Startup Game Changers: What to Focus On in Your Startup’s Early Days

Our Startup Game Changers panel in New York sparked such great discussion and good advice that I thought I’d share some of the highlights here. Frank Rimalovski, Executive Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, moderated. On the panel were: Lucas Nelson, Principal at Gotham Ventures; Steve Davis, Partner at Goodwin Procter; John Pennett, Partner at Eisner Amper; Josh Reinhold, Regional Sales Consultant for TriNet; Kate Shillo, Director at Galvanize Ventures; and EGFS CEO David Ehrenberg. Discussion kicked off with what to focus on in the early days of your startup when so many things need attention. Panelists advised founders to concentrate on communication, equity, and creating first, with Steve Davis pointing out that it’s also critically important to “document stuff.” What kind of stuff? Put your co-founder agreement, including what happens when one of you leaves, in writing. You should also set up your accounting, HR, and legal support systems …
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Why You Need To Get Serious About Your Startup Debt Collection Efforts

Bottom line is that you’re in business to make money. If your customers aren’t paying you, that’s a serious cash flow problem. If they’re slow to pay, that’s a problem as well. While late invoices are fairly common for many businesses, that doesn’t mean you can’t fight it. The key is process. There are a few steps you can take to improve your collection process to expedite payments and maintain control over your cash flow. Here are 9 ways you can improve your cash collections and proactively manage the financial health of your company: 1. Establish process. Your accounts receivable are your company assets. You need to choose the best process for managing your company’s accounts receivable, but whatever method you choose, be sure that you: create a record of all sales and receipts, have a system in place for generating invoices on an ongoing basis, and keep close track …
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Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS) Earns #13 Spot in Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Fast Private Award for 2014

Originally published on PRWeb. Outsourced financial services firm ranked in top 50 of fastest growing private companies in Silicon Valley. San Jose, CA (PRWEB) October 27, 2014 Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS), an outsourced financial services firm that provides accounting, CFO, strategic finance, tax, and valuation services and support to small to mid-sized businesses nationwide, has been ranked #13 on Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Private Companies Award for 2014. As Silicon Valley Business Journal notes, in Silicon Valley, “it takes explosive growth to get noticed.” This year, the cut-off to make the top 50 list of fastest growing private companies was 35% growth over a three-year span. In total, the 50 companies ranked boasted $2.9 billion in revenue for 2013, and company growth for 2012 to 2013 came in at 62.69%. EGFS achieved 233.94% growth to earn their spot among a wide variety of businesses headquartered in Silicon …
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Startup Fundraising Trends: Ask the VCs

In case you missed our recent webinar, we featured panelists Lucas Nelson, Principal, Gotham VC; Marlon Nichols, Director, Intel Capital; Alan Wink, Director of Capital Markets for EisnerAmper LLP; and Sirk Roh, COO for Early Growth Financial Services. Not only was the conversation lively, there was even a bit of a West Coast versus East Coast smackdown. Keep reading for great insight and funding advice, view the Current VC Trends and Insights deck on SlideShare, or stay tuned to see the upcoming YouTube video on our YouTube channel. The funding landscape: 2013’s fourth quarter saw $13B invested in 1,000 deals. This was the largest quarterly investment total since 2001’s first half. The trend continued in 2014: with activity during the six months through June the strongest since the comparable period of 2001. Median pre-money valuations have increased by 43% so far in 2014 compared to 2013. But the number of …
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Writing Content People Will Share, The Basics

Guest post contributed by Marta Segal Block, Editor of GrouponWorks. It’s not news anymore, writing great content can bring people to your site, increase your brand recognition, and grow your sales. But great content alone isn’t enough, you also have to write great content that readers want to share. There’s a lot of research out there about algorithms, what content gets shared the most, and what goes viral. Here are some basic steps anyone wanting to create content should take. Make sure that you are set up to share your content. Pay attention to your social media accounts and make sure you are sharing the content of others and building relationships. Make sure your website is designed in such a way that the content is easy to find and read from a variety of platforms. Think about and research what content is being shared in your field, and how. Are …
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What New Revenue Recognition Rules Mean For Your Startup

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been working on updating its rules for revenue recognition since 2002. This year, it announced new guidance created jointly with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The changes are slated to go into effect in 2017 for public companies and in 2018 for private ones. The new rules are designed to improve comparability of statements across companies, industries, and countries; increase disclosure and reporting quality; tamp down on fraud; and help investors to better gauge performance. They cover everything from when revenue is recognized, to the amount of required disclosures, to the degree of discretion in the use of estimates. They’ll have wide impact, especially for technology companies. What does this mean for your business? First, the changes will affect GAAP filers only. I covered the importance of GAAP accounting in an earlier post, but basically, accrual accounting is the most consistent, widely …
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9 Things You Should Do To Grow Your Customer Base

This post was originally published in Inc. Acquiring new customers is a permanent fixture of your sales process. But how do you develop new strategies to earn new business? The Young Entrepreneur Council asked nine successful founders to name some unusual, or at least lesser-known, effective customer acquisition strategies they’ve used recently. Their best answers are below. 1. Visit Popular Conferences If you are a seed, or even a funded start-up, you may not have the resources to attend some of the big-name conferences (which can cost up to of tens of thousands of dollars). Instead, stand outside of the conference venues—dressed appropriately—and meet the attendees while they are on lunch break. This is an effective strategy that’s worked for us on numerous occasions. —Sunil Rajaraman, Scripted.com 2. Investing in Old-Fashioned Relationship-Building While everyone is busy looking for the next viral campaign, we find old-fashioned relationship-building still trumps all other …
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Funding More Minority Entrepreneurs: The Next Ice Bucket Challenge?

There’s been a lot of focus lately on the lack of gender diversity in tech, and the specific hurdles female entrepreneurs face. I’m thinking about a different diversity challenge though, namely the funding gap facing entrepreneurs of color. What drives it, and how can we in the startup ecosystem move the needle? Minority Entrepreneur Stats Maybe it’s an occupational hazard, but I always like to start with the numbers! According to a study from CB Insights, minority entrepreneurs received only 1% of VC funding in 2010. This figure excludes Asians, who received 12% that year. A different study, this one from the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture research, cited a meager figure for angel funding, with only 14.7% of minority entrepreneurs receiving angel funding in 2013 versus a nearly 21.6% funding rate for all businesses seeking funding that year. Why is this the case and what can we …
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Marketing to Your Core Users is Key to Getting Traction

This guest post by John Petersen, originally appeared on Firehawk Creative. I often tell people before we begin working with them that we do the easy part. Sure, writing code and building a functioning app is a skill that most people don’t possess, but it’s what comes after development that almost everyone underestimates. The ability to attract your core group of power users is going to define your early success. Most startups fail miserably with this. Here are the 3 best techniques I’ve ever used to attract early adopters. Best Buyer Strategy What it is: The first thing you need to do is figure out who your core user is going to be and how to market to them. Often times, entrepreneurs think that they can just put their app out there and their users will magically find it. This isn’t fairy tale land. You have to do everything in …
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4 Things Every Founder Should Know About Convertible Equity

Lately I‘ve been getting more and more questions about convertible equity: “What is it?” and “Should I use it?” So I figured now’s the right time to answer a few questions and fill in some blanks. In short, convertible equity is a form of financing that gives investors the right to preferred stock once a triggering event occurs. So what’s that mean? First some background… Convertible debt Convertible debt is a common feature of startup seed rounds, used in more than ⅔ of all financings. Issuance takes the form of a short-term note that converts to equity (usually at a discount of 15-20%) at a later date, typically when a startup raises a minimum specified amount of Series A financing. Convertible notes may or may not include a cap on valuation (we see ceilings of $3M-6M in seed stage deals) that ensures early investors participate in any upside and are …
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