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Entrepreneurs hoping to preserve wealth may want to avoid selling big stakes in their businesses to raise capital. The founder of a major mutual-funds company built his net worth by selling preferred, rather than common, stock.
Make e-mail your ally to enhance the way you market and sell products and services over the Internet, writes this technological entrepreneur. As you turn to e-commerce, turn first to e-mail to develop a list of potential customers who also want to hear from you, get the word out about your offerings, and eventually customize your pitches for individual buyers, the author advises. Just avoid the big e-mail no-no: spamming.
Entrepreneurs, in particular, are having troubles with today's widespread age-disconnect between managers and employees. The many twentysomethings who are launching companies these days hire workers who are both younger and older than they are, writes the author, a frequent EntreWorld contributor. She maintains that to manage this so-called "generation gap," you'll need to build a common understanding based on your company's values.
Entrepreneurs of a certain age need to accommodate the changes in attitude on the part of the younger generation or risk becoming dinosaurs, writes the author, who turned to entrepreneurship after a career in the U.S. Army and at a major corporation. Today's young people are technologically savvy, casual about dress and deportment, and forward about expecting to advance at a younger age, he says. He includes tips for adjusting one's management style to help -- rather than change -- the new generation.
Credit cards, unlike conventional commercial bank loans, allow entrepreneurs immediate access to financing at reasonable interest rates. The author, who used plastic debt to launch a consulting company, claims that business owners who take his approach can focus on the far more crucial task of winning and keeping customers in today's fast-paced environment. What's critical, he suggests, is managing the debt wisely by keeping costs down, taking advantage of lower rates, and pegging expenditures to cash flow.
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.
Accepting a loan from the most respectable source of business financing--namely a commercial bank--is a mistake for some entrepreneurs, argues the author, who recounts the tale of her company's demise subsequent to her signing a bank loan with overly stringent terms. She includes four pointers that can help you flag loans likely to go bad.
As his online entertainment business became successful, founder David Ellington needed more employees with mid-level technical skills. Filling those jobs with well-trained young people of color became this entrepreneur's way of giving back to his community by creating a model program that benefits everyone. Not only that, he's creating wealth as he brings disadvantaged youth into the high-tech mainstream with good salaries and stock options.
When you get out there thinking you're the most important member of the team, you're headed for failure, says Wally Amos. The founder of Famous Amos Cookies found out the hard way that you can't just indulge your whims and let the chocolate chips fall where they may. How he developed a spiritual understanding, recovered his good name and started a new, more successful company serves as a great recipe for other entrepreneurs.
When Michele McGeoy sold her first software start-up, she thought she was doing the best thing for her stakeholders. But, a few years later the new owners resold the company out of state, leaving her and her employees out of work. Having lost control by giving up ownership, McGeoy found a better solution for her next venture: She empowered employees by making them stakeholders and created a culture that promotes healthy growth.
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