Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, August 10, 2009
Several months ago, I came across YouNoodle, a website which offers tools and a platform to help startup companies succeed. What I was initially drawn to was their Startup Predictor tool. The idea of a tool that could help predict the success, or lack thereof, of a new company really intrigued me.
Written by Growthink on Tuesday, August 4, 2009
We just published a new series of capital-raising articles on the Growthink website, within our new "Capital Raising Resource Center."
Angel Funding Articles
Bank & SBA Loan Articles
Creative & Alternative Financing Articles
Venture Capital Articles
Stay tuned! In the coming weeks and months, we'll be adding new articles and videos.
Are there any specific capital-raising topics you'd like us to cover? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, August 3, 2009
I'll be the first to admit that this fundraising strategy isn't for me. But I have a wife and kids, so maybe, a few years back, I would have given this one a shot.
The strategy: renting out the extra space in my apartment or house to travelers on a budget.
For three entrepreneurs, this fundraising strategy took on a life of its own. The three entrepreneurs, Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk, used this creative fundraising strategy (renting out the extra space in their apartments) to generate revenue after they quit their jobs to become entrepreneurs.
But, interestingly, they found the strategy so successful, that that turned it into a business that is now thriving.
The business, Airbnb is essentially the "eBay of space." It works like this...People list their apartments and houses (if they aren't going to be home), and even spare guest rooms, futons, and couches on the site and set a price per night. And then travelers who are looking for a place to stay search the listings for an accommodation that's right for them.
So, real estate owners and renters earn money, travelers get a discount, and Airbnb earns a 10% fee on all transactions. A true win-win-win. As you might imagine, Airbnb is doing very well, and is now in over 1150 cities in 82 countries.
My takeaways/lessons here are two-fold: first, if you have extra space or are traveling, you should consider listing your space on Airbnb to generate some revenues to invest in your business. Second, as this company illustrates, you can never be too creative in coming up with ideas to fund your business.
If you want to see a brief video of the Airbnb team, including their story of how Barry Manilow's drummer is one of their top users, here is a cool clip:
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, August 3, 2009
The other day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brette Simon.
Brette is a partner at Jones Day, a top tier law firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and several major international cities.
Written by Eric Torres on Monday, August 3, 2009
Starting a venture and launching a product/service is not an easy task as can be testified by the thousands of individuals that start a business every year.
Yet many of these individuals overlook what I term, "Creative Transformation," the thought process, emotions, and actions needed to take one's idea and transform it into a viable business.
Often reality is not representative of what we think/dream in our heads. This predicament is often seen in start-ups in which entrepreneurs have a great idea but when developing that idea into a business the results may be a venture that is not representative of what they thought.
What causes this discontinuation?
Each case is different, but for a majority of cases a mix of a misguided thought processes, escalated emotions, and ineffective actions may lead to an unsuccessful venture. A recent client of mine, Alex Wagenheim, has experienced Creative Transformation and exemplifies how an entrepreneur can overcome it.
Alex Wagenheim is an ambitious and true entrepreneur by heart who has identified an unmet need in the small business market: the need for simple and efficient software. Alex's first major obstacle as an entrepreneur was being able to articulate his idea and vision into words so that our consultants could help him craft a business plan.
Alex went through a thought process where he had to analyze his idea and determine the value proposition that his service would provide to his potential customers. This thought process was a struggle as different variables had to be considered such as existing technologies, the market needs, and the level of sophistication of the customer base.
Each of these areas revealed more questions that needed to be answered and from there Alex experienced emotions of excitement when he discovered a large market for his venture. But he became apprehensive when he realized that in order to launch his venture properly a large amount of work would need to be completed. Alex stayed optimistic and decided to curtail his frustration and create a plan of action.
Overcoming emotions and creating a plan of action is often the breaking point for many entrepreneurs. When the thought process, emotions, and risks are all negative it is typical for an individual to abandon their idea. Plans of action are abandoned and what is left is just an idea of what could have been.
At the onset of Creative Transformation, Alex realized that he needed help to develop his venture and service. The emotions he was feeling prompted Alex to react and seek the consulting advice of experts.
With Growthink's help Alex was able to transition smoothly through Creative Transformation and execute on the proper actions that will increase the success of his business. Creative Transformation was not a breaking point for Alex, but was the catalyst that prompted him to search for help from professionals.
Alex is currently completing a market survey for his target market and will develop the first beta of his software in the near future.
Written by Jay Turo on Friday, July 31, 2009
Aren't you sick and tired of watching Washington spend all of YOUR money and YOU not seeing any of it?
I would like to invite you to an exclusive opportunity to meet, via web conference, the CEO (and Stanford MBA) of one of the fastest-growing and innovative companies in the industry.
Best regards, and look forward to connecting.
Don't be like them.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I’m excited to announce that today is the first day of registration for the Capital Raising Bootcamp!
To register your spot, go here.
And here are a couple of important updates about the Bootcamp.
Update #1: I realize it’s the middle of summer, and many of you have probably planned vacations – or may even be on vacation right now (lucky you!). To account for this, I’ve decided to provide recordings and transcripts as an added bonus when you register, in case you have to miss all or part of one of the sessions.
Update #2: I’ve decided to add an extra day to the Capital Raising Bootcamp curriculum, to allow for questions-and-answer time. I’m going to dedicate this 4th day (Friday August 7th) entirely to Live Q&A.
So, now, the finalized Capital Raising Bootcamp curriculum/schedule is as follows:
Day 1: Tuesday, August 4th: Essential Overview of Raising Capital
Day 2: Wednesday, August 5th: Venture Capital and Angel Funding
Day 3: Thursday, August 6th: Debt, Grants, and Creative/Alternative Financing
Day 4: Friday, August 7th: Questions and Answers
(Each session runs from 2:00pm EST to 3:30pm EST).
Remember: There are only 50 spots available.
We are putting a strict limit on registration in order to make the experience as valuable as possible for each participant – and, most importantly, to allow enough time for each person to have his or her questions answered during the Q&A time.
To register go here.
Written by Jay Turo on Monday, July 27, 2009
You've likely heard all of the hype regarding Cleantech.
How the Obama stimulus plan fuels $83 billion into the sector.
How cleantech investment today is more than 477% greater than what it was in 2005.
How Vinod Khosla, arguably the world's most famous and well- respected venture capitalist, last week raised another $1 billion - including $150 million of his own money, to invest in it.
Wind. Solar. Geothermal. Water treatment. Smart grid. Fuel cells. Carbon capture. If you have turned the TV on at all over the past year, you've probably heard about all of these.
And here is one you probably haven't heard - Bio-friendly pesticides.
Well, if you're interested in capitalizing on one of the great arbitrage opportunities of our time, you should care.
Because bio-pesticides, an environmentally friendly option to synthetic chemicals, is the perfect storm about to happen.
We're talking about a $70 billion+ industry, where new, effective and safe pesticide products are gaining traction.
One where governments worldwide are mandating - through strict, new regulation - a fast transition from the old, synthetic-based products that have been damaging our health and the environment for far too long.
An industry that includes dozens of completely under-the-radar, private companies. And cash - rich big boys, like DowAgro and Monsanto - on acquisition sprees.
Meet the Industry Leader
I would like to invite you to an exclusive opportunity to meet, via web conference, the CEO of one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic companies in the industry.
He will talk about the super-fast growth his company is currently experiencing, and how they relate to his public offering and acquistion plans.
If you're interested in learning how money is really made in emerging technology, then this is a presentation you don't want to miss.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, July 27, 2009
Here is a video that explains precisely why raising capital is so important to your business.
And, importantly, it includes details regarding why it’s critical that you understand how to raise capital from multiple sources, even if you currently are only seeking one particular type of capital...
Near the end, I reveal a fantastic (and perhaps my favorite) tip, which is the single most controllable factor that you have to improve your success in both fundraising and successfully growing you business.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I'd like to tell you brief story about a Chihuahua who was taken along on a safari vacation. The story is important as it probably holds the answer to your capital-raising needs.
On the first day of the Chihuahua's trip, the Chihuahua wandered off too far and got lost in a bush. Unfortunately, within minutes, the Chihuahua encountered a very hungry looking leopard.
Realizing he was in trouble, but, noticing some fresh bones on the ground, the Chihuahua started to chew on them, with his back to the leopard. As the leopard was about to leap, the Chihuahua smacked his lips and exclaimed loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here."
The leopard stopped mid-stride, and slinked away into the trees.
"Phew," said the leopard, "that was close - that evil little dog nearly had me."
A monkey nearby saw everything and thought he'd win a favor by setting the leopard straight.
(Fortunately, the Chihuahua saw the monkey go after the leopard, and guessed he might be up to no good.)
When the leopard heard the monkey's story, he felt angry at being made a fool, and offered the monkey a ride back to see him get revenge.
As the leopard and monkey approached, the Chihuahua once again turned his back and pretended not to notice them. And when the pair got within earshot, the Chihuahua said aloud, "Now where's that monkey gone? I sent him ages ago to bring me another leopard..."
The moral of the story is that the Chihuahua survived because he was creative, and because, the second time, he planned ahead.
The same is true when it comes to financing your business. While most entrepreneurs are extremely creative when it comes to coming up with unique business ideas and marketing plans, they tend lack creativity in the area where they need it most - fundraising.
Remember, without adequate capital, even the best business and marketing ideas will fail.
Fortunately, I am just about to release Growthink's "Definitive Guide to Creative & Alternative Financing Sources." The report gives you a detailed overview of the twelve most common types of capital used to start and grow business. And then, it provides twenty-eight (28) creative and alternative sources of financing that resourceful entrepreneurs have used to more easily finance their businesses.
One of the stories in the Guide is one of my favorites...the one about Kenneth Cole. Well before global retail sales of Kenneth Cole products reached $1.5 Billion last year, Kenneth Cole was a struggling entrepreneur with no money.
But he believed in himself and his designs, and used his creativity not only on his products and his marketing, but on his financing plan. Cole's plan was this - to find a struggling shoe manufacturer in need of customers (because the economy was weak then like it is right now) to manufacture his shoes on consignment. That is, Cole would only have to pay for the shoes AFTER he sold them.
Well, Cole was able to easily find the manufacturer who financed his business buy giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars of shoes. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you are seeking financing for your business, and you have not devised a creative plan to raise capital, I urge you to learn these great, creative financing ideas and use them to raise money for your business.
I will be releasing this report later this week. But I prefer it if you start right now. Take out a sheet of paper and write down your creative ideas to raise capital. Then, later this week, I'll give you 28 more ideas so you can complete your list, figure out which sources you are most comfortable raising money from, and begin financing and really growing your business.
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