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One of George Bush's most memorable lines was his complaint that the French had no word for "entrepreneur". Well, if Senator Dodd's new financial reform bill becomes law, we may well have the word, but no longer any need for it.
Creating value at every stage of the process, an entrepreneur rescues stone from sites threatened with destruction and gives it new life elsewhere. To manage multiple languages, locations, currencies and cultures, he relies on the Internet and high-speed telecommunications.
With the market for early-stage capital beginning to bounce back, I'm once again fielding calls from entrepreneurs wanting to know how much of their company to give away to investors to raise the money they need to launch their businesses or take them to the next level.
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to this question. An established business with sales, profits and cash flow may sell for five to 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. But it's a lot harder to put a price tag on an early-stage venture that consists of a business plan, a web site and the founder's hopes and dreams. As a result, negotiations between start-ups and prospective investors often turn into angry arm-wrestling matches that end with both sides walking away empty-handed.
The Goldman Sachs Foundation recently invited me to share some thoughts about leadership with a group of Chinese university students who had been named Goldman Sachs Young Leaders. As I prepared my remarks, I thought about the bosses, coaches, teachers and other people who had most inspired me in my life. Did they have common personality traits that made them great leaders? I thought about billionaires like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, and Steve Jobs of Apple. Can we learn from them? Are they good leaders?
First-year undergrads at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. have come up with 16 new businesses as part of a management and entrepreneurship course. Each team was made up of approximately 30 students and the businesses vary from imitation sunglasses to wireless mice with 1GB USB storage to an accessory locating gadget.
The class, Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship is a seven-credit, year-long focus on the world of business where student teams invent, develop, launch, manage and liquidate a business. Students study entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, information systems and operations. Babson provides up to $3,000 as startup money for these student endeavors and the businesses will run throughout the spring semester. Any profits are donated to a local community service agency of the team’s choice.
LAST year was a fabulous one for entrepreneurs, at least according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity released last month by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. "Rather than making history for its deep recession and record unemployment," the foundation reported, "2009 might instead be remembered as the year business startups reached their highest level in 14 years - even exceeding the number of startups during the peak 1999-2000 technology boom."
When entrepreneurs sign up strategic partners, the primary focus often is on development and sales of products or services. For their protection, however, entrepreneurs also need to focus on crafting a proper legal framework in the event the partnership needs to be terminated.
The statistics surrounding the survival rate for small businesses have long been subject to fervid debate. Depending on who you're talking to, the predicted life span for a startup can elicit grim to cautiously optimistic responses.
For effective strategic partner recruitment, the author recommends an eight-step plan, which includes identifying your target market, developing partner selection criteria, and developing an alliance plan with a selected partner.
Selling your company involves an entire set of specific business and legal terms and conditions that relate solely to this transaction and are often new to first-time entrepreneurs. This document contains a helpful list of pertinent terms as well as some issues that the selling entrepreneur might consider before closing the sale.
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