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DURHAM, N.C. - Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have a rookie entrepreneur ask for advice on raising money from VCs.
They usually have a fancy-looking business plan with detailed spreadsheets showing how their company will be worth billions by capturing just 1 percent of a market. All they need is some financing, and they’ll take the world by storm.
My advice is always the same: ditch the business plan, and buy a lottery ticket. Your odds are better, and you’ll suffer less stress.
From behind home plate, Jason Klein and Casey White look proudly at the Reading Phillies' flamethrower Phillippe Aumont. It's not his high-priced arm they're admiring, It's what he's wearing. "They're the only team with pink on their uniforms," White says.
The founder of a software development business had already agreed to be acquired by one company and was ready to sign the documents. Then another company came calling with a better offer. Loyal employees and a working partnership with the buyer turned out to be the crucial assets constituting the value of the business. The author concludes that you need to shop around and negotiate to find out what your company is really worth.
Entrepreneurs loath to seek mentoring should take at least one piece of advice: try it, you'll like it, writes the author who built a business by accepting help from smarter and more experienced founders. Included is a look at the workings of her relationship with her current mentor. (Originally Published October 2002)
Two years ago I had an idea for a website. I decided to leave a well paying job, invest all of the money I made post college, and began to start the terrifying journey of building a company. Today, I want to share the ten most powerful things I learned about turning that idea into a business at a time when the economy was at its worst, and capital was scarce. Many of the tips I'm sharing with you were passed down from others who were kind enough to share their experiences and insight with me.
This exceptional article offers insightful explanation and key details of how angel investors determine valuations, why entrepreneurs and investors often have different perspectives for angel returns, and what steps angels and entrepreneurs can take to quickly find common ground on this critical topic.
Investing in seed and startup companies is extremely risky: Angel investors typically realize about 85 percent of their total portfolio returns from 15 percent of their portfolio companies. Consequently, angels look only for companies that can grow rapidly. Entrepreneurs who pursue less aggressive growth are unlikely to attract angel investors.
An important voice in the angel investing world, Luis Villalobos has contributed a practical new term--"valuation divergence"--that focuses on a little understood fact of angel investing: Returns on investments in a company do not increase in direct proportion to the company's market valuation. Entrepreneurs and investors alike will benefit from a better understanding of this concept.
Making customers happy is the key to an entrepreneur's single most important job--identifying, finding, and keeping customers, says the founder of one of the country's premier direct-mail businesses. Company owners must devise a system for maintaining rapport with buyers even as the business grows, the author advises. Included are suggestions for doing so, such as selecting the right products for the right customers and offering money-back guarantees.
At a time when branding is more important than ever for entrepreneurs, Lillian Vernon, the doyenne of direct-mail retailing, talks about branding herself to reach her customers. In the past half century, the strategy has enabled her company to get valuable publicity, as well as more easily extend its product line and weather times of crisis, the author writes.
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