Websites & Articles
"No matter what stage your startup is in, youâ??re probably going to need some investment dollars. So to save everyone a lot of time, here are 25 reasons I personally would not invest in a startup. Review and address these points for smoother sailing when trying to secure funding."
Know these five details before entering any fundraising pitch, especially if you are a social entrepreneur.
"Raising money is the second hardest part of starting a startup. The hardest part is making something people want: most startups that die, die because they didn't do that. But the second biggest cause of death is probably the difficulty of raising money. Fundraising is brutal."
You're a middle-aged, middle manager who gets laid off. You send out 100 resumes and get absolutely nowhere. Now what? Some people in this bind start their own businesses. A lucky few end up doing much better than they did while toiling for other companies.
Trust corporations to know when the VC game is ready for new players.
You need experience to hit up investors, but no one said it had to be your own.
Don't let investors and lenders use that old "it's the economy" line as justification to put the squeeze on your business.
A finance expert explains what capital providers expect to receive from their investment.
E-scan offers the potential entrepreneur, businessperson, self-employed or franchise owner a chance to see a detailed report about their most important asset: themselves. Results are compared with other successful businesses to indicate those business skills that need improvement.
"Need a quick cash infusion? A factoring service can help you out."
"Do investors want an enormous piece of the pie? Find out how to negotiate them down."
"Keeping a financial road map in your company's back pocket is always a capital idea."
"Your search for capital should start in the nooks, crannies, equipment and real estate your business already has."
Wondering what your pre-money valuation will be if a VC ever puts a term sheet on the table? Answer the following questions, and we'll calculate an approximate range for you. Of course, every situation is different, so your mileage may vary.
"If it's time for a second round of financing, read this first."
For new ventures a lack of resources makes growth difficult to come by - just ask those nine out of ten fledgling firms that fail. Professor Mukti Khaire says the key may be in acquiring intangible resources such as legitimacy, status, and reputation.
It can be a tough situation when asking family and friends for money, but there is a really good reason to do so: they trust you. Learn the proper way to pitch your idea to mom and dad so they will want to invest in you.
If you need to hire an investment bank to help you raise capital, but can't afford to pay the investment bank's up-front retainers, IWFT may be able to match you with a lender who will finance the retainer fee.
Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital explains: "If you are lucky enough to grow your company from Series A to Series B to Series C, and on to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and a successful IPO, you will need to tell your company’s story in high-stakes situations over and over and over again. Because of this, venture capitalists place huge positive weight on how good you are at this skill. The great storytellers have an unfair competitive advantage."
Business plan competitions and venture forums might be nerve-racking, but they can also get you the cash you need.
"How to choose between getting a loan or selling part of your business to an equity investor."
Even after investing $600,000 of his own money, "Mr. Brooks is snared in the Catch-22 paradox that bedevils many entrepreneurs who have come up with a promising product and marketing plan: investors are reluctant to open their wallets until they see a functioning business. But it is difficult to create a functioning business until the investors open their wallets."
"Abstract number sorcery won't cut it anymore. Investors want to know exactly how you're going to make money."
"You don't have to sell your soul to raise startup capital."
Discusses the potential difficulties that have recently been posed to entrepreneurs and businessmen hoping to do business in China, start a business in China, or even open a branch of a currently existing business in China. Specifically discusses the new, more strigent measures in place for obtaining a business visa in China, which now involves months of planning and significant cash. Particularly relevant for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to benefit from China's planned telecom overhaul.
"When your stock price is stalled and you can't hope to improve it, is it time for your company to quietly step back into private life?"
"Finding capital in today's battered market means taking risks."
"Before you sign on the dotted line, take some time to understand your liability."
"Becoming synonymous with inflated valuations and dotcom disasters hasn't done much for IPOs' reputation. How long before we can start to talk about going public again without snickering?"
Bringing investors into your business gets you more than just money -- you get new co-owners, too.
A guide from Inc.com
A collection of short articles on business planning, capital formation, and related topics.
"The best place to begin is by looking in the mirror. Self-financing is the number-one form of financing used by most business startups. In addition, when you approach other financing sources such as bankers, venture capitalists or the government, they will want to know exactly how much of your own money you are putting into the venture. After all, if you don't have enough faith in your business to risk your own money, why should anyone else risk theirs?"
Nonprofit association dedicated to encouraging the formation, growth, and success of small business nationwide through counseling and mentoring programs.
The seven things entrepreneurs must avoid at all costs.
"Careful planning is fundamental to success. The Small Business Planner includes information and resources that will help you at any stage of the business lifecycle."
"Startup 101 is a serialized book about the thrills and spills of starting a Web technology venture... Startup 101 is for first-time entrepreneurs who want to go through the whole startup life cycle - including raising money, building a valuable business, and making a lot of money by selling the venture or taking it public."
More entrepreneurs are now choosing to sell private stock offerings. And in saying no to IPOs, they're reaping the benefits.
"Building a company? You've got one very important decision to make, because it affects everything else you do. The decision? Whether to grow slowly, organically, and profitably, or whether to have a big bang with very fast growth and lots of capital."
TechCrunch provides news, reviews of product developments and a database of individuals including investors. TechCrunch offers an Elevator Pitch section that gives startups the opportunity to have their 60-second pitch voted on and critiqued by peers - see http://pitches.techcrunch.com/
An excellent essay detailing the mistakes that you can control. Although some of the points are specific to software startups, most points apply to startups in any industry.
"First things first: There is no such thing as a typical deal."
Collection of articles, video clips and other resources for new entrepreneurs.
David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners describes the Sales Learning Curve, developed by Stanford Business Professor Mark Leslie. The gist: between product development and sales ramp-up, there needs to be a period in which you figure out how to perfect what you have to sell.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself to pitch your company is to emulate (not copy) what others have done. Here are some notable pitch decks from the likes of Airbnb, Facebook, Foursquare, and LinkedIn.
"Guy Kawasaki says: 'I get pitched dozens of times every year, and every pitch contains at least three or four of these lies. I provide them not because I believe I can increase the level of honesty of entrepreneurs as much as to help entrepreneurs come up with new lies. At least new lies indicate a modicum of creativity!'"
"You probably don't have a clue what it really costs to raise the capital you need to fund your business. This expert spells it out for you."
Valuation is "where you make or break the conversation. If yours is too high, potential investors will prioritize other opportunities over yours; if itâ??s too low, they will ask themselves whatâ??s wrong. If the valuation youâ??re asking for is completely off the chart, thatâ??s a huge red flag and it signals that you have little or no idea what youâ??re talking about (and leaves investors wondering what other things you donâ??t have an idea about)."
"The life of a startup can be precarious, a wrong turn disastrous. Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, everything from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan."
"An investment firm has made you an offer. Now learn what the numbers mean."
"If your search for venture capital feels like it's getting out of hand, maybe you don't need their money after all."
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