Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Beware the pitfalls of Silicon Valley

Beware the pitfalls of Silicon Valley | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

A recent article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung titled “Will Facebook Enslave Us?” captures a sentiment prevalent among companies around the world: admiration for Silicon Valley — albeit, with a dash of fear.

International media outlets eagerly cover disruption developing in labs up and down the San Francisco peninsula. Boards of directors are spending hours debating how to react to the next wave from Silicon Valley. Today’s common conclusion is an old one: If you can’t beat them, join them. But for many, that is easier said than done.

The obstacles to joining forces

Many global business leaders want to experience Silicon Valley firsthand to understand what makes this hotbed of technology so unique, to uncover its secret recipe and to tap into potential collaboration opportunities. Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How to find your way in #SiliconValley and find the right way to cooperate. 

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Dear Startups:  Here’s How to Stay Alive

Dear Startups:  Here’s How to Stay Alive | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Dear Startups: Here’s How to Stay Alive

There are storm clouds gathering over Silicon Valley – and it’s more than just El Nino. As a venture capitalist, I see a lot of data points within the private company marketplace.  Every Monday, I sit in a room with my partners and we discuss dozens of companies, both portfolio companies as well as those we are considering for investment.  When a market turns, we tend to see the signs earlier than the entrepreneurs working on the front lines.

This market?  I’d say it has turned.

It is going to be hard (or impossible) for many of today’s startups to raise funds.  And I think it will get worse before it gets better.  But, hey, my entrepreneurial friend, who ever said it was going to be easy?  One of my favorite expressions is: “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

So which is it going to be for you?  Tougher?  Or dead. Read more: click image or title.



Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Another great article on how to make it through this pullback on #startup #funding. This is more in depth and complete. Very good advice.

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9 Top Venture Capitalists Share Their Best Advice for Entrepreneurs

9 Top Venture Capitalists Share Their Best Advice for Entrepreneurs | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
When it comes to fundraising, it's a good idea to listen to the men and women doling out the dollars.

Pitching venture capitalists can be a fraught enterprise, particularly for entrepreneurs who have never done it before. With that in mind, we’ve asked leading venture capitalists at firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and GE Ventures to share their best advice for startup founders seeking capital.

From specific tips on hiring to more general strategies on maintaining focus, this is your shot to learn from the pros. Read more: click image or title.



Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Marc Kneepkens's insight:
When it comes to fundraising, it's a good idea to listen to the men and women doling out the dollars. Isn't that the truth!
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How Working With The Venture Capital Firms Can Help Your Startup Earn Huge Profits?

How Working With The Venture Capital Firms Can Help Your Startup Earn Huge Profits? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Venture capital is the money invested to support small, unproven or newly started businesses which are typically not bankable but have a bright future. To be true, venture capital is not meant for all and the fund is too hard to raise. So, it is advisable to be realistic in your approach to the various startup funding methods, especially if it is venture capital. If you are looking for the venture capital firms to invest in your startup, you better be ready with all the essential requirements.

The venture capital firms prefer to invest only in those startups that can return their investments not just with the interest but also with huge profits. Also, if you are highly concerned about your control over the company, it is better to look for a source other than venture capital as the investors will be actively involved in the critical matters of the company so as to ensure that the company is moving in the right direction to gain huge profits.


If everything falls in place, i.e., you have a viable business plan, a great management team, a strong network and someone who can introduce you to the venture capital firms, you cannot even imagine how efficiently your business is going to run under the guidance of these venture capitalists. Read more: click image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com


Via Merger Alpha
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Venture capital is not your average #funding. You need a highly scaleable product or service with a huge #potential. And you need to be introduced. You don't just walk in like in your local bank.

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Planning Is How You Survive These 5 Common Startup Killers

Planning Is How You Survive These 5 Common Startup Killers | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Startups are launched with boundless optimism but only succeed through unsentimental realism.

By definition, every startup is predictably unpredictable, since new solutions have no proven track record, startups are usually building a new market, and the world around them is changing faster than ever. Yet, as an advisor to startups, I see some common disasters, and recommend some anticipation and recovery moves that can save every entrepreneur some painful time and money.

Five major elements of every business include your people, product, opportunity, money and marketing. While every entrepreneur needs to remain upbeat and optimistic on all of these, it is also smart to anticipate the worst case scenarios that are possible with each. Prepare ahead of time to prevent or head them off quickly, before it is too late, as events unfold:  Read more: click image or title.



Discover how to raise capital on your terms, by legally soliciting and selling securities to angel investors in the United States.

Check out…    http://bit.ly/1Lr9RrI


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

These five reasons are very real. Prepare yourself. The funding issue: take control of it from the start, take a look here:

http://www.business-funding-insider.com/FinancialArchitect.html


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How to improve your medical device startup's funding chances

How to improve your medical device startup's funding chances | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Tips & best practices you can use to improve your medical device startup's funding chances by showing tangible progress.

Product development of any kind is challenging and full of unknowns, obstacles and pivots.

Medical device product development is certainly no different.

With med devices, when you throw in regulatory bodies, such as FDA and others internationally, it only complicates matters further.

However, when you ask entrepreneurs and startups in the medical device industry to define their single biggest challenge, their response is overwhelmingly clear:

Money.

Which kind of stinks. Especially for all those that have a fantastic idea for a medical technology that could improve the quality of life.

Seldom is having a good idea enough to secure the funding necessary to bring a new device to market. Unless you have quite the track record.

So what do you do? I mean everything during the medical device product development process requires funding. Right?

For the most part, yes. And there are things you can do to increase your chances of funding by reducing the business risk and starting to bring your idea to practice. To read more click on image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Medical device development and marketing is different. This article brings some clarity on increasing your chances to get funded.

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Startup Advising Is Broken — Here’s What We’re Doing to Fix It

Startup Advising Is Broken — Here’s What We’re Doing to Fix It | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Every startup founder wants to find and collaborate with the right advisors in hopes of solving their most pressing problems. Despite everyone’s best intentions, the more advising relationships we see across our 250+ companies and beyond, the more convinced we are that the traditional advisory model is broken for both founders and advisors.

Founders have trouble getting tangible value from advisors given these relationships are typically 2+ years in length and often exist around no more than a handful of coffee meetings. A vast majority of startups have 5 to 10 general advisors who take equity and end up as nothing more than names on a slide deck. There aren’t specific deliverables or standardized ways to work together. No one knows what fair economics look like.

And it’s not any better for advisors. We often hear that “It’s too hard to find the right entrepreneurs to work with,” or “It’s too much of a time commitment.” “It’s unclear what role I should play,” or “It’s awkward to negotiate pay or equity.”

In most cases, it ends up being expensive, wasteful, and frustrating for everyone involved. Read more: click image or title.


Need funding?

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Advisors are great, but working with them comes with its own set of problems. First Round is offering some solutions by way of an experiment.

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Survive the Leap to Hyper-Growth with This Advice from Steve Blank - First Round Review

http://snip.ly/0fEt


Most startups die right before they enter hyper-growth. Steve Blank shares his perspectives on how companies can cross the chasm.

This article is by Steve Blank, entrepreneur, author and one of the founders of the Lean Startup movement.

Recently, I got a call from Patrick, an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He's now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles at startups), but he wanted to talk about his third startup —the one he and two other co-founders had most recently started.

“We’re at 70 people, and we’ll do $40 million in revenue this year and should get to cash flow breakeven this quarter,” he said. It sounded like he was living the dream. I was trying to figure out why we were meeting. But then he told me all about the tough decisions, the pivots and firing his best friend, which he had to do to get to where he was. In short, he had been through heck and back.

“I made it this far,” he said. "My board bet on me to take it to scale. I’m going to double my headcount in the next 3 quarters. The problem is where’s the playbook? There were plenty of books for what to do as a startup, and lots of advice for what to do if I was running a large public company, but there’s nothing that describes how to deal with the issues of growing a company. I feel like I’m just driving without a roadmap. What should I be reading or doing?”

I explained to Patrick that startups go through a series of steps before they become a large company, and that he was smack in the middle of two big ones. Read more: http://snip.ly/0fEt



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

After dealing with the hurdles of birthing a startup comes the real deal: building a great company, dealing with growth, HR, corporate structures, etc. This article gives some sources of information and ideas on how to move to the next phase.

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Paul Graham's Startup Survival Rules 

Paul Graham's Startup Survival Rules  | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Based on Y Combinator's cofounder Paul Graham's "Startups in 13 Sentences" we shared startup survival tips for startups

When things get difficult, sometimes you have to whip out the old survival guide to make sure your startup gets through a challenging phase in your business. That’s why we are sharing this guide with entrepreneurs, based on Y Combinator’s cofounder Paul Graham‘s “Startups in 13 Sentences“.  He shared 13 tips you every entrepreneur should live by:

Pick Good Cofounders

Sometimes the problem lives within. Finding a good cofounder is not always easy, and just like finding a partner in love, finding the right business partner takes time. Graham says that, “the success of a startup is almost always a function of its founders,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Launch Fast

You don’t really know what your customers want until you launch. Launch before you get used to not being useful.

Let Your Idea Evolve

Many successful startups changed their ideas fundamentally. Pivoting is part of your startup growth, and sometimes you just have to let that initial idea go.

Click image or title to read more...


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels


Via StartupYard
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Live by simple rules, Paul Graham understands that.

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Biggest Mistake Startups Should Avoid - Business Insider

Biggest Mistake Startups Should Avoid - Business Insider | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
http://snip.ly/fhWZ

Paul Graham says talking to corporate development before you're ready to sell your company can be a big mistake, and founders do it all the time.

If there's anyone you should trust when it comes to advice on how to build a startup, it's Paul Graham.

He co-founded the renowned Y Combinator startup school that produced successes such as Dropbox and Airbnb, and he has a piece of advice regarding a common mistake among startups.

According to Graham, too many startup founders spend time talking to corporate development executives from larger companies.

That's the department you'll usually hear from if someone is interested in buying your startup.

This is a bad thing, Graham wrote in a recent essay on his website, because many founders talk to corporate development at the wrong time.

You should only talk to corporate development if you're ready to sell your company right now and believe you're going to get a sufficiently high offer, Graham writes.

So, this means you should only engage in these discussions if your startup is doing really poorly or really well, since you'd either have nothing to lose or know that the offer would have to be high.

Graham writes that too many founders talk to corporate development when their company is in that middle stage. This is bad, according to Graham, because it poses a distraction to the founder. Here's what he wrote:

Distractions are the thing you can least afford in a startup. And conversations with corp dev are the worst sort of distraction, because as well as consuming your attention they undermine your morale.

To be clear, Graham isn't saying you should never sell your company — he's just saying you should have a clear idea of whether or not you'd want to sell and avoid being manipulated. More here: http://snip.ly/fhWZ




Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

"Growthink took our ideas and put them into a business plan that fit with our objectives. They also gave us ideas on how to better our strategies and streamline our procedures."
Holly Follows
CEO
Bella Tierra Properties & Investments


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Graham's wise words always ring through.

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7 Venture Capitalists Predict What Will Happen In 2015

7 Venture Capitalists Predict What Will Happen In 2015 | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

From cloud wars to the certainty that there will be hacks, venture capitalists believe that 2015 will be a year of tumult and (in public markets anyway) triumph for the startup world.

Here are the visions that the general partners, managing directors and partners from firms such as NEA, IVP, Cue Ball Group,General Catalyst Partners and MDV have when they gaze into their crystal balls.

Together these firms have more than $22 billion under management, so they’re not only seeing the future, they’re often shaping it.

Click on title or image to read more.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels


Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent predictions of some VC insiders in the tech world. Definitely shows what lives there!

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Chris Shern's curator insight, January 2, 2015 11:46 AM

Unbundling of legacy software, wearables not quite there yet, an empowered workforce segment thriving on independent and flexible work are but a few of the predictions that will make 2015 a year filled with opportunities for tech start-ups, innovation and entrepreneurs

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Why I Look for Obsessive and Competitive Founders

Why I Look for Obsessive and Competitive Founders | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
  Obsession. The drive to succeed at all costs. When second place isn't good enough because we live in winner-take-most markets. The desire to be better

This blog started from a series of conversations I found myself having over and over again with founders and eventually decided I should just start writing them.It would often make my colleagues laugh because they’d hear me like a broken record and then the next week read my ramblings in a post.

Last week’s obsession was about obsession itself.

10 days ago I saw the film, Whiplash, which is one of my favorite films of the year. I would be shocked if it doesn’t win at least one Oscar. I won’t have any spoiler alerts here, don’t worry.

The protagonist in the film, Andrew, is a drummer and the story is his experiences in his freshman year of one of the most elite music conservatories in the country. He wants to compete to be the lead drummer in the competitive ensemble and study under Terence, an obsessive instructor who is hell bent on winning competitions for the school.

I absolutely loved the film. I loved the music. I loved the intensity. I loved the drive to succeed, to compete and to be one’s best. As you can imagine – all great films have conflict and the tension is this – what is an acceptable level of obsession to put into success, whether instructor or student?

The rest you should see for yourself.

But the film has my brain buzzing all week about obsessive and competitive people. Think about Kobe Bryant. Kobe is famous for waking up crazy early every morning and practicing for longer and harder than nearly anybody else in the NBA. Kobe isn’t Kobe just because he was born naturally tall and athletic – although that is a sine qua non.

Kobe is kobe because he practices more than even the most elite professionals in a hyper competitive industry and because he is simply more dedicated to his success than many other people are.

In our society we revere athletes. We revere musicians. We glorify their successes and we marvel at their achievements.

Yet somehow many people think that startups intended to operate at massive, Internet scale can be casual affairs. I see founders who think they can be at every conference, advise multiple companies, do side investments in angel deals, leave the office at 6pm and have a balance life. I don’t believe it’s possible to compete at Internet scale and have balance.

I’m not making a qualitative statement that I believe obsession in startups is necessarily a good thing. In fact, I have written about the negative health consequences and sometimes mental consequences of doing so.

But I would make the observation that if you stumble on to a really important idea that has the potential to be really valuable know that others will enter into the market precisely because markets are competitive and a lot of money and prestige is at stake. In fact, think about it. Even MORE money is at stake than what Kobe or even the best rock bands in the world can make by being at the top of their game. Zuckerberg. Larry / Sergey. The founders of DropBox, Airbnb, Uber – you name it.

So if you’re going to raise venture capital and compete in large, growing, winner-take-most markets you had better be prepared for other people to want to knock you off your stool, steal your limelight, grab your customers and muck you up.

I don’t know Mark Zuckerberg. But I’m willing to bet (and certainly from the profiles I’ve read) that he was pretty obsessive and all in at Facebook for many years (if not still) to drive their success. It isn’t as if there weren’t other people trying to dethrone Facebook all along.

I write all this because I am constantly asked “what I am looking for when I make an investment” and the most honest answer I can give is that I’m looking for maniacally driven individuals who are obsessive in their pursuit of an idea and who are so competitive and driven that they can’t accept failure.

I know it sounds cliché.

But I would ask you this. If it takes compulsive individuals to be at the absolute peak in sports or music – why wouldn’t it take the same to create a disruptive product or service that can change an industry. It’s not a 9-to-5 job. It’s not for people with soft elbows or compressed egos.

I look for many things. I’ve even written about the Top 12 attributes of an entrepreneur here (each number is clickable).

But I’ve also got to be able to observe the inner Whiplash.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Creating a startup, or even simply your 'own' business, does not come easy. This blog from a world renowned entrepreneur illustrates that very well.

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How To Tell If You’re Burning Money Too Fast | TechCrunch

How To Tell If You’re Burning Money Too Fast  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Editor’s Note: Joe Floyd is a venture investor at Emergence Capital. Emergence focuses on enterprise cloud applications and has invested in market leaders including Yammer, Box, Veeva Systems and Salesforce. 

Questions about cash burn have blazed through Twitter like wildfire. Entrepreneurs are asking us: How do I know if I am burning money too fast? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for an entrepreneur on what level of burn is appropriate for their startup. However, every entrepreneur should consistently assess their runway and revise spending against their strategic goals.

I have designed this short quiz to help enterprise cloud startups analyze their spending levels. It’s critical to monitor your company’s burn rate so you can make those quick adjustments to increase your chances of success.

Select the answers below that best describe your company.

1. Market Dynamics: Does your market have network effects?

a) Each sale is independent. If we sell to one customer it does not impact the likelihood of sale to another customer.

b) Economies of scale are important in our market and we believe that only three or four solutions will achieve scale. Early movers have a small advantage.

c) Every new customer increases the value of our product and becomes a source of new potential customers. Early movers have a major advantage.

2. Competitive Intensity: Who are your major competitors?

a) We are in a dogfight with a number of well-funded startups and large incumbents. Our sales team consistently sees competition for new customers, and we win as often as we lose.

b) We are competing with one or two large, entrenched companies. Our sales organization sees competition more often than not, but we win most of the time.

c) We are carving up a green-field opportunity. We sometimes face competition for new business but it is usually from consultants or internal teams building custom solutions.

3. Customer Retention: What is our churn?

a) We estimate that we turnover 1 out of every 4 customers each year. We haven’t really started tracking churn yet, but I would guess that our net annual MRR churn is ~20 percent.

b) We track churn and we know we retain 85-90 percent of our customers annually. We have increased our average sales price by 10 percent over last year. We also have a customer success team that upsells our most engaged customers, so our net annual MRR churn is only 10 percent.

c) We track each cohort of customers on a monthly basis and our customer success team excels at deploying new customers quickly and getting them engaged. We have negative MRR churn, and each monthly cohort continues to grow over time.

4. Sales and Marketing Efficiency: What is the return on every dollar of sales and marketing spend?

a) We spend $1 – $1.5 in sales and marketing for every dollar of total bookings (new and renewal). We do not worry about gross margins because we know they will increase with scale. We collect some contracts monthly, quarterly and annually.

b) We achieve a 1:1 ratio of sales and marketing spend to new annual contract value (ACV) bookings. We analyze customer acquisition costs (CAC) by channel, and we tend to payback CAC with gross profit in 9 – 12 months. We try to get cash payment up front for annual contracts.

c) We consistently receive $2+ dollars of new ACV bookings for every dollar of sales and marketing spend. We optimize CAC by allocating marginal spend to the highest performing channels. Gross profit pays back CAC in less than 6 months consistently. Our customer success team is deploying signed contracts quickly, and we always collect cash up front for our contracts.

5. Fundraising Capability: Who is in your investor syndicate and how easily can you add new sources of capital if you need to fundraise quickly?

a) We have a group of angel investors or constrained institutional investors. It feels too early to pursue debt. We are heads down focused on sales and product right now and we will think about the next fundraising when we need to raise more money.

b) We have one institutional lead investor with dry powder, and we think we can secure a small debt facility. Our investor can introduce us to venture firms so we can start a fundraising process pretty quickly if we need to do that.

c) We have two or more institutional venture investors and we have a small debt facility with our bank that we can draw down if we need it. We keep a steady dialog going with investors that we would like to involve in future financings so we could start a process tomorrow if desired.

What’s your score?

Give yourself one point for each “A” answer, three points for each “B” answer, and five points for each “C” answer.

0-10 points: Pull the ripcord. You need to evaluate your spending immediately and consider pulling back drastically. You may be too early in a nascent market, and it would be wise to conserve capital until the market develops. You may be facing too many competitors which is forcing everyone to spend inefficiently. You may want to scale back sales and marketing while you pivot your product to find a more attractive competitive position. Lastly, you may not be able to raise additional equity if the current venture environment sours. You should look to secure a debt facility and reduce burn to give your team the longest possible runway to succeed.

11-18 points: Pump the brakes. You are not in trouble yet, but you should quickly assess your situation. If you are targeting a large enough market, then you may be justified in continuing to spend on sales and marketing even if you are not that capital efficient. However, you should drill down and figure out why you are not efficient.

Do you have a churn problem? Do you face too much competition? Do you have too many sales reps? Not enough good sales reps? Are you marketing in the right channels? Is your pricing right? Is your product truly solving a customer pain point? Once you understand the drivers of your current business, you can reduce spend in the areas that are not efficient.

For example, if you do not quite have product-market fit, then you can reduce sales. If you do not have sales functioning perfectly, you can reduce marketing spend. Lastly, you should consider raising a top up round to give yourself 18 months of runway while the venture fundraising window is open or securing a debt facility to give yourself an extra 6-9 months of cushion.

19-25 points: Burn baby burn. Your sales and marketing engine is firing on all cylinders and you have proven you know how to engage customers and keep them renewing. Now is the time to pour fuel on the fire to attack your market while there is little competition. The viral effects are strong enough to justify the investment now, and investors will reward you for your efficient growth. Remember to keep monitoring your SaaS metrics so you can adjust your spend if your business slows down. Lastly, you should consider raising additional growth equity early while the venture window is wide open and valuations are aggressive.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here is the response to the latest issue for startups: burn rate! This article includes a great survey.

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Why Every Startup Should Bootstrap

Why Every Startup Should Bootstrap | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Keep control of your company.

As the past few years have shown, raising money for a startup is easy. But building a profitable, sustainable business is still really hard. Public and private markets alike are starting to remember this, correcting for years of overly exuberant startup funding. As financing dries up, entrepreneurs would do well to remember the benefits of bootstrapping.

Though taking money from investors might seem like the path to success, bootstrapping has several advantages. First, it helps you to stay scrappy and to realize talents you may not know you even had. Second, and counterintuitively, it can help attract the right talent. And, finally, it helps you maintain control of your company while finding the right partners to help you scale. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

 


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Bootstrapping is a great learning experience. Find out from this successful #entrepreneur who eventually raised over a quater billion dollars.

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Surviving Whatever Comes Next - Mattermark

Surviving Whatever Comes Next - Mattermark | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Don’t want your company to die? Here’s what to do. The startup fundraising environment is in flux, and over the past two weeks the pace of change has accelerated rapidly. Throughout the ecosystem, blogging VCs and entrepreneurs alike are urging that it’s time to raise, even if you can’t get the valuation you hoped for. Others … Read more: click image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Startup #Funding is changing rapidly. Read this article to be better informed and find out what to do next.

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Important Financial Indicators for Startups at Every Stage of Growth | Mattermark

Important Financial Indicators for Startups at Every Stage of Growth | Mattermark | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Learning to read financial documents is one thing, but learning to use themas tools to guide the business and ultimately communicate clearly to 100+ investors has shown me just how nuanced our non-GAAP startup companies can be. In this post I’ll walk through the three phases of financial indicators in startups, and point out some common misunderstandings. I hope this will help founders and investors clarify what they mean when they talk about money, and I’ve used my company’s financials to give you real examples. Read more: click image or title.





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I have completed my business plan on the second day with your template.  And I had tried and failed for a year before."
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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here is some clarity regarding cash, #RunRate and #Revenue. Accountants have different ways of reporting. Double talk?


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More Funding Won’t Magically Fix Your Startup | TechCrunch

More Funding Won’t Magically Fix Your Startup | TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Some entrepreneurs think that (more) money will solve all their company’s problems.

Some entrepreneurs think that (more) money will solve all their company’s problems. It won’t. Like a teenager with a million dollar allowance and an identity crisis, a startup with too much capital and no product-market fit will become capable of making larger mistakes.

Biggie Smalls said it best: “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”

As an investor, I root for startups. It pains me to see great teams and ideas collapse under the pressure that sometimes follows fundraising. If you’ve raised money and you’re not sure what comes next, that’s fine – I don’t always know either. However, I do know four things you absolutely should not do: Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some pretty straightforward ideas here for #startups, accompanied with some beautiful image.s

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30 Women Who Have Revolutionized A Male-Dominated Industry | TechCrunch

30 Women Who Have Revolutionized A Male-Dominated Industry | TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The tech industry has a gender problem, but fortunately there are still women who have broken through the glass ceiling.

Some of them are CEO’s at household-name companies, others are up-and-coming stars with fresh, industry changing ideas.

Approximately 5 percent of America’s Fortune 500 Companies are led by women. Though this might seem small, it proves one thing: women are taking up the reins and leading their companies — something nearly unheard of until a few decades ago. The days of pure patriarchy are gone as women usher in a new age of female-run enterprises.

More importantly, women in the business world are helping others achieve their goals- a move that could improve the outlook for women in technology.

This piece is dedicated to the women who’ve served as the architects for modern technology, and to all the girls who will continue on with the legacy. Read more: click image or title.





VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM FUNDS START UPS
No matter what stage your company is in, if you’re in the market for $1,000,000 in short-term capital followed by an influx of a larger amount of equity capital APPLY HERE: http://bit.ly/1Lr9RrI


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Women have made it to the top, some of them are not very well known, others are in the limelight. Great list.

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The Lessons I Learned Growing A Startup From Scratch To A $5B Valuation

The Lessons I Learned Growing A Startup From Scratch To A $5B Valuation | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Last week I caught up with Nishul Saperia, a member of the founding team at Markit. Markit grew from 5 staff to more than 3,500 in under a decade and was valued at more than $5bn shortly before listing on the Nasdaq in June 2014. Nishul spoke about his journey, why Markit was such a success, and the start-up projects he has backed since leaving the firm. Compulsive reading!

To read the whole story: click on image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a nice story, but the best part to learn from is on page 3, his final thoughts.

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Six Reasons Why VCs Reject Good Startups - Entrepreneur

Six Reasons Why VCs Reject Good Startups - Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
The factors that affects why venture capitalists often decline to work with startups.

In one sense, successful entrepreneurs seem to say “no” more than the average person. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, gave this advice to entrepreneurs on HuffPost Live: “The temptation all over the place... is to do more. The brutal reality of trade-offs is you cannot.” He urged entrepreneurs to “narrow their focus.” Entrepreneurs tend to have a vision and must avoid all distractions in order to achieve it. Someone who says “yes” to many things is probably saying “no” to more important things. In another sense, entrepreneurs often hear many “no’s” along the path to success. Young Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went on to build a creative media empire. Steve Jobs was fired from his own organization and returned to build Apple- turning it into one of the world’s most valuable companies. Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” These three visionaries have all probably looked back on their “no’s” and said something to the effect of “Suckas!” Despite your own familiarity with the word “no”, rejection still hurts. As a venture capitalist, I have to say “no” to a lot of good startups and founders. It’s just the nature of the game- a firm can only invest in so many companies. In order to prime your expectations, and hopefully lessen the blow, here are the six main reasons why venture capitalists often decline to work with good startups. Read more: click on title or image.




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"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes





Via ventureLAB
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The 6 most common reasons why VC's reject your startup.

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6 Timeless Strategies to Drive Entrepreneurship Success

6 Timeless Strategies to Drive Entrepreneurship Success | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/HbNQ

Adhere to these key principles to build a high-growth company amid changing circumstances.

In today’s ever changing business climate, an entrepreneur can easily become overwhelmed. It’s vital, though, to stay focused on your goals for the company.  

Even with a firm strategy in place, every entrepreneur should do these six things to clear a path to success:

http://snip.ly/HbNQ




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Growthink helped me with two business plans. I liked working with Anna Vitale because she was a professional yet personable and that gave me a sense of trust. Keep up the good work.”


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The ups and downs of working in a tech incubator

The ups and downs of working in a tech incubator | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Michael Rainsford discusses how his start-up company developed in a shared office space, and reveals the benefits and downsides of such a setup for an early-stage company. 

When my company StuRents.com went full-time back in June 2014 we were looking for the perfect environment in which to grow our semi-established start-up, and when we stumbled across the newly-established Google Campus near London’s Old Street, we also stumbled across the idea of the ‘tech incubator’ (essentially an office space housing tech start-ups). We liked it and we applied for a few desk spaces, which we were subsequently offered at a relatively cheap price.

It seemed like the perfect setup for us and six months later we graduated to a different incubator within the city. But those six months at Campus had been good for us. Growing in an incubator we found to definitely have its upsides.

Firstly, most incubators are cheap. Most tech incubators (as with any place providing facilities for start-ups) are likely to offer cheap rental rates. But compared with other venues offering facilities for fledgling businesses, Google Campus offered all inclusive rates, mentoring and access to the heart of Tech City. These fringe benefits are often, in the cases of incubators, the main benefits, when all you are actually using the building for is working – with no time or inclination for creature comforts.

Many incubators also seek to keep themselves at capacity by offering flexible workspace with pay-as-you-go style pricing. At Campus these spaces were remarkably cheap; arguably too cheap. Given the limited number of spaces available, for every developer on Flex membership paying a little over £100 per annum there were tens of eager entrepreneurs (who would have contributed much to the culture and atmosphere) waiting in line for a spare desk.

Read more: http://snip.ly/OOG4


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Sincerely,"
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Via Zonata
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Incubators and accelerators are great places to launch your startup. You learn, meet others, have mentors available, and get a ton of experience. If you get the chance, go for it. They are popping up everywhere, not just in the big cities.

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Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs

Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/5bsb

Are you too smart for your own good? Sometimes the slackers reign supreme.

One of the most counterintuitive traits that can hurt entrepreneurs is smarts. Yes, the more successful you are and the more talents you have, the harder it is to run a business.

While you may think that being smart, motivated and talented would logically make someone the best possible candidate for entrepreneurship, unfortunately, this is often not the case. Read more here: http://snip.ly/5bsb



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"The team at Growthink delivered exceptional quality service in every aspect of their client services. Their staff of professionals were extremely instrumental in fine tuning my creative vision into a well developed business plan."
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At Bread Boutique


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some people have certain qualities that are great for business, and indeed, it's not always related to being smart. There are many different kinds of intelligence.

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Here's What I Learned from Working with 50+ PR Firms

Here's What I Learned from Working with 50+ PR Firms | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
First Round is a seed-stage venture firm focused on building a vibrant community of technology entrepreneurs and companies.
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Ben Horowitz On Management - Business Insider

Ben Horowitz On Management - Business Insider | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The excerpt below is from the lecture "How To Manage," by Ben Horowitz, investor, entrepreneur, and co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. It appears in the online class "How To Start A Startup."
This text is annotated! Click on the highlights to read what others are saying. If you'd like to add your own insights, comments, or questions to specific parts of the lecture, visit the lecture page on Genius, highlight the relevant text, and click the button that pops up. Your annotation will appear both here and on Genius.

When Sam originally sent an email for me to do this course, he said "Ben can you teach a fifty minute course on management?" And I immediately thought to myself, "Wow, I just wrote a three hundred page book on management. So that book was entirely too long."

I didn't actually have time to collapse the three hundred pages into fifty minutes. Like Mark Twain, I didn't have time to write a good short letter, so I'm going to write a long letter. But in this case, I am going to teach exactly one management concept.

I see CEO's mess up this one management concept more consistently than anything else. From when they're very, very early to when they're very, very big as a company. It's the easiest thing to say and the most difficult to master. The concept in musical form is from Sly and the Family Stone. "Sometimes I'm right and I can be wrong. My beliefs are in my song. No difference what group I'm in."

That's the musical version of today's lesson. For those of you who are musical, you can leave now.

Read more: http://snip.ly/Degy



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