Archive 2017

Making Your Startup Attractive to Potential Investors

Do you have a great idea for a business and would like to translate it into reality? That’s great, but you need to think about how you’re going to finance it first. After all, funds are necessary for turning a dream into something tangible. They are also needed to rent commercial space, pay employees, and so on.

Without money rolling in, it’s near impossible to create a high-quality product or service. This is why many startup entrepreneurs seek out investors. Attracting angel investors or venture capitalists is no walk in the park, though. It takes time and patience along with proper research and planning.

group of business people making agreement

Here are some tips to help you out:

1. Have a well-thought-out business plan.

It’s not enough to believe that your idea will be successful. You need to back up your claims with actual proof, be it research studies or surveys. Know about your potential competition beforehand, and how you can gain an edge over them. If you’re not familiar with the process, you can have a mentor show you the ropes. A thorough and convincing strategy is a must.

2. Expand your network as much as you can.

Get to know other entrepreneurs in your area or industry. Attend seminars, fairs, conventions, and other events related to your field. During such functions, you can pass out business cards and start establishing connections with potential suppliers, partners, and investors. Access the exclusive network that your mentor has, too.

3. Have a good amount of money yourself.

Before you start seeking outside help, you need to have a nice capital prepared. People are more likely to take your idea seriously when they see that you’ve put your own money on the line. Ideally, you should tap into your savings and not your credit line when you’re readying your capital. The risk might be higher but the potential return can be well worth it.

4. Request personal meetings with prospects.

Demonstrate and back up your business plan with an informative video, slideshow, or other media resource. Brochures and marketing collaterals can prove to be useful for this purpose too. Provide a good example of how your product or service can appeal to your target audience and how your company can get a profit out of it.

5. Press onwards to your goals.

Be patient with yourself and persevere amidst any challenges. If your first pitch was a negative, simply try again. Learn from your mistakes and focus on your strengths. Continue working on your startup as you look for funding. When possible, get your business up and running even without outside financing. This makes it more attractive than a mere idea.

There you have it – five steps you can implement to make your startup more attractive to potential investors. Of course, you don’t have to worry so much about actually getting one since working with Brian Gaister can guarantee that your business will be pitched to his network and venture capital firm. You should be given an offer soon enough with minimal hassle.

To know more about Brian Gaister along with his mentoring and investing background, get in touch.

These Are Your Biggest Challenges as a New Entrepreneur

Never go into battle unprepared. For startups, this means being prepared to face the challenges of starting your own business. As a new entrepreneur, you should be aware of the pitfalls and obstacles involved in setting up your own enterprise even before you make proposals and sales pitches. This way, even when you encounter landmines and get caught in a crossfire, you have a better chance of survival.

Every entrepreneur has undergone his or her share of challenges, and each may be unique for every business owner. But for new startups, most, if not all, are faced with the problems.

Acquiring Funds

Some new entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have an established network, partner investors, or readily available cash to finance their startup. But others have to start from scratch. If you belong to the latter, you have to work very hard in searching for all your funding options. But money problems aren’t limited to entrepreneurs in your group. Even those who already have funding to get the ball rolling will eventually encounter financial difficulty.

Private investment, angel investors, crowd-funding, grants, and loans are just a few of the many financing options you can tap. After knowing who to approach for financial support, you then have the difficult task of convincing them to fund your business. This process involves a lot of sweat and heartbreak, and may take a lot of time before bearing any positive results.

Hiring the Right People

During the infant stages, it may seem plausible to do everything on your own. However, if you want your business to really grow, you have to bring other people on board. And not just any people, but the right people.

First, you have to identify what tasks and roles you need help with. The next step is to find the right candidates to fill those shoes. There are plenty of qualified individuals out there, but skill and expertise are not all you should look for. You should also look for someone who would be a good fit for your business. Does this person have the same business values as you? Can he or she contribute to bring your company closer towards its vision and goals? The right hire results to growth and success, but the wrong one could derail everything.

Marketing Your Business

Acquiring customers is on top of your priorities as a new entrepreneur. But achieving that is easier said than done, especially if your business belongs to a very competitive market. Some entrepreneurs shove marketing down their list of priorities, when in fact they should prioritize building their brand. Remember that you are the new kid in town, and you still need to build relationships and gain the trust of your potential clients, and this could take some time.

Afraid it’s going to cost you to lose revenue? Make sure to allocate a budget for marketing in your business plan so that it is already included in your expected monthly expenses and won’t take anything from your profits. With so many advertising forms available today (social media, online marketing, SEO), you can work on your brand building at a reasonable and affordable cost.

Don’t give up. Find help.

For new entrepreneurs, challenges can be harsh, but they can also be rewarding. So don’t give up so easily on your business dreams. Know that there are other entrepreneurs out there who are facing the same or their own unique problems. Try to reach out to them, or find a mentor who has been through similar experiences. Having someone to talk to about your challenges can be a good release and a way to discover solutions.

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3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Mentors

3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Mentors

What is a common thread among all successful leaders? They have mentors. And their mentors had mentors, and these mentors also had mentors before them. Mentoring is an essential element for anyone looking to succeed as an entrepreneur. Just ask Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and other billionaire entrepreneurs who have credited their mentors as having roles in their success. If that isn’t enough reason for you, then here are three more reasons you should have a mentor.

1. They Can Teach You What You Can’t Learn from Books, Articles, Theory, or School

Educating yourself as much as you can about entrepreneurship is advantageous, without a doubt. But there are certain skills required to build and manage a business that can’t be taught in a classroom or online course. These skills and knowledge can only be learned through experience, and a mentor who has gone through the process and hardships of starting their own business will have a lot of that. These people have already gone through the dilemma of acquiring and losing funds and handling risks. They have experienced how stressful it really is to own and manage a startup, and have mastered the art of how to remain calm and think clearly on their feet during difficult situations.

2. They Can Help You Achieve Success

If you look at startup statistics, the numbers don’t look very promising. More than 50% of new businesses fail in the first four years. As someone who has dedicated so much time, energy, and money and who has made a lot of sacrifices to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true, you definitely want to succeed. But starting your own business has a lot of challenges that giving up will be tempting. It is during these hard times that you will appreciate a mentor even more. There will be someone to listen to you, support you, advise you, and even help you find solutions to overcome your problems. Mentors can be the critical link to holding on and pushing through, or giving up and losing everything you’ve worked so hard for. Seventy percent of small businesses with mentoring survive longer than five years (www.sba.gov).

3. They Will Help You and Your Business Grow

Mentors have the advantage of ‘been there, done that’. They have already acquired their own network and contacts. They have grown their businesses, built partnerships, and made a name for themselves in the industry. All of this can be beneficial when you want to build or grow your own business. Remember that when you are starting from scratch, you won’t have the connections for funding, hiring, production, marketing, and so on. Your mentor can introduce you to his or her connections, opening up opportunities and a wealth of resources you might have needed years to gather and tap on your own. Aside from that, your mentor can help you become more competent in creating business programs and strategies, dealing with people, and organizing your structure.

Find Your Own Mentor

It is not only statistics that prove how much of a difference mentors make when it comes to the success or failure of businesses, but also the testimonies of top entrepreneurs who credit their mentors for their success. Of course, finding the right mentor for you is a crucial ingredient in getting the guidance and help required for your unique needs.

“Mentors are not there to make us ‘happy’. They are there to guide us to the best of their knowledge.”

– Samira DeAndrade, Senior Account Executive of Diesel

5 Benefits of Having Business Investors

5 Benefits of Having Business Investors

You need money for any startup idea to come to life. Entrepreneurs who do not have the cash or assets to finance their business dream on their own will have to find funding from other resources. Acquiring investors is an option you should consider as this brings a handful of advantages.

1. They provide funding

With the money that investments bring, you can build and grow your business. You will have the finances for marketing, overhead costs, shop or workspace rent, website development, product or service development, and other resources you need so you can increase your revenue. Also, having cash coming from investors means you don’t have to use your own savings or touch your own assets and reserve them instead for when you need emergency funds.

2. They can contribute ideas and give advice

People or companies who invest in your startup will obviously hope to acquire profitable returns. With that in mind, business investors generally share their expertise with the entrepreneurs they are helping. They also contribute ideas for business growth or suggest solutions for challenges you come across. Some investors are business owners, lawyers, accountants, or finance professionals, so they have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

3. They bring connections

One of the most important ingredients to succeeding as an entrepreneur is gaining connections and building your network. When you are new to the industry, this will take some time and come with many challenges. Investors have partners and contacts of their own, and they can share these with you so you have more resources and connections to help build and grow your business.

4. They can give motivation

Startups face their own share of challenges, and sometimes it can get so overwhelming that you might just want to give up. But if you have investors who are banking on your success as much as you are, you will have people to encourage you and help you overcome the problems. They can motivate you to find solutions and work your way back towards the right path.

5. They can improve your business image

When a startup acquires investors, it means that there are people who see potential in your business and in your vision and are even willing to trust you with their own money. This can boost your image and even attract more investors or partners.

Find the best type of investment

There are various types of business investors and you should determine which ones would be a good fit for your startup. Some arrangements require you to give shares of your company or revenue to investors. Others might come with equity contracts where you give them a portion of what you earn when you sell the company. In other cases, some investors request to have a seat on the board. You might also have to share the reigns of managing your business.

Weigh the pros and cons of each one carefully, and decide which one you would be most comfortable with. Getting enough and the right kind of funding is essential to realise your startup dreams. But don’t forget to keep your personal and business goals and vision in the picture when choosing which investment option to go with.