Image via FirstSeniorFinancialGroup.com
A few angel investors have slipped or fallen from their lofty perch, so entrepreneurs must take great care to validate the character and reputation of every prospective investor. The entrepreneur’s tendency to be in a huge hurry to obtain the funding can end up being disastrous, and play into the hands of these less scrupulous investors.
Many entrepreneurs believe all money is created equal. As long as somebody recognizes their million dollar idea and writes them a check, the source really doesn’t matter. In fact, most angels are pure, but there are some exceptions that may cost you more than an investment: Read more
Image via blog.JohnSpence.com
Successful startups are all about turning ideas into action quickly and efficiently. These actions must be the hard part, since entrepreneurs always seem to come to me with ideas, and ask me for help on the actions. That has always seemed strange to me, since the magic is supposed to be in the ideas, and the actions are the same for every business.
In fact, the actions required to start and run a business are well documented, the subject of many books, and taught in college courses across the land. As confirmed to me by John Spence in his book on this subject, Awesomely Simple, turning business ideas into action consists of six essential strategies: Read more
Kentucky Derby (AP/Photo David Goldman)
In today’s business startup environment, if you don’t move fast, you get run over. Without a sense of urgency, people and businesses just can’t move fast enough. Speed is the driver because customers have a zero tolerance for waiting, and there are always competitors gaining on you.
John P. Kotter, in “A Sense of Urgency,” delves into the how-to required of entrepreneurs on that first step, avoiding pitfalls along the way. He is convinced that increasing the sense of urgency is the toughest of the steps necessary for effective change. Read more
Image via WickedStart.com
In sports, mental toughness is defined as the ability to focus on and execute solutions, especially in the face of adversity. If anyone in business ever needed mental toughness, it’s an entrepreneur. Investors tell me that startup success is all about execution, all while facing determined competitors and overcoming customers’ resistance to change.
Dr. Jason Selk, in his book “Executive Toughness,” talks about mental toughness with analogies between sports and business, but he never takes it all the way to entrepreneurs, where I believe it can have the most impact. So here is my interpretation of the fundamentals he outlines, adapted to the language of a startup: Read more
Image via TheRiskAlliance.com
You have probably heard plenty of times that being an entrepreneur is a risky business, and investors talk all the time about reducing the risk. Yet everyone seems to have their own view of key risk drivers for startups, and I’m no exception. I don’t agree, for example, that the first priority is to avoid startups with a high attrition rate, like trendy restaurants and entertainment.
Here is my own priority list of key risk drivers that every entrepreneur and every investor should evaluate and minimize in starting a business: Read more
Image via Schedule.SXSWcom
I’ve noticed that some entrepreneurs seem to have no trouble attracting investors, while others with a great business plan struggle with it. The reality is that angel investors are humans, and personal traits often make or break the relationship, even before the investment is considered.
On the top line, angel investors look to invest in entrepreneurs that have an almost unwavering passion and sense of urgency. In the business, this is commonly called “fire in the belly.” If you don’t have it, you probably won’t succeed, even with funding. Read more
Shark Tank photo by Sarah Hummert for Daymond John
After the idea, it’s all about execution. In fact, it’s not clear that even the idea is all that important. Most investors tell me that an A entrepreneur with a B idea is much more fundable than a B entrepreneur with an A idea. It’s great to be a visionary, inventor, thinker, or a dreamer, but none of these matter in the business world if you are not also a do-er.
According to Professor Sean Wise, who claims to have worked with more than 15,000 entrepreneurs (including many with the popular TV shows Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den), no matter how great the idea and the opportunity, in the end it is only the execution that creates change and generates wealth. Read more