Listen to Investors and Learn About Internet Startups

Investors will tell anyone who wants to listen that the internet has changed the face of investing in some respects and maintained investing rules in other ways. Early stage internet businesses can now start on the proverbial dime which has encouraged entrepreneurs to jump into business enterprises. However, just because you can start a business cheaply doesn’t mean you can keep it going.

Though there are stories of businesses like Facebook started in a dorm room and now sold for billions that is not the typical story. Yet the success of Facebook and other startups bought by larger internet businesses like Facebook make it clear that there is a market for these types of startups. In fact, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that discussed the fact that each year there are 15 winning tech companies started each year, and they are able to grow because of investors willing to fund seed-stage and young companies.

There are some lessons to be learned by the tech company successes and failures. For one thing, investors now expect new internet businesses to have a substantial following before they seek funding. That is a reflection of the fact that there are thousands of internet based startups every year so investors can be selective based on the sheer quantity of businesses. The good news for young internet businesses though is found in the fact that investors are looking for the next great internet companies. They want to help startups and they want to see entrepreneurs with great ideas succeed.

That is the real lesson to be learned from the internet winners and losers – everyone has a chance to be winner.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Don’t Be Nervous When Pitching Your Business Plan to an Investor

Selling a business plan to an investor can seem like an intimidating proposition. Many entrepreneurs are skilled at product or service design and development but shy about presenting the concepts in order to land funding. Let’s face it – designing and selling are two very different activities. One takes know-how and specialized training while the other requires high quality communication and presentational skills. Blending engineering genius with selling savvy is not always easy.

Making a business plan presentation to investors is not difficult, but it does require preparation and rehearsal. It’s probably safe to say that most small business startups are not comfortable making a pitch to experienced investors. There’s always a fear of saying the wrong thing, not adequately conveying the passion for the business, or of looking foolish.

Feeling nervous is natural unless you are a professional speaker. Overcoming the nervousness is important though because investors expect the business owner to be comfortable enough to present the business plan. If the thought of making a business plan presentation puts fear in your heart because of the importance of the meeting, there are several things to keep in mind.

First, you need to prepare the presentation well in advance and practice, practice and practice some more. Even if you are highly confident about your ability to make a presentation, you still need to practice because this is too important to leave to chance. Second, the presentation needs to be streamlined for the investors. The business plan has the details of the business documented. The presentation should be reduced to a two page summary and no more than 15 slides.

That goes back to point one. Capturing a business plan on 15 pages without resorting to stuffing as much information as possible on each page is more difficult than it may sound. That’s why you need to prepare the presentation long before meeting with investors and then practice, practice and practice some more.

It’s true what they say – practice really does make perfect.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Turning a Good Idea into a Prototype Can Attract Investors

When you are looking for investors to fund the manufacturing of a new product, it’s a good idea to have a prototype ready. A prototype by definition is a preliminary model or early sample of a product. It can be used to test a particular concept to make sure it can be turned into reality or can serve as the first sample of something that will be copied once funding is obtained.

Investors like prototypes because it brings a concept to life and proves that the concept is doable. It serves as proof that the business idea can be turned into a practical product that can be sold to customers. A prototype also proves that the entrepreneur or business has fully developed a concept and that the investors are not being asked to fund a pie-in-the-sky

A prototype should be market tested to prove that the product fulfills a customer need. That is like gold to a business and a business plan. Presenting a product that has been tried and accepted by potential customers greatly reduces the level of risk associated with a startup operation. However, small startups should not make the mistake of only testing the product on family and friends and need to introduce the prototype to the real target market. The business plan can include a report on the market testing to accompany the prototype itself. By validating a prototype, the business has tangible proof that the product can be manufactured, the materials are available, and the product design is workable.

Given the competition for investors, developing a prototype can give a business a competitive edge. Prototypes don’t just apply to manufactured products either. Startup software companies and websites develop prototypes to attract investors too. The key is to develop the product to the stage where the investors can easily see its potential success in the marketplace.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

What Investors Want to Find in a Business Plan

Entrepreneurs listen to professionals working with investors tell them over and over again that they need to develop a business plan. Instead of getting help, some managers finally develop one on their own, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that it lacks real effort. Investors are savvy and have read hundreds of business plans so recognize when a plan has been assembled in a haphazard manner.

In other words, you can’t fool the experts. A business plan lacking quality reflects a lack of concern about the business brand and on the business owners and management. A poorly designed business plan also sends a message that the business owners have not taken long range planning seriously and so casts doubt on the ability of the enterprise to succeed over the long term. It will be almost impossible to attract investors with this kind of business plan. Investors need confidence that their funding will be used in a successful business model that will earn the return expected.

What constitutes a poor quality business plan? First, they typically leave out important sections like the market analysis. Secondly, a plan that is poorly organized and difficult to read makes it nearly impossible to find information, and that discourages investors. Third, a business plan filled with typos and grammatical errors indicates that no one read the plan more than once or that it was written quickly with little thought. Fourth, a plan with inadequate research and lacking data and facts that can be verified will also turn investors away.

If you want to ensure investors pay attention to your business plan, then you need to pay attention to it too. To get the attention of investors, entrepreneurs need to develop a solid plan that reflects thoughtfulness, research and long range planning.  A high quality business plan is a blueprint for success, and that’s exactly what investors are looking for – success potential. If you are not comfortable writing a business plan then the first step to take is getting experienced help with the preparation. There is just too much riding on the business plan to do otherwise.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Ready to Compete Globally? Time to Find Investors!

More and more businesses are looking for investors to fund a global expansion. More and more investors are looking for businesses ready to go global. The business landscape is changing rapidly, and small businesses are expanding internationally right along with the big corporations. The internet can probably be named as the primary motivator for this trend because it made it so easy to communicate with people around the world. Orders can be placed with a click of the mouse. Governments recognized the opportunities this created and have created laws and regulations that promote global business.

Naturally, investors want a piece of the action. They are looking for companies that can successfully expand through globalization because the opportunities are unlimited. Of course, participating in international trade can be expensive so it’s not a decision made lightly. Yet there are so many advantages to expanding internationally that it makes sense.

What are those advantages? For one thing, a business can increase sales and thus profits which makes the company more attractive to investors. Other reasons include gaining greater market share, spreading risk by expanding market access, stabilizing seasonal sales cycles and establishing a foundation for unlimited growth. All of these reasons are exactly what can make a business attractive to investors.

Of course, expanding globally takes money. There are import and export fees, expanded production costs, higher shipping costs and the expenses associated with new promotions like marketing and travel. Investors will balance the higher costs to the expected increase in revenues and profits before making a decision. Investors will also weigh the risks associated with the global expansion. This balancing act though is one that the business should have already mastered in the business plan.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Think Twice Before Choosing Crowdfunding When Looking for an Investor

Finding investors often consumes the attention of small business owners. Money is always an issue when businesses are ready to expand. Given the proven power of networking and the power of the internet, it should not be surprising that a new form of equity funding has been developed. Crowdfunding is the new investor kid on the block, and it’s generating a lot of excitement because it seems to cut out the middleman, so to speak.

Crowdfunding was approved by the JOBS Act in April 2012 and allows small business enterprises and startups to directly solicit investors for equity investments. It sounds great at first glance, but for many companies it would be more strategically advantageous to go through a professional fund locator company rather than try to raise equity funding on their own. The details of crowdfunding are still being worked out, but there are already indications that small businesses are viewing this as ‘easy money’. That’s far from the truth.

Crowdfunding will still require the business to prepare a business plan that proves the investment is wise. Crowdfunding involves investors pooling their money. Businesses can then solicit as a maximum $1 million investment. However, each investor will get equity ownership in the business. If the business expands in the future and needs a larger capital amount, success may be hampered by the fact the company now has dozens or hundreds of equity owners. Venture capitalists may not be anxious to get involved in that kind of arrangement.

The best plan is to consult with a professional experienced in raising capital for businesses. Understanding all the ins and outs of new sources of funding is critical before deciding to jump in.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

The Right Investors for the Right Business

Finding the right investors for small businesses is often top of the list for entrepreneurs. It’s tempting to cast a wide net and see who shows any interest. That may work sometimes, but it often leads to a lot of wasted time and possibly loss of some control over your business – a loss that was not intended.  It’s much wiser to go after the right type of funding and maintain control over the process. There are so many different kinds of investors that you can target, and you want to attract the ones that fit your strategic goals to save time, effort and money.

Investors all have one thing in common – they want to get a decent return on their investment. However, they have different requirements concerning collateral, equity ownership, business control and investment payback time. Each of these issues must be carefully evaluated from the business and the potential investor’s perspectives. For example, venture capitalists may want to share control of the business depending on the circumstances. If you don’t want to give up control, it would be wiser to attract angel investors or apply for a business loan.

Small businesses need to exercise the same type of caution with investors as the large corporations do. Matching the right investor to the right investment is a formula for success. However, it never pays to get too excited about accepting funding from investors unless you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of that particular type of investment. The reason there are so many types of investors is because there are so many different types of business needs.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Social Responsibility and Investors

The relationship of corporate social responsibility and investors was studied by Ioannis Ioannou of the London Business School and George Serafeim of the Harvard Business School. The 2010 study was titled, The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations. As the title suggests, the social responsibility strategies were analyzed from the perspective of their influence on security analyst decisions concerning investing in companies.

The results were clear. The value of socially responsible strategies has risen in the minds of investors. The study also reported that firms seen as socially responsible are viewed more favorably by analysts and the more visibility the better. Social responsibility is value creating.

We tend to think of large corporations as being the only firms that need to be concerned about social responsibility. Unfortunately, many also view social responsibility with a bit of cynicism, believing that it’s a ploy to sell products and services. However, if that were true businesses would only do or spend just enough to attract investors and never go beyond the minimum. Yet even small businesses are found in the community as their employees volunteer time and money to local nonprofit efforts in a variety of areas. They help clean up the environment, raise money for hospitals and special causes and sponsor programs in childhood education and adult job training, to name just a few activities.

Social responsibility is a broad concept that addresses ethical business behavior and sensitivity to community issues. Those issues include economic, social and environmental aspects. All companies can increase their value by addressing the needs of its community stakeholders and by following ethical business practices. When businesses increase value, it’s easier to attract investors. Social responsibility is a win-win proposition.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Convincing Investors Your Business Idea is Really Worth the Risk

How do you convince investors your business idea is worth the risk of investing money? You may have the most innovative and creative idea ever put forth, but that doesn’t mean anyone is going to invest in it. Even a good idea can flop if it’s not implemented correctly. Of course, the most well known example in business history is the 1958 Edsel. The car had a poor name, a poor pricing strategy and was manufactured during a recession. It remains to be seen if the modern day Chevy volt will be classified as the “new” Edsel for similar reasons.

Investors are willing to accept risk, but they will do everything in their power to ensure they understand how much risk is involved. Investors are not the same as business speculators in most cases because they want a value proposition that includes a very good probability of earning positive returns. There are many different factors investors will consider to determine risk, and you should assess them first.

Risk is a function of management competencies, available collateral, market acceptance of the business idea and time. To convince investors your business idea is worth the risk of funding, you will have to first prove that the people implementing the plan are fully competent and capable of running a business.  Investors will also want reliable collateral. You need to show that the product or services can be efficiently brought to a willing market. Finally, the investor will want to assurances that the payback agreement in terms of time will be met. Payback in terms of money is taken care of by the other factors of competency, market success and collateral.

You can convince investors to fund your projects by developing a sophisticated business plan that clearly and carefully shows the level of risk the investor is assuming. The good news is that the time spent developing a business plan in the first place reduces risk right away.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Crowdfunding Facilitated with New Legislation

Smaller investors can now be solicited via the internet to pool resources in a practice called crowdfunding. The recently passed Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS Act) sent to President Obama for signing is designed to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital. The main foundation of the legislation rests in giving businesses the ability to raise a limited amount of seed money or growth capital by encouraging investors to visit an SEC registered website where projects are listed.

The SEC registered websites will be used by entrepreneurs to list their businesses and present their funding needs. To drive potential investors to the website, the business will notify family, friends, customers and other individual investors that the business is listed by using social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and other internet based communication systems. The potential investors can visit the website, read about the business idea and then operate as a community to analyze and pick apart the business idea, investment opportunity, business model and so on. Once the business idea is accepted, investment money is sent by individual investors, accumulated and eventually transferred once the funding target is met. There are a number of other requirements, rules and limitations associated with this legislation, and this is only a brief summary of the law.

Legislating crowdfunding is considered by many to be an important step towards making it easier for people to become investors in small businesses. With tight capital markets, this new form of business funding can become an important source of money for startups and small businesses having difficulty accessing traditional funding sources. Professionals who connect businesses with investors can provide more information about the new legislation, and other sources of funding, and provide critical assistance with developing a successful business plan that attracts funding.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.