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Why should any organization adopt collaboration? There's only one reason—value creation. After all, if we're not creating value, what's the point? With a growing consciousness for collaboration, many companies are investing in collaboration tools and technologies. These range from enterprise instant messaging and unified communications, wikis, and enterprise social media to virtual worlds, Web conferencing, and telepresence.
In a typical scenario, the months fly by after the collaboration tools are implemented. As the seasons change, decision-makers anticipate reaping the benefits of collaboration. And perhaps they can even point to successes within particular business units or functions. Often, though, it's the same old story. The company remains for the most part internally competitive, hierarchical, and command-and-control driven. The tools alone have failed to make the company collaborative. Worse yet, the tools may have created no real value, and the decision-makers who had pinned such high hopes on these tools are surprised.
Securing funding for a business, be it a startup or a growing company, involves establishing a reputation and building relationships, writes the author. Funding options multiply once the good word is out about an enterprise, she notes. Included are tips for getting loans and other financing for both new and established concerns.
An entrepreneurial company in its second year confronts challenges more
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.
MotiveQuest founder, David Rabjohns, describes how he addressed key challenges in starting and growing his company--via bootstrapping--to number three in the "brand monitoring in social media" industry sector.
Fickle clients, fast growth, creative people -- crazy business! This entrepreneur watched his firm grow swiftly and his financial records become increasingly more complex, all while doing business with people whose first priority was not finishing the project on budget. He shares his experience dealing with creative workers, a quickly growing business, and his solution: strictly managed cash flow.
A growing economy constantly creates new job opportunities in new sectors, but also displaces and even destroys existing jobs. The workforce in an entrepreneurial economy must always evolve as well. Government efforts to protect jobs are often misguided, hindering growth and new job creation. Pro-growth workforce rules should instead focus on developing worker skills, allowing maximum hiring and layoff flexibility, and focus adjustment efforts on getting displaced workers into new jobs as soon as possible. Small firms employ half of all private sector employees and create 60-80 percent of net new jobs in the U.S., according to the SBA. Labor rules are one of the largest barriers to entrepreneurial ventures. The World Bank’s cross-country comparison of labor regulations shows lower job creation where workplace rules are more rigid. Labor rules must move beyond the early 20th century framework of management versus labor and encourage new firm formation as well as a dynamic, not static, worker.
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.
Angel financing - or funding from individuals with the time and money to invest in early-stage companies - is more accessible thanks to the gathering of such investors into networks, writes an erstwhile entrepreneur turned angel investor. The process is still arduous, but the author offers tips for easing the way.
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