6 Tips for Crafting a Winning Business Plan
Forbes.com – March 2017
Akira offers tips for small business owners preparing to write a business plan: “Aesthetics matter… An attractive, neatly formatted plan is more likely to be read than a disorganized plan.” This piece also appears on Chase Small Business
15 Steps to Starting a Business
BizHUMM – April 2016
Akira offers a tip for entrepreneurs writing their first business plan: “First timers shouldn’t overthink things and try to reinvent the wheel. The first funding sources you’ll approach are friends & family, or for certain types of businesses, maybe a bank that offers SBA-backed loans. They won’t expect anything elaborate.”
The Essential Guide to Writing a Business Plan
Entrepreneur Magazine – November 2015
“Most equity investors prefer either an executive summary or pitch deck for first contact, but will often request a more detailed plan later in the due diligence process. Potential customers don’t need all the details of your internal operation. Your management team needs access to everything,” says Akira Hirai, managing director of business plan consulting service Cayenne Consulting.
The Business Journal of Phoenix – May 31, 2013
Pitching to investors is daunting. Valley experts offer insights into the art of asking. Akira Hirai, founder of Cayenne Consulting LLC in Phoenix, says “You rarely need more than five to 15 slides for a first meeting, and you should always be prepared to go through your deck in a nonlinear order to go with the flow of the meeting.”
How to evaluate and enter foreign markets successfully
San Francisco Business Times – January 24, 2013
Cayenne’s Richard Hasenpflug discusses the steps required to enter foreign markets. “You really need to [develop relationships] before you go into a market. Relationships are the key to the whole thing,” says Richard. “It will take longer and it’ll cost more than you think.”
Tips for Calculating Your Gross Margin
Inc.com – October 2010
If it feels like ages since you took Accounting 101, here’s a detailed refresher on how understanding gross margins can help you make the right business decisions.
How to Write an Executive Summary
Inc.com – September 2010
When you’re trying to sell an idea to a potential investor, you’ll need to craft the pitch-perfect executive summary. Here’s how to write a summary that will get your business plan read, and your foot in the door.
Funding Your Startup: Are You A Zero Or A One?
The Business Insider – August 2010
Startup funding is a binary event. When I say that funding is a binary event, I mean that there are only two possible outcomes: either you succeed in getting funding, or you don’t. You win or you lose – there is no second place. All or nothing.
Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Writing a Business Plan
Inc.com – November 2009
Writing a business plan is often a crucial first step to getting your startup off the ground. A good plan can help you raise money, recruit members of your management team, set your marketing strategy and, perhaps best of all, refine your thinking. A plan riddled with errors? That can sink you. Here are 10 mistakes that entrepreneurs frequently make when crafting their business plans.
The Startup Entrepreneur’s Guide To Risk Management
The Business Insider – June 2009
Only 44% of small businesses stick around four years or more. One big reason so many go away: Poor risk management. Risk Management is the art and science of thinking about what could go wrong, and what should be done to mitigate those risks in a cost-effective manner.
What Kills Startups?
VC Experts – June 2009
Companies flatline when the cash runs out and total current liabilities (i.e., bills due now) exceed total liquid assets. Risk management is all about identifying and mitigating the uncertainties – especially the company killers – that surround cash flows. And risk management is an essential part of any entrepreneur’s business plan. (Subscription required. Read the article on our site here.)
Prepare for Your Company’s Future
Lowe’s For Pros – June 2009
The Upside of a Downturn: “A lot of your less capable competitors are going out of business now, and this is a great chance to establish your brand and build market share,” says Akira Hirai, founder and managing director of Cayenne Consulting, LLC, a Phoenix-based consultancy for entrepreneurs focusing on strategy, planning, financial forecasts and budgeting. “If you lay the groundwork now, you’ll be on top of your game when the economy recovers.”
Where to find investors
Money Magazine – October 1, 2008
Fewer than one in 10,000 businesses receive initial funding from VCs, according to a report from Babson College and the London Business School. Thus new entrepreneurs can expect to go through several rounds of rejections; even those who meet all the typical venture-capital criteria usually have to pitch for six months to a year before they have money in the bank, says Akira Hirai, managing director of Cayenne Consulting in Phoenix, which helps entrepreneurs develop business plans and financial forecasts.
Entrepreneurs see opportunities in housing downturn
The Tucson Citizen – December 12, 2006
Business owners, especially those in the state’s emerging technology and biosciences sectors, watched as financiers looked past their ideas, throwing dollars at real estate because it provided almost guaranteed returns. “This (housing) downturn…could end up being the catalyst for a renaissance for technology investing in Arizona,” said Akira Hirai, managing director of Phoenix-based business consulting firm Cayenne Consulting LLC.
Market shifts could spur investment in Ariz. firms
The Arizona Republic – December 10, 2006
While Arizona ranks in the top half of states, the amount of capital pales in comparison to that received in areas such as California’s Silicon Valley, Boston, the Research Triangle in North Carolina and Austin, Texas. Ultimately, any discussion about investment activity and a lack thereof comes back to investors’ perceived love affair with real estate.
Seeking venture capital: When and how it makes sense
The Business Journal of Phoenix – September 29, 2006
Akira Hirai, founder of Cayenne Consulting LLC in Phoenix, says while it is a competitive investment climate, good ideas backed by good teams and good business plans are still getting funded. “The capital formation process takes a long time,” says Hirai, who offers a wealth of information through articles on his firm’s Web site. “Your management team should be prepared to invest about 500 hours in the plan. Then be sure to have a few people review your plan before you send it out — people who understand your market, sales approach, distribution strategies, the venture capitalist market, etc.
10 Web sites every entrepreneur should know
Chicago Business – August 1, 2006
This article is no longer available online.
Why Business Plans Don’t Get Funded
About.com – July 2003
Your business plan is very often the first impression potential investors get about your venture. But even if you have a great product, team, and customers, it could also be the last impression the investor gets if you make any of these avoidable mistakes.