartered in a different city and in one instance, a different country, than the members of the Board and one of the senior managers. In a very brief period of time, the business plan project enabled us to discover [Read More]

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Protect Your Company from People Disasters

June 29, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Protect Your Company from People Disasters

Every business, large and small realizes the necessity of protecting the business’s physical assets from disasters such as damage due to fire, weather, accidents and theft. The way this is typically accomplished is to buy property and casualty insurance from a reputable insurance underwriter. Physical assets might include buildings, production and office equipment and vehicles. What many business owners do not realize is that it is just as important to protect the enterprise from “people disasters” that can cause as much, and in many instances more damage to a company [Read More]

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Management Conflict Can Kill Your Deal

June 25, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Management Conflict Can Kill Financing

Many entrepreneurs believe that completing a strategic transaction such as a sale of a business or a round of funding is as simple as writing a sophisticated, comprehensive business plan.  But I can tell you that that is simply not the case.  In fact, I recently participated in a conference call and had to explain to a Board of Directors that there are some serious roadblocks that stand in the way of their completing the financing transaction for which they have asked our firm to assist. In that call, I [Read More]

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Virtual Business Etiquette

May 15, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Virtual Business Etiquette

I have been writing about business etiquette for years. I guess it has been important to me because I put so much value in first impressions. First impressions aside, it is imperative in today’s competitive global arena to have sound business etiquette skills and none are more important these days than the etiquette that you use on the telephone, in emails, in conference calls and webinars, and even in social media. Indeed, etiquette is an essential requirement in order for you to distinguish yourself, develop and maintain business relationships, strengthen [Read More]

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Make the Most of Business Mentoring Relationships

May 14, 2012 by Akira Hirai


Earn What You're Really Worth: Maximize Your Income at Any Time in Any Market

Mentoring can be one of the most effective ways to avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes and refine business strategies and tactics. However, entrepreneurs often find it difficult to find a suitable mentor, or don’t know how to make the mentoring relationship worthwhile. Like any other relationship, both sides need to work at making the partnership effective. A mentor is typically an older and more experienced person who takes a personal interest in providing guidance and advice. Entrepreneurs often don’t realize that they need to invest in the relationship, and be willing [Read More]

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Effective Networking Strategies for Entrepreneurs

May 14, 2012 by Akira Hirai


Effective Networking Strategies for Entrepreneurs

Business networking is one of the most effective ways for a startup founder to find mentors, investors, and even key executive candidates. The prospect of where and how to network, however, may seem daunting if you are an introvert, or if you have never networked before. There are established protocols for the process of building business contacts, just like there are for building and maintaining other social relationships. Here are a few important steps to take: Get introductions from your existing contacts: Start with the people you know who can [Read More]

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