Category Archives: Ignition! Starting up

My dad said: “Never take on a business partner.”

My dad was a smart businessman, even if not formally trained. He occasionally gave me advice that turned out to be more than wise, looking back at subsequent experience and events.  His personal teaching event was a typical experience, as … Continue reading

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Should you include your sweat equity in a business plan?

Investors love it when entrepreneurs draw little or no money from their startups.  It extends the cash available for research and other necessary fixed costs and gives the fragile, young company more “runway” to get to breakeven. What are you … Continue reading

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What’s the most important thing in a young business?

Cash is everything to a new business.  How many times do we have to say this?  The days of being able to trust that there will be an investor or lender on the other end of a call or email … Continue reading

Posted in Growth!, Ignition! Starting up | 1 Comment

So, do you have that entrepreneurial DNA?

My immediate family members were entrepreneurs from as far back as I can trace.  Dad was a jeweler, then a furniture store owner.  Mom wrote books and articles from her college days until she could no longer see the keyboard.  … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up | 2 Comments

Here’s how NOT to define your competition

We investors see this all the time. An entrepreneur pitches using a deck with no slide for competition. When asked (as we always do,) the response is “This is new. We have no competition.” Niet!  No! Unh unh. Professional investors … Continue reading

Posted in Finding your ideal niche, Ignition! Starting up, Positioning, Raising money | 1 Comment

Could you have created a “dirty cap table?”

Oh, I know. When you started the business, you took investments from friends and family in small amounts just to get you started.  Of course, that worked at the time.  But… Enter the need for larger investments When you seek … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | 3 Comments

Would you sign a personal guarantee if you have investors?

It’s a fact of life that a banker, lender or lessor will ask for a personal guarantee from the founder or entrepreneur most every time. But what if you’ve diluted your interest from 100% to something less than 50%? Should … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up, Protecting the business, Raising money | 2 Comments

Oh, go ahead and ask for a five-million-dollar investment in your startup.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen executive summaries of business plans in which the entrepreneur seeks $5,000,000 to build the business. Four reasons you should reconsider. First, few startups can use that much money today with … Continue reading

Posted in Ignition! Starting up, Raising money | 5 Comments

Once again: Is it the jockey or the horse?

Early stage investors have been arguing over this for years.  Do they bet on the entrepreneur (jockey) or the business idea and plan (the horse)?   This is serious stuff.  If you are looking for money, this question will certainly come … Continue reading

Posted in Depending upon others, Ignition! Starting up, Surrounding yourself with talent | 4 Comments

What would you do if told to “fail fast?”

Here’s a question that should strike close to home. Professional investors like to quote this mantra to anyone who will listen.  “Fail fast,” they say. But what if you believe so strongly in your budding enterprise that this seems to … Continue reading

Posted in Finding your ideal niche, Ignition! Starting up, Protecting the business | 4 Comments