Showcase Diversity In Your Business

Some investors aren’t just interested in your business ideas. They also want to know that you embrace diversity. A business can have diverse employees or focus on supplier diversity, or encompass both in the business model. As globalization becomes standard practice for all businesses from the large corporation to the sole proprietor working at home, diversity of people and spend becomes more important.

Why do investors care? They care because the makeup of the population and the marketplace are changing. In the U.S. alone, the highest birth rates are among minorities and every state has increased in racial and ethnic diversity since the year 2000. However, the U.S. is just one segment of the total global marketplace, albeit the largest single entity. As businesses go online to find rapid business growth, they must attract a diverse customer base. It only makes sense that the business would add diversity to its internal operations in order to better compete.

When investors are considering funding a business, they want as much assurance as possible that the internal culture, systems and processes mesh well with the reality of the marketplace. An organization that is committed to diversity and has a definitive strategy for ensuring diversity becomes a reality is one that proves it fully understands the complexity of the global marketplace. In other words, diversity can be leveraged into enduring success, and that is what investors want to fund – a business that is on the path to lasting operational success.

Before approaching investors, it’s important to analyze the diversity of your organization. Awareness, alignment and sustainability of diversity in employees and suppliers are concepts that should be put into practice.

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Getting Down to the Details of Presenting a Business Plan

There’s plenty of information about writing business plans for investors, but what about the actual presentation? Like any job, there are details that must get attention or the big picture falls apart. During a business plan presentation, the audience is going to be considering the details of the presentation as well as the details of the plan itself.

Presentation details include things like the format, the length, the graphs and charts selected, the flow of the information presented, and the efficiency of the presentation itself. Giving investors a good impression of your organizational and presentational skills enhances the information in the business plan. Rambling or disorganized presentations can detract from the information being conveyed.

So what are these small details? The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) business school recommends that the business plan presentation should only be approximately 30 minutes long. That may surprise some people, but we live in a society where people expect information to be conveyed quickly. Another recommendation is to keep the information on each page, slide or Powerpoint chart easy to read which means not putting too much information on it. A single page of presentation should have a maximum of 6 bullet points.

The flow of the presentation is important also. It should begin with a very brief overview of the company with a focus on why the services or products are problem solving and thus compelling. The overview is followed by a definition of the market need, the solution your products or services offer, the specific benefits conveyed to the market through your products or services and a description of the market and customers. You will also need to describe your competitive advantage. In a few presentation pages, the marketing plan and financial projections are presented.

A mistake many entrepreneurs make is developing a presentation that is too long and tedious. Investors are savvy and will ask the questions they need to know right then. However, investors and their accounting and legal advisors will study the written plan closely at a later date before making a decision. During the presentation, your goal is to get the interest of the investors to the point where they want to know more. It’s not to stuff as much information as possible into an hour.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at 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.

Small Business Funding Is a Searing Hot Topic

Small business funding can’t be called just a hot topic because it’s far beyond hot…it’s searing hot. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports that SBA 7(a) loans have fallen dramatically in the last few years. In 2010 only 41% of all businesses were able to get financing from any source, and 16% of businesses didn’t get any credit at all.

You can’t help but wonder how businesses are staying in business when they can’t get credit. But who says they can’t get credit?  The fact is that many of those small businesses did get credit from sources like angel investors and equity partners and other sources of private lenders.  In other good news, there are probably just as many or more businesses that are eligible for private funding, but they are still pursuing traditional financing routes.

Perfect Conditions for Successful Funding

There is much inefficiency in the lending marketplace which is precisely why there is a thriving private funding marketplace. This marketplace was created because of the mismatch between the number of lenders and amount of capital available and the number of borrowers looking for business funding.  It works the other way too. There are borrowers trying to find investors with little success. In a free enterprise economy these are the perfect conditions for creating a thriving market that fills a void.

Small businesses generated 64% of the new jobs in the economy in the last 15 years according to the NFIB. You would think that traditional funders would make sure that small business has the capital needed for job creation, but instead it is estimated that trillions of dollars are sitting idle in banks and corporate accounts.

This is a perfect storm for private lending. If the big companies and banks won’t spend or lend, then it is up to the private business funding market.  The private capital market is lending more than ever before for various purposes. There are lenders willing to loan small businesses venture capital and startup funding for example. The private market is also lending in a variety of forms that include business loans, equity partners and angel investors.

Making Sense of Funding

If there is so much money available for business funding then why aren’t more small enterprises taking advantage of this capital availability? There are several reasons.

·    Don’t know how to find investors
·    Don’t know how to complete a lender worthy business plan
·    Don’t understand the variety of capital available in the private market
·    Entrepreneurs get discouraged after getting turned down in the traditional lending marketplace
·    Don’t want to pay expensive originating fees for business loans

It can be disconcerting to consider approaching equity partners or searching for venture capital without help. It can be just as intimidating to consider presenting a new idea that needs startup funding.  It can certainly be frustrating going from bank to bank feeling like a beggar.

Using a central point for finding private business funding makes sense. It is efficient because you don’t have to go from lender to lender, and it is cost effective. Most of all, it offers funding solutions for the very businesses and entrepreneurs that keep the economy growing.

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