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Entrepreneurship

A Guide to Venture Capital

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One of the most sought-after methods of financing for entrepreneurs is venture capital. The process involved in obtaining venture capital is usually long and complex, so it is wise to have a good understanding of it before you jump in.

The legwork has already been done for you in the form of an e-book titled “How to Get VC Funding”, which details the process from beginning to end, with first-timers in mind. It is a free resource that’s a must-read for any businessperson that wants to get VC funding.

VC funding

The most important takeaways from the e-book are highlighted below.

1. Have a Good Understanding of Early-Stage Venture Capital

Venture capital funding is defined by Entrepreneur as funds that flow into a company, usually during the pre-IPO process, in the form of an investment as opposed to a loan. The investments are controlled by an individual or small group referred to as venture capitalists (VCs) and are secured by a substantial ownership position and require a high rate of return.

Simply put, VC firms make investments in companies and get equity in those business in return, with the hope to see a positive return on that investment. The main source of VC funds is usually institutional and private investors. Typically, VC investments are essentially long-term partnerships between VC firms and companies.

2. Determine Whether Your Company Is Ready for Pursuing VC Financing

The best time to approach VCs for an investment will differ depending on the company. While you can attract a VC partner with just an idea, the vast majority of deals are closed once a business has 3 concrete items:

  • A team of founders
  • A minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Customers

Venture capital is geared towards companies that have high startup costs and are designed to grow quickly. For the best chance of securing VC funding, it is important to have a disruptive idea, preferably in an industry where VCs usually invest heavily, such as technology, along with an impressive management team.

3. Build a Pitch Deck and Presentation

A solid pitch deck will be your calling card if you hope to raise money from a VC as well as the starting point of most introductory meetings.

A pitch deck refers to a presentation that gives an overview of the business. It can be used for sharing insights about your service or product, market opportunity, business model, your management team, and company funding needs.

It is important for a pitch deck to be short, concise, and cover the elements below:

  • Company financials
  • Investment amount
  • Company progress
  • Market pain point and solution
  • Management team

Securing Venture Capital funding

4. Find the Right VC to Fund the Business

All VC firms have specific focus when it comes to the type of companies they fund. They typically invest in consumer products, software, green technologies, fintech, AI, or any other category of business. Each VC firm focuses on a different stage of investment (Series A, Series B, Series C, seed, early-stage, etc.) So, research is the first step in reaching out to VCs.

Once you have a target list of VCs to approach, it is now time to set up meetings. You will have 2 opportunities for making connections: a cold email to a VC partner or an introduction from someone in your network.

5. Mastery of the VC Term Sheet

The term sheet is basically a non-binding list of preliminary terms for VC financing. It is also informally referred to as the first real paper that a founder receives from a VC once they have made the decision to invest.

A terms sheet has 3 key sections:

  • The Funding Section: It lays out the proposed investment’s financial guidelines. It outlines how much money the VC firm is willing to invest and what it wants from your company in return.
  • The Corporate Governance Section: It is used to define the distribution of power between investors and founders as it relates to company decisions.
  • The Liquidation and Exit Section: It describes what will happen to shareholders and investors if the company is sold, dissolved, or liquidated. It defines who will be paid first and highlights any specific preferences that are given to investors.

6. Complete Due Diligence, and Close the Deal

You can have higher chances of closing a deal with a VC as a founder if you prepare well for due diligence, which refers to the process used by investors to gather the necessary information on the potential or actual risk involved in an investment. It is also important to get familiar with the reasons why deals usually go wrong and take proactive steps to encourage a close.

The final stage of a VC funding deal is the time to find alignment across the VC firm, your internal teams, and your legal advisors. Founders should quickly follow through on commitments during this time and provide correct information pertaining to their companies.

Entrepreneurship

Eight Types of Company Missions These Entrepreneurs Think Are Vastly Overrated

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What’s one example of a common company mission that you think is overrated, and why? What should replace it?

Company mission

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Statements That Mention Being the ‘Best’

The missions that correspond to being the “best” are generic and overrated. Being the best there is at what you do is the pinnacle of success. If you get there, what’s next? Businesses don’t grow when they pursue excellence. They grow by making mistakes, learning from experiences and doing better next time. So, seeking continuous improvement can be a good replacement.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

2. Missions That Aren’t Measurable

Generally speaking, any mission statement that isn’t measurable can cause problems for your business. If you can’t track your progress, your statement is nothing more than words on paper (or a screen). People are more willing to get behind mission statements that focus on tangible long-term goals or aspirations.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

3. Statements That Could Apply to Any Company

Many mission statements contain generic terms that could apply to almost anyone. A common example is “We provide the highest quality service,” which is an admirable goal but doesn’t really tell you anything about what they stand for or how they deliver it. Terms such as “integrity,” “excellence” and “industry leaders” are similar. It’s better to pinpoint something more specific that you deliver.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

4. Phrases About Pursuing Excellence

“We pursue excellence” is generic and overrated — not to mention, the definition of achieving excellence may vary from one person to another. What will be the metric for achieving excellence? No one knows, as not everyone in your company is on the same page. So, replacing this mission with measurable indicators like sign-ups, conversions and other growth metrics would be a good idea.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

Developing mission statement

5. Missions That Mention ‘Social Impact’

Many companies use the phrase “social impact” in their mission statement, but the impact is rarely evident. For example, a clothing store may mention that it is committed to helping women in poverty, but it will still charge the same amount for its T-shirts. Instead of writing a mission statement, a company should inform customers about how they are helping the world.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

6. Missions That Call for Perfection

Nothing is perfect! I’d rather see a mission that pushes others to embrace imperfection and to strive harder to be better every day, knowing that there is such a thing as a bad day. The best thing we can do is to stop aiming for perfection and just be better than yesterday.

Daisy Jing, Banish

7. Statements That Don’t Mention Your Industry or Purpose

I think mission statements that don’t directly mention your industry or what your business does can do more harm than good. Failure to mention these details makes your message seem more like a fluff piece than an actual long-term goal for your brand. Instead, brand leaders should focus specifically on how their company will help the industry evolve.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Missions That Lack Connection

Companies should be able to use their mission statement to connect with their target audience. However, I have seen a lot of companies create mission statements that are too broad and generic. For example, “Helping businesses grow” is far too generic and does not connect with anyone. However, if it was “Helping small businesses grow with our marketing services,” it would connect better.

Sujay Pawar, Astra

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Entrepreneurship

Want to Start a Business? Read This First for a Reality Check!

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Are you going to start a business and looking for some ideas and tips? Well, you are reading the right blog post, as I will tell you what you might not want to hear, but at the same time, I will give you some reasons why you want to start a business you love – with the right mindset.

Thinking entrepreneur

I’ve heard some cynical comments about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship; one comment says that entrepreneurs are, well, becoming one because they simply can’t get a real job. Another one says that entrepreneurs are a group of people who use their parents and/or everyone else’s money to start a business and have fun with it without thinking of returning any of it.

Some say that entrepreneurship is easy – just get a product people want and sell it for a profit. Right. Some say that entrepreneurship is overrated – you won’t make more than a decent paid job. Right.

It’s sad, really… those naysayer just don’t realise that entrepreneurs and small business are two of the most prominent factors that make the economy moving. Just ask the mentors and experts about what a community could do if small business is not supported by the Government: Crippled. Then the butterfly effect kicks in, and eventually the whole economy of a nation is brought down just because investors, entrepreneurs and business owners are not well-supported.

Yet successful entrepreneurs thrive despite all the unfavourable policies, the naysayer’s boos and jeers, and the non-supportive friends and family, who laugh at their ideas of starting a business out of their garage.

If you are considering entrepreneurship, are you ready for such pressure? You will somehow face people who question your decision jumping into the entrepreneurship bandwagon. The worse part is, those who doubt you often your closest ones – your spouse, your parents, your friends…

Are you ready?

Startups are not for the faint-hearted

We can’t deny the fact that many startups are bound to fail. Well, did you know why many startups fail? There are thousands of reasons, but one of the reasons that I think as the main cause of startup failures is false hopes.

If you are thinking of running a business as traveling all over the world at will, riding a limo sipping champagne, or doing whatever you like in your pajamas or swimming suit – I apologise, but I need to pop your balloon.

Stop dreaming. Start looking into the reality. Entrepreneurship is not easy and if you don’t have what it takes to get a business launched and navigate your vessel through the storm, you’d better get a job.

Entrepreneurship requires to be able to juggle and decide on many things: Balancing your work-life; deciding from many strategic options; choosing between a list of suppliers; and so on. Initially, you need to be able to wear many “hats” – bookkeeping/administrative, marketing, development, production, procurement, and so on.

You need to be open-minded and be prepared for open-ended outcome of your decisions; you need to be ready for any circumstances requiring you to re-focus and re-strategise in the middle of your plan.

And those perks you are having while working for a boss, you don’t have them when you are an entrepreneur: Paid leave, managed retirement planning, and so on. You are literally on your own, supporting yourself with your own resources.

Whether you are a solopreneur or the owner of multi-business ventures employing thousands of staffs while running yours while having fun doing so (like what Sir Branson is doing,) “hard work,” “perseverance” and “delayed gratification” are three of the main “keywords” defining all what entrepreneurs are doing.

Indeed, entrepreneurs are hard worker and passionate about their business. What keep them going is their passion for what they do and their love for everything entrepreneurship, starting up and business ownership.

Entrepreneur dealing with self-doubt
photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If startup is so difficult, why people are doing it?

Yes, this question is asked by many who are interested in entrepreneurship. This question might be your question.

It’s a fair question: With all the hurdles you need to take on if you are plunging yourself into entrepreneurship, why bother starting up?

There are many answers, but if you asked me, my answer would be this: I love this game.

I love the search of business ideas. I love the many sleepless nights working on my business to see it grows steadily. I love the possibility for me to create something useful for the community – while giving me the lifestyle and financial independent I want for my family. I love the ups and downs of running a business – sure, failing sucks, but I can learn a great deal from it personally and professionally.

I wouldn’t trade what I am doing right now (work at home, surrounded by the people I love) with any high-paying jobs requiring me to work 12 hours a day or more; I love the freedom money can’t buy. I love a business that is built around my lifestyle, not the other way around.

Of course, I don’t love ALL aspects of my business: I don’t fancy the back office operations – bookkeeping, administrative and so on – but you can always hire someone competent to do those for you 🙂

Takeaway

Indeed, entrepreneurship is one of the most risky careers of all. Well, if you want safety and security, just get a job. But if you love the unknowns and embrace risks, entrepreneurship is a path worth walking; it’s rewarding in every sense – financially and emotionally.

So, now you know some facts about entrepreneurship. I do hope you can start a business with the right mindset; I also hope you start your journey with humility; being passionate without arrogance; taking calculated risks, not gambling; eagerness to help others when you have finally reached the top; acknowledging the fact that without God and those people around you – friends, family, fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, etc. – you won’t go far.

Dream big. Start small. Just do it, seriously!

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Entrepreneurship

Measuring the Health of Your Personal Finances

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Measuring the health of your personal finances can be as simple as evaluating four simple parts about your personal finances including the way that your money is spent and the methods that you are employing to prepare yourself for the future. Use these aspects to take an evaluation of your personal finance situations and begin to learn the techniques required to up the health of your personal finances.

Borrow money

How Much do you Owe?

It is important to determine how much money that you owe in debts. The importance of the total number is sometimes surpassed by the interest rates and terms at which the debt has been accumulated. Are you facing a cycle of debt living paycheck to paycheck and using additional sources of credit to repay outstanding debts? It is important to take a plan to get out of the cycle of debt; if you have found yourself becoming overwhelmed.

Establishing a solid repayment plan that includes fifteen percent of the income, every single month to the debts in the order of most expensive to least expensive is techniques that all debtors should take into account.

Are You Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

Are you unable to find room within the budget to establish a savings account and find all of your money being spent before it reaches your pocketbook? If so, than you are more than likely one of the thousands of consumers that are living paycheck to paycheck – and this is an unhealthy indicator of your finances.

Attack your debt with a solid plan and find ways to increase your income to establish a savings account to increase the health of your finances. Use strict budgeting skills for at least one month to establish a little wiggle room in the personal financial situation and get out of the trap of living paycheck to paycheck.

Impulsive shopping is bad spending habit

Are You Spending More than You Earn?

Living outside or above your means can often be an indicator that sometime in the future the finances will be in jeopardy. When a consumer spends more than they make, this money must come from somewhere. Many people use credit to cover the shortfalls in income, which can lead to drastic mistakes being made in the finances and debt being accumulated faster than the consumer realizes. One day, many consumers wake up and realize that they are shocked to living within their means as they have run out of credit.

Go over your finances and create a budget that allows you to spend less than you earn to increase your financial health.

Have you Established a Savings Account?

An emergency fund or savings account is an essential part of the health of your finances as it in part determines the security of your future.

A savings account should be established with at least ten percent of the income every single month, which should be deposited into a high interest savings account. This money can provide an alternative to credit card use and earn money rather than charging the consumer money through the use of expensive credit cards.

Experts recommend that individuals and families have three to six months of expenses saved within the emergency fund to become truly financially healthy. Does this inspire to you start saving?

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