“When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.” William Wrigley Jr

And how! With many entrepreneurial teams, there is little disagreement on the execution of the business plan. This makes for a blind team. While you want the team to be in agreement on where you are going strategically, you need people who think differently than you and your team members to successfully execute the business plan.  If you are on the team and looking to add people, make sure they are not carbon copies of what you already have. If you are joining a new startup team, challenge a few of their ideas (tactfully) during the interview.  If they push back, you are looking at a … [Read more...]

Talk to your (future) customers!


I was reading a blog the other day written by the group at 16 ventures. Titled “Take your customer to lunch, not me” it reminded me of advice I have often given. When you are working on part of you business model and looking for feedback, do not forget your current or future customers. They are the ones that in the end will have the final vote on your success. Here are three approaches may want to consider:Turn each question you have around and look at it from the customer’s view, what will they receive for their money. When you meet with the customer, explain the whole view of the idea from … [Read more...]

Guy Kawasaki and the 10/20/30 rule + The Pitch Refinement Sessions = Success!

Guy Kawasaki-2006

The best advice I have seen written on developing and delivering a pitch for start-up capital was writing a couple years ago by Guy Kawasaki. Some of you may be familiar with Guy as he has been writing books, blogging and tweeting for some time.  In his book, The Art of the Start, Guy lays out in depth his rules for slide decks and  pitching a company. Here is my take on the three key points of the 10/20/30 rule :10 slides – Each has a very specific purpose. From my perspective, if you do not have the potential investor/ partner’s attention by slide 5, you can pack it in.20 minutes – That is … [Read more...]

The Fundamentals of Raising Capital – the 10 min summary

BIZ 2013

In my work at the BIZ, I receive more questions about raising capital than any other subject. Last March the BIZ hosted a one day seminar on raising capital. We covered a series of topics that educates the entrepreneur or business person on the fundamentals of raising capital.To close the seminar out I provided a 10-minute summary of the key issues in each type of capital raise. See the Summary on Raising Capital here. (This link will take you to the video and handouts for this session.)You can find the complete contents here for the BIZ Raising Capital Seminar. … [Read more...]

Marketing: Effective or Because You Like It?

I was working with a group a while back who were finalizing their branding.  They were fixated on the logo design.  Unfortunately for them, the whole selection process revolved around which one they liked best.  They did not ask past or potential customers for their opinion.  They did not follow best practices in logo design.  They simply chose the logo because they liked it.  How effective do you think their logo will be?  … [Read more...]

Raising Capital and Patents, Intellectual Property


A common question I hear concerns patents and other intellectual property such as trademarks.  Entrepreneurs are often not sure if they should go through the process of obtaining a patent, copyright or trademark.  There are many things to consider in making these decisions.  One area that is often overlooked is the effect intellectual property has on raising capital.  Thursday the 28th of March, the Plains Angels will be holding their monthly due diligence training session focused on intellectual property and raising capital. How does intellectual property affect raising capital and valuation … [Read more...]