Investors Look First At The Founder, Then The Idea

James H. Clark photo via Wikipedia Commons

Investors are people too. They evaluate you like you should assess a possible co-founder or first employee. What are your credentials? What have you done that would convince me that my money is safe in your hands? Only after they see you as fundable, do they want to assess your plan for fundability, not the other way around.

Even with great credentials, it is all too possible for an entrepreneur to come across as a high risk investment. Here are some “rules of thumb” that indicate a marketable and experienced entrepreneur: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
October 14th, 2013

How and Why To Do Your Own Business Financial Model

Image via StartupFinancialModel.com

Most entrepreneurs tend to avoid this area of the business, and as a result are badly surprised by cost realities, and investor expectations. They seem to think that financial projections are simply invented numbers for investors, and not useful. In reality, it’s like jumping in your car for a long hard drive with no destination in mind. Chances are, you won’t enjoy success from the trip.

What is a business financial model, really? In most cases, it is merely a Microsoft Excel spread sheet loaded with your cost and revenue projections for your startup, starting now in time and extending at five years into the future. For more value, a few variables can be added, like product volume growth rate, and number of salesmen, for “what if” analyses. Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
October 7th, 2013

Can I find an Angel Investor for a European goldmine business?

Realistically it is highly, highly unlikely that you would be able to find an angel investor for any such venture, here or elsewhere. And, speaking to you as an active angel who has personally invested in over 80 companies, I can tell you that if anyone claiming to be an angel investor even hints at offering you funding for it, it is highly, highly likely that they are trying to scam you. Read more

Real Entrepreneurs Need to Accentuate The Positive

Trevor Blake photo via YoungUpstarts.com

Entrepreneurs need to listen to constructive criticism, but ignore negative vibes and complainers at all costs. If you are a complainer, and you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, think again. The world of an entrepreneur is tough, unpredictable, and fraught with risk. Most importantly, the buck stops with you, so there is no room for excuses and negativity.

Even listening often to negative team members and partners will reinforce negative thinking and behavior, and turn your normally positive perspective toxic. I’ve seen it too often in real life, and it was reinforced to me a while back in a book by Trevor Blake, “Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.”

Trevor is a highly successful serial entrepreneur and success coach who has studied this phenomenon for many years, including the latest findings in neuroscience. Reviewing dozens of autobiographies of great entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie, it seems that all had an unshakable belief in their ability to control their lives, with no excuses. Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
September 29th, 2013