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In the two years I have been writing a column for Forbes, no piece has received more responses than the one published just prior to the last presidential election. In it, I made nine predictions regarding the impact an Obama administration would have on the legal landscape, especially with regard to small businesses.
Now that we are at the beginning of a new decade, as well as the president's second year, I thought it would be interesting to see how I did. For those keeping score, I nailed all but one.
I'll admit I like being right. Too bad prescience often comes with a price.
In the introduction, I noted that the triumvirate of President Obama, Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi would be "potentially one of the most liberal governments the country has had in decades." I was wrong: This government may be the most liberal in the history of the United States.
This entrepreneur shows how entrepreneurs can hire using the open house method. This process enables you and your top team to review a large pool of candidates that you may have not even considered if all you had seen were their resumes.
One plus one equals millions when you combine two business models that work into a wildly popular Web site. It also helps to have high-powered investors and a built-in formula for building customer loyalty. As these business-school buddies discovered, advertisers love an affluent audience, so you can actually make money by giving it away.
Candace Fleming’s résumé boasts a double major in industrial engineering and English from Stanford, an M.B.A. from Harvard, a management position at Hewlett-Packard and experience as president of a small software company.
But when she was raising money for Crimson Hexagon, a start-up company she co-founded in 2007, she recalls one venture capitalist telling her that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have business cards, because all they would say was “Mom.”
Another potential backer, reports Claire Cain Miller in The New York Times, invited her for a weekend yachting excursion by showing her a picture of himself on the boat — without clothes. When a third financier discovered that her husband was also a biking enthusiast, she says, he spent more time asking if riding affected her husband’s reproductive capabilities than he did focusing on her business plan. Ultimately, none of the 30 venture firms she pitched financed her company. She finally raised $1.8 million in March 2008 from angel investors including Golden Seeds, a fund that emphasizes investing in start-ups led by women.
After coaching others in spin control for years, a cash-strapped entrepreneur had to face the music-and the media-himself. He drew on long-cultivated relationships to tell his story accurately and bring his business out of receivership. Being both proactive and honest, he says, is essential in a crisis situation.
If you're building a company for growth, don't ignore public relations but don't overdo it. The author says PR is much more than press releases-it's also about building relationships with investors, industry experts, and reporters to educate them about your product and industry.
Before attempting to obtain a patent, entrepreneurs can use this ten-point checklist to determine if the benefits of protecting an invention outweigh the costs of prosecuting and protecting it under a patent.
Pay-per-click advertising can be a great tool for qualifying prospects, driving them to your Web site, and ultimately increasing sales. Read how this entrepreneur has refined his use of sponsored links and pay-per-click advertising to zero in on his target niche, doubling order sizes and boosting overall sales three-fold.
The author, Jana Matthews, asserts that without policies and procedures, business growth becomes much harder to achieve. If you want to grow, you (the entrepreneur) have to stop doing everything yourself.
An important area of financial literacy for entrepreneurs concerns the ability to establish an effective commercial banking relationship and to prepare a loan proposal. No small or growing company survives and prospers without some debt component on its balance sheet.
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