Business Partners and Investors: Check those references


I started my working life in the car business. I quickly came to the conclusion that people spend more time researching the purchase of a television than a car. In other words, people buy cars on emotion and looks. When engaging with business partners do not connect based on first impressions. In my last company after a failed situation, we were fond of asking each other the definition of “assume” (ass-u-me).  We assumed many facts that had we checked first, we would have gone a different direction.  Here are a few ideas for how to check out various business partners before hooking up:If you … [Read more...]

Think like an Angel Investor

PlainsAngels Initiative

You are invited to join us in learning how angel investors look at potential investments. Plains Angels invites entrepreneurs and other business minded people to join local angel investors  in the due diligence training sessions starting with Negotiating Terms / Group Investing February 28.  These ongoing training events will take place every month on the 4th Thursday.  You can see the entire schedule of events at my work at the BIZ, I am also the organizer of the Plains Angels.  The Plains Angels is an angel investor forum  based in Des Moines but serving the mid … [Read more...]

Where Do Entrepreneurs Get Their Money? Brad Feld Recommendation

dollar sign

During Brad Feld's presentation to Thinc Iowa, he recommended the Kauffman Sketchbook series title The Money Game. This is an extremely well done piece on where entrepreneurs get their money. This is worth more than  the 3 minutes and 34 seconds it takes to watch … [Read more...]

Number one thing you can do to raise money? Learn to Pitch!

Incubator Award

I have seen marginal ideas funded and great ideas shot down for the same reason, the pitch. While business plans, financial plans, market research, product development and the rest are all absolutely important, they can all be undone in a 10 minute pitch. Learning to pitch is straight forward.  You need to practice. Start by practicing in front of a mirror. Speak out loud. Believe me, I have spend many hours pitching out loud to a mirror or wall. This will get you comfortable with your content and voice. Next, you need to practice in front of a friend or co-worked. Someone who understands what … [Read more...]

Equity Investments, How do I value my company?

For many raising capital for their startup, the key question is how do I value my company?  Valuation of the company is the basis for determining the amount of equity one gives up to an investor for a given amount of investment.   Agreeing on a valuation with your potential investor may be one of the more challenging discussions you will have.  Recently one of my clients asked this question as they are getting ready to raise a round of funding.  Rather than try to explain it myself, I pointed them to a video from our Raising Capital Seminar from earlier this year.  Peter Bonstrom of LWBJ … [Read more...]

Des Moines Turning Into Hub for Entrepreneurs. The BIZ on Iowa Public Radio

I had a great time on today's River to River show on Iowa Public Radio.   River to River is Iowa Public Radio's talk program that focuses on the news, issues and events in Iowa.  Ben Kieffer, host of the show had done his homework and was prepared with great questions and some wonderful guests.  Joining me were the co-founders of b-amazing Naida Brown and Michael Termini foods from Coralville, Joel Bennett of Veel Hoeden in Pella  and Gwen Barker of Gwen Barker Productions.  If you would like to listen to the show, you can stream "Des Moines Turning Into Hub for Entrepreneurs" … [Read more...]