Fundraising 101 with EGFS Founder and CEO, David Ehrenberg

• Is it time for you to raise outside capital? • What are your best financing options? • How much should you raise? • What do you need to do to show investors you’re ready for their investment? In this presentation, David Ehrenberg, Founder and CEO of Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS), explores the facts—and fiction—of fundraising. You’ll learn about your fundraising options at every stage of development, the fundraising process, what investors want to see, crafting your financial models, your revenue projections, pitch deck essentials and more. If you’re in the process of trying to raise investment capital—or planning to go down that road—this is a “must see!” Takeaways include: – Your fundraising options at every stage of the development process – Milestone funding – What investors want to see – Crafting your financial projections – Expert pitching tips – Financial modeling – and more! Questions about fundraising? Let …
read more >

3 Signs Your Financial Projections Are Off

One question everyone asks is what investors look for when deciding whether or not to fund a startup. Having a high-caliber team with a good track record and a clear value proposition are givens. But the bottom line is that it comes down to the numbers. VCs are looking to make investments that pay off big. That means you need to develop credible financial projections that demonstrate the viability and future potential of your target market and clearly spell out how investing in your business will achieve their return targets. But it’s not a question of just throwing something together. You need to really dig into your numbers and develop enough fluency to articulate and support your underlying assumptions. Here are three signs you’re on the wrong track. Financial Projections: The Red Flags 1. Your numbers don’t add up — VCs are interested in funding companies with large potential markets…enough …
read more >

The Right New Hire Onboarding Process Can Help Drive Retention

This guest post was contributed by Justworks. The new hire onboarding experience is crucial for employee retention. This is the moment at which you can set someone up for success within your company. And hey, you probably just spent a good chunk of time and money to find this person in the first place and get them to take the job, so not onboarding them correctly would be a total waste. Onboarding is difficult for a new company because: a) current employees don’t normally feel like they have time to do it, and b) the people doing the onboarding have typically been at the company for a while and may be a bit unaware of what new hires know and don’t know. It’s easy to forget how confusing being new in a company can be; sometimes relevant details slip through the crack. The checklist below will help to make sure …
read more >

Five Reasons Raising Capital Is More Difficult than It Needs to Be

This guest post was contributed by BJ Lackland, CEO of Lighter Capital. Securing funding for your growing startup can be surprisingly difficult. With stiff competition for limited sources of financing, many entrepreneurs are left empty-handed, even if their metrics prove they have great potential. Here are five elements that unnecessarily complicate the fundraising process—and one missing element that’s too often left out. Pedigree Venture capitalists are courted daily by startups that look great on paper, so they make their first cut by focusing on people that have been vouched for. If you’re well-connected, you’ll have an easier time opening doors—and ultimately raising capital. Unless you have a personal connection with someone they can trust, VCs are hesitant to bet millions on the success of your startup. Pitch If you are lucky enough to get in front of an investor, 30 minutes is often all you’ll get. In that time, you’ll …
read more >

Founders’ Agreements: Why You Can’t Afford Not to Have One

One way to place both yourself and your startup business in a high-risk position is to wing it when it comes to formal agreements between you and your cofounder(s). I wrote a post last year on how to recover from a cofounder’s exit. This time I’d like to step back and focus on how to set things up correctly long before the relationship goes off the rails, your business strikes it rich, or you’re at odds over a major decision regarding the financial future of your business. Founders’ agreements are an absolutely necessary piece of startup infrastructure, helping provide the foundation for a successful business. They set expectations, help guide decision-making, mitigate risk, and reassure investors that they’re not stepping into a mess. Here’s what good founders’ agreements should cover: Responsibilities and Decision-making One way to minimize the opportunities for major conflict between founders is to clearly define roles and …
read more >

What Employers Need to Know About Health Care Coverage

    This guest post was contributed by Brandie Gasper, Associate at Locke Lord LLP. Starting a new business can be very stressful, and with any successful business comes the added stress of hiring and retaining employees. To attract good employees, employers generally need to offer health benefits. Employer-sponsored health care coverage is now so widespread that most employees have come to expect it. Employers that fail to offer coverage may have a difficult time attracting and retaining workers. Unfortunately, an employer’s offer of health care coverage comes replete with a myriad of regulations. While large and established businesses may have human resources personnel or in-house counsel who can help navigate these laws, new business owners need to take the time to gain a basic understanding of laws that concern health benefits. This article discusses the two primary laws that impact employer-sponsored health benefits — the Employee Retirement Income Security …
read more >

VC Fundraising: Real Advice From A Real VC

If you could have a VC’s undivided attention for fifteen minutes, what would you ask? Our Ask The VC webinar was an open forum with Sean Foote, Founder of Co=Creation=Capital. If you missed it, in addition to reading this rundown of the highlights, you can view the presentation deck on SlideShare. Understanding what VCs are looking for is top of mind for many founders seeking funding. The more you know about their investing mindset, the greater your chances of insuring you’re a match. How VCs Invest The central tension between buyers (VCs) and sellers (founders) is this: buyers believe their company’s value exceeds its price. Sellers meanwhile believe the converse. VCs are rational. They need to generate annual 30% gross returns just to be an average fund. That’s 5x in 5 years. The economics of investing: out of 10 portfolio companies, half will go bankrupt; four will break even. VCs …
read more >

How to Scale Your Company Culture

Originally published on ReadWrite. Startups are fast-paced, sometimes hectic places to work. In the early days, everyone wears multiple hats and is expected to lend a hand where needed, leading to close bonds between team members. But when a startup starts to become successful—and outgrows its all-hands-on-deck philosophy—the founder’s job is to make sure that the company can properly scale to cope with the new reality. It’s a good problem to have, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So we asked six successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share some of their growing pains and errors — along with their advice for others in the same (lucky) boat. 1. Implement A Consistent Recruiting Culture A big mistake is not implementing a culture adept at consistently recruiting talent for all jobs. One summer, we had to hire 20 teachers within two months. Our HR manager felt …
read more >

Choosing an Outsourced CFO: How to Find the Right Fit

In the early days of your startup you might be just fine handling your own basic bookkeeping and expense management or even outsourcing those tasks to a small firm or an individual. But you will reach the point where you both need and want more sophisticated help. Maybe you’re close to getting outside investors or maybe your revenues are growing faster than you projected (congratulations!) and you need to make sure you’re reporting them correctly. Once you’re at this point, you’ll want to put yourself in experienced hands. Hiring an outsourced CFO is one way to step up your game when it comes to your startup’s financial management, while keeping your cost structure flexible. But it matters a lot who you hire. Here are some suggestions to help you find the right fit: How to find an outsourced CFO Ask for referrals — Tap your network of service providers, fellow …
read more >

10 Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business

Monika Jansen of GrouponWorks contributed this guest post. Have you ever wished you knew which marketing efforts yield the biggest payoffs? That way you could better focus your limited resources on avenues most likely to deliver positive returns. Actually you can. A recent survey from Infusionsoft found the following marketing strategies to be the most effective: Word-of-mouth (62%) Email marketing (34%) Social media (23%) The least effective strategies were: Print ads (8%) Pay-per-click ads (8%) TV/radio ads (2%) Let’s look at good ways to use the most effective marketing strategies: Word-of-mouth marketing Encourage online reviews and testimonials. Then share all the positive remarks on social media, on your website as well as in your marketing emails and newsletters. Build relationships with influential bloggers and journalists. Influencers typically generate three times more word-of-mouth messages; and each message has four times more impact on a recipient’s purchasing decision. Highlight your customers. Encourage …
read more >