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Entrepreneurs could give their budding companies a powerful financial boost by using a source of funding usually considered off limits--the retirement kitty. The author, a certified financial planner, does, however, caution company builders to leave a portion of those funds intact, using more accessible sources first. Thereafter, he argues, tax-deferred assets in a 401(k), SEP, or IRA comprise a personal venture capital fund that can do as much for an individual's business as for his or her golden years.
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.
Attention-grabbing tactics for niche products include providing snappy names and packaging, placing cold calls, and befriending the media in an effort to win PR, says the founder of a specialty women's hosiery company.
Before you can create a winning brand strategy, you've got to have a winning product or service to promote.
The devils plaguing entrepreneurs who outsource are indeed in the details. Getting it right involves sidestepping five common pitfalls and following five commonsense practices. Basic to a successful outsourcing relationship: Does everyone agree on what the deliverables will be?
Not so fast, Martha Stewart.
OK, you're special. You are talented and one of the best at what you do. But that doesn't mean that you're equipped to run your own business--even one within a field or industry you've been working in or following for years.
To wit: 627,200 new businesses opened in the U.S. in 2008--the same year 595,600 businesses shuttered and 43,546 filed for bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Likewise, 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years and half close shop within five years, according to the SBA.
The fact of the matter is that far too many people launch their own companies for all the wrong reasons and without the tools it takes to succeed. Before handing in your notice and signing a lease on an office, it's imperative you take a hard look at yourself in the salaried eye and ask yourself a few critical questions that could mean the difference between a fulfilling life as your own boss and speed-dialing a bankruptcy lawyer.
Entrepreneurs benefit from knowledgeable third-party advice provided by advisors, writes the former chairman of a family-owned diamond business. The author describes his own dealings with informal mentors and the members of his formal advisory board.
Durability requires planning, says a seasoned entrepreneur who has founded his own companies and is helping others start theirs. Market conditions, management skills and smart money must be factored into the equation. Even with everything going for you, be prepared for a steep staircase and more than one ceiling to crash as your company climbs toward a successful future.
Richard Jarman sees entrepreneurship as the backbone of the American economy, and he's doing his part to help by mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Numerous factors affect how angels value a company. Primary are the strength of the management team and the size of the opportunity, or a company's potential to scale. Accompanying this article is a valuation worksheet that entrepreneurs can use to better understand what investors look for and to identify factors that can justify higher pre-money valuations. Investors will find it useful to compare companies and determine whether valuation should be higher or lower.
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