_____

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World


Reprinted Courtesy of Wall Street News Network
Review by Fred Fuld III
The book, Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World, discusses the importance of branding your your business and the legacy that goes along with it. It is written by Mark Miller, the founder of the Legacy Lab, and Lucas Conley, the author of Obsessive Branding Disorder.
The book is captivating and engaging for several reasons. First, it gives real life examples of extremely successful brands. And the brands are not just limited to businesses, it includes non-profits, sports teams, and film festivals.
Second, the book delves into detail about how and why certain successful brands were created, with specific illustrations. For example, in the chapter “Empower Your Believers” on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the authors talked about how the employees are empowered to create the “Wow Factor” for their guests.
Some of the organizations that are examined include The Honest Company, Grey Goose, The San Diego Zoo, The Toronto Maple Leafs, and The Tribeca Film Festival.
In terms of the structure of the book, it is filled with pictures, diagrams, blurbs, and quotes. The book is a brand all its own.
If you own a business or are involved with an organization, I suggest you get  Legacy in the Making and make your brand the best that it can be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Straight Talk for Startups: 100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds

reprinted courtesy of WSTNN.com
If you are an entrepreneur or startuper, you need to read Straight Talk for Startups: 100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds. The book is written by Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman, both of whom have had extensive startup and venture capital experience.
I have read several books relating to startups, but here is what I like about this one. Straight Talk for Startups has recommendations and advice that you won’t find in other books about running a startup.
Here are some examples.
  • You need two different business plans, not one
  • Why a part time team member may be better than a full time one
  • Why you should NOT provide free lunches to your employees
  • Avoid venture debt
  • If you are looking to be acquired, choose your acquirer, don’t let acquirers choose you.
  • A small board of directors is better than a big board
The authors even provide a sample board meeting agenda.
The book is a well-written, easy read, with every short chapter, each a couple pages long, representing a rule you should follow. There are actually 101 rules in this book, and I believe the last one, covered in the Epilogue is probably the most important.
Whether you are thinking of starting a startup, have recently started a startup, or you are at the point of bringing your startup to a new level, I highly recommend Straight Talk for Startups.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How to Make $100,000 Beating Facebook

Are you a coder or startuper who thinks you can come up with a better social network than Facebook? If you do and you are successful, you can win $100,000.

Jason Calacanis, an angel investor and entrepreneur who is a leader in the startup world, has come up with a great offer, the "Openbook Challenge". 


Calacanis's organization, LAUNCH, will be funding seven teams that want to build a billion-user social network which will replace Facebook with a social network that is good for society.


Out of an estimated 100 teams that are expected to apply, 20 will be chosen as finalists, then seven teams will be chosen to receive $100,000 (for six percent, from the LAUNCH Incubator Fund) and join the LAUNCH incubator. 


If you want to know more details about how the competition works, how the finalists and winners will be chosen, and the timeline, check out the Calacanis web site

Thursday, April 19, 2018

How IoT Will Change Startups

Guest article by Lisa Froelings, business and productivity consultant

How IoT Will Change Startups

The Internet of Things is a miraculous marvel of modern technological advancement and innovation. It is the system by which all devices can interact with each other and create massive networks of information and data. We have already seen the system work well in our personal lives as our smartphones now keep our computers up-to-date. In the coming years there will be an ever growing explosion of devices and technologies that utilize The Internet of Things platform. 

In other words, this will be an unavoidable event when all interconnected devices communicate with each other and allow us to be everywhere all of the time. The area of our lives that will be impacted the most, however, is our businesses. Startups specifically are going to completely revolutionize the way they start business and how they operate. 

The Internet of Things brings with it many changes that owners will have to accustom themselves to so that they are not left behind by the train of technological innovation. How then will IoT change startups? The question is inherently manifold as the technology interacts with so many parts of business from marketing to employee management. The biggest innovations, however, will be in communication and that will change the way startups interact forever.

This year we will see the largest exponential growth of wifi-connected devices in history. This means that people all over the world will have access to the internet on devices such as smartphones and tablets. This will increase the amount of communication and interactivity that people all over the world have with one another. For startups, this is an incredibly useful innovation as it then provides potential employees the ability to interact around the world. 

This can dramatically reduce the cost of hiring employees for startups that are just trying to get their footing. When an owner sitting in Utah can hire a full stack developer in Thailand and communicate clearly at any time then we have made substantial progress in creating a startup world that is conducive to success. The hyper-connected nature of the Internet of Things allows people to access files and applications wherever they are. 

This can eliminate the idea of having offices all together and can dramatically reduce the money needed for a product to work. Startups rely on every bit of financial sourcing and using any part of that on unnecessary objects hampers the goal of product innovation. The rise of interconnected devices will allow startup owners to save more money without sacrificing good employees and productivity.

The rise of telecommute work is only one advantage of the Internet of Things as startup owners will now be able to work on their product wherever they are located. Using the different technologies available will allow startups to operate efficiently and for minimal cost. The nature of these devices is to communicate with one another which will allow all facets of business to increase in productivity but, for startups, this communication can dramatically reduce the need for having multiple devices. 

Since the Internet of Things has begun to explode we now have web-based applications that can automatically update your smart phone so that you can have entire conferences in your living room. There is nothing in the way for startup owners to operate wherever they are and work on their project whenever they want. For those in material design, the interconnectivity of smartphones with VR devices will allow someone to sculpt and design a product while sitting on the beach. 

It can allow an entire team to work together in a singular space digitally. Since every part of business is now online, there is never a need for a startup owner to be away from their work or to lose any information. It also allows for employees to have their own schedules and investors to communicate with owners whenever they need to. 

The Internet of Things will see a rise in the amount of new businesses and will completely change the way businesses operate for the better. The ability for people to access all of the things they need to access online anywhere they are will make for a more efficient world that is healthier and more productive. Having access to instant communication and information will save many businesses from going under. This, combined with automation, will see an explosion in the number of startups created and the number of businesses that succeed.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Does Your Startup Really Need a Financial Consultant?

Guest article by Anthony Coggine, HR professional and business writer

Does Your Startup Really Need a Financial Consultant?

In the digital age, accessibility and autonomy are becoming a defining part of startup culture. With a growing freelance economy and so much public information aimed to help small business get off the ground, a growing number of entrepreneurs and small business owners are questioning the needs for services often associated with traditional business practices, such as consulting services. With so many conflicting views on whether or not startups really need financial consultants, it really all boils down to the individual needs of each business.

Here are some of the main arguments, both for and against, taking on a financial consultant that will help you decide whether or not your startup could benefit from these services.

A second set of eyes
You would be hard pressed to come across a business that doesn’t understand the value of a second opinion. When it comes to financial modeling, there are various benefits that come from an expert opinion, but it can also be a risky move if you don’t pick the right person.

Pros:
      An experienced financial consultant can help you create a customized budget that will help you control your finances and highlight where you can make improvement
      Financial consultants tend to have a wealth of experience and can introduce new concepts and ideas that will help improve your financial performance
      Financial consultants can help you develop a financial model that makes room for lucrative opportunities

Cons:
      Hiring a financial advisor is an investment, thus it’s important that you have goals in place for your new hire to ensure you aren’t wasting time and resources
      A financial advisor that doesn’t specialize in your industry or understand your company culture could potentially point you in the wrong direction
      Taking on a consultant's means opening yourself to someone else's opinions, which can backfire if you aren't ready to introduce new ideas

Before making a final decision, it’s essential that you establish any issues that you might be facing. In addition, map out your expectations in order to understand the various pros and cons of taking on a new team member and whether or not that will work for you.

Financial health isn’t only about dollar signs
Growing businesses often start out with a small core team that handle pretty much everything from marketing to human resources and financial matters. Bootstrapping your business naturally instills a sense of pride and unity within teams, but as you start to grow you run the risk of burning out your team members. While most companies take on financial consultants to help organize money matters, there are also numerous advantages for the human side of your business, as long as you know how to reach them, of course.

Pros:
      Financial advisors can evaluate your team structure and make suggestions on potential new hires or training needed to streamline team efficiency and productivity
      Finance experts can help you execute a strategy that caters to your specific needs, whether that means cutting down on certain resources without compromising growth
      Taking on a financial consultant can help relieve burden from less experienced team members who may be taking care of financial tasks to save on costs

Cons:
      Hiring a consultant to help you improve productivity is only possible if you have a good sense of team dynamics, as an outside hire cannot help you improve without your internal knowledge
      Taking on a financial expert that doesn’t have experience in your industry is risky as they may provide advice that doesn’t pertain to your company
      Startups should most likely avoid financial consultants that primarily work with corporate entities as they may not understand the needs of startups

If your startup has recently received funding or is experiencing an uptick in growth, taking on a financial consultant can help you transition smoothly as you grow.

Evaluating the pros and cons of taking on a financial consultant is a reliable first step that will help you assess whether or not your startup could benefit from an outside opinion and the services provided by a consultant. Luckily, as the startup ecosystem continues to grow, an increasing amount of finance experts are now expanding their skill sets to include early stage businesses in the digital age.






Friday, January 19, 2018

5 Smart Startup Funding Strategies

Guest article by Anthony Coggine, HR professional and business writer

Finding funding for your startup can be the most daunting task. In order to launch your company, you’ll need to raise the proper capital. But, where do you find people who are willing to invest in your idea? And, if you are able to secure funding, how do you determine the terms of said funding? How much of your company are you willing to hand over? How much control do you need? This guide attempts to answer these questions for you and help you form a plan of action for your startup’s funding.

There are many paths to funding your startup, but only one is the right one for you. Below are 5 smart startup funding strategies that may work for you:

1. The Self-Funded Startup
You may think that every successful startup courted venture capitalists. We see startups that secure hundreds of millions of dollars from large firms and giant tech companies, but seldom do self-funded startups make the news.

The truth of the matter is that not all companies requires millions of dollars in initial funding. A small online business owner may need only a few thousand dollars to begin their venture. If you’re startup does not require a large office building, proprietary technology, or a massive R&D team to start, then you might not need to sink an exorbitant  amount of cash into its first stages. In which case, your own personal funds can launch a new company.

2. The Crowdfunded Startup
If you need a large sum of money, but are still looking to bootstrap your startup, crowdfunding may be a great option for you. Mind you, the projects with the best funding have a great deal of digital marketing and advertising dollars pouring into their crowdfunding campaigns -- so you may need to still make a sizeable personal investment.

3. The Angel-Funded Startup
Perhaps the most alluring of all startup funding strategies. Angel investors truly are miracles. They give you the funds you need to start your business. What do they want in exchange? If they’re a true angel, then very little involvement past the initial investment. Angel investors of this kind usually take the form of family and close friends. Usually, however, the cash investment is low, typically no more than $10,000 to $50,000.

Angel investors outside of family and friends can invest quite a bit more into your business. But, that being said, their terms will be very different. Their involvement with your business could be rather extensive.

4. The Venture Capital Startup
The most impressive funding usually comes from venture capital firms. Attracting these large deals is difficult, and often, you must give up a portion of your company to secure them. By the same token, it is more likely that you’ll receive business coaching and mentorship.

If you’re company needs a large budget for R&D, this may be the only startup funding strategy that works for you. On the other hand, if you wish to have complete control of your startup from start to finish, this funding strategy will absolutely not work for you.

5. The Combination Startup
Often, startups don’t simply go to one funding strategy. Entrepreneurs will fund their projects with personal funds, money from family and friends, and acquired funding. You aren’t limited to just one strategy. In the very early stages of your company, you may use only personal funds. As things get further along, you may utilize crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Fundable to reach new goals. Strategies change as your business grows.

Conclusion
Arriving at the right startup funding strategy can seem impossible. Weighing your options will greatly alleviate the stress of securing funding. Whether you chose funding your project yourself, crowdfunding your project, or turning to angel investors or venture capitalists, you should stick to what you feel comfortable with.


While there’s no way of knowing how interested others will be investing in your business, it’s important to retain your enthusiasm for your idea -- and you can retain that enthusiasm only if you proceed with what you believe is right for your startup. Examine your funding options, choose the best fit for you, and secure your funding in the way you see as best.