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20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
From www.growhtink.com

20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, April 9, 2008

1. To prove that you’re serious about your business. A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties -- employees, investors, partners and yourself -- that you are committed to building the business.

2. To establish business milestones. The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you'd certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/


3. To better understand your competition. Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company's competitive advantages.

4. To better understand your customer. Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don't? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business.

5. To enunciate previously unstated assumptions.
The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously "hidden" assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity.

6. To assess the feasibility of your venture. How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/

7. To document your revenue model. How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model.

8. To determine your financial needs. Does your business need to raise capital? How much? The business plan creation process helps you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital.

9. To attract investors. A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors' questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company's exit strategy?

10. To reduce the risk of pursuing the wrong opportunity. The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities.

11. To force you to research and really know your market. What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/

12. To attract employees and a management team. To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals.

13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones.

14. To attract partners. Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.

15. To position your brand. Creating the business plan helps to define your company's role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners.

16. To judge the success of your business. A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).

17. To reposition your business to deal with changing conditions. For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.

18. To document your marketing plan. How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business.

19. To understand and forecast your company’s staffing needs. After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion.

20. To uncover new opportunities. Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business.

 

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/ 



About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink's business plan experts have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $2 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan? 

  • Speak with a professional business plan writer today.

  • Or, if you're creating your own PPM, you can save time and money with Growthink's new private placement memorandum template.

 

Dj Baker says

I find this a very simple, yet effective, breakdown of the reasons why a business plan is absolutely essential. From personal experience these 20 reasons our very much the truth. It is also very reassuring to know that there are trustworthy sites out there who do contain valuable information. Much appreciated, Dj
Posted at 5:24 pm
dan says

thanks for the news letter, we are in the air cooling business. using air conditioners. we supply LG units. our major challanges has for the last 6 months been reliable suppliers of LG products at a competitives price. we do not have enough money to qualify as dealers hence we depend on thers, when i read the 20 reasons , i reflected to find out why our clients buy from us , and why others do not. thank you.
Posted at 5:19 am
Sindi says

Thanks for this article. It is indeed a great eye opener for me. Didn't realise there's so much a business plan can reveal about any enterprise.
Posted at 1:49 pm
Mohammed Ajmal says

Thanks for the all this valuable info free of cost.
Posted at 11:22 am
manas says

hi all this site such a wonder full i would like to thanks to all of u those who operating this website
Posted at 1:53 am
Suzanne Muusers says

Just found this post. What a great list of reasons to write a business plan. I particularly like: 13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. All too often I meet entrepreneurs who have been running their business for years without a business plan, and their business shows it. Writing a business plan creates the INTENTIONS and structure for success. Thank you, Suzanne
Posted at 11:41 am
private placement memorandum says

Wow Its a awesome article.It was very interesting for me to read the blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon.
Posted at 5:10 am
moronica says

me too likey but too much muni. i very happy you write me.
Posted at 4:33 pm
moncler shop says

I'm preparing on opening a flavored coffee bar in San Diego and my company companion is heading to leave his work and operate the business, even though I ongoing to operate my day time job. Would it be much better for each of us to leave our careers in dive in mind first? Or mainly because I possess a company companion prepared to operate it entire time to remain at my present work and never arrive right up until the company is established?
Posted at 8:45 pm
Samantha says

I think if you are looking forward to have a business then you must have a very well structured plan otherwise your business might not bring any good to you. Sam from Calgary Listings
Posted at 2:35 pm
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A good plan is a must for everyone who is going to make some mark in the business. It should be implemented too. I'm currently finding out some herniated disc treatments and I think I'll get some help soon
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Samantha says

Sometimes I wonder how can someone start a business without a plan but there are people who actually do that but I'm sure their business doesn't last for long. The things that you mentioned above are absolutely necessary. Thanks - hemorrojder
Posted at 6:42 am
Samantha says

That is a great post! I missed few of the points that you have mentioned above but I'm going to be a little more watchful next time. Thanks! Samantha from Cat Health Tips
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I like the first 5 ones. This article is a good insight for people related to this field. video clips online
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Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent reasons for writing a Business Plan

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, July 21, 2013 11:07 AM

Check this "Review of Growthink's Business Plan Template":

 http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan-template.html



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html

Jose Gonzalez's curator insight, July 21, 2013 9:31 PM

Very true !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melissa Terrazola's curator insight, October 29, 2014 4:44 AM

This article is great. Business plan is a must to succeed

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Here's How Startups Actually Start Up

Here's How Startups Actually Start Up | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Explained in plain English

There’s a sucker born every day — or so they say. But the way startup fever has been spreading across the land, it almost feels more like there’s a Zuckerberg being born every day. And that feeling is real. According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 2015 has marked the first year startup activity has been on the rise since the Great Recession. In fact, it’s soaring — the numbers show we’re living through the biggest upswing in new companies, products, business deals, and jobs in the past twenty years.

That makes it sound like now is the perfect time to bring your million dollar idea to market — but how is that even done? Read more: click on image or title.



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A great down-to-earth outline of what it takes to #startup your own #venture.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, August 29, 1:23 PM

According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 2015 has marked the first year startup activity has been on the rise since the Great Recession. In fact, it’s soaring — the numbers show we’re living through the biggest upswing in new companies, products, business deals, and jobs in the past twenty years.  That makes it sound like now is the perfect time to bring your million dollar idea to market — but how is that even done?   -  1st off, begin by casting aside any fears that you can’t make a dent in the tech universe with little computer prowess.“We’re seeing more and more people enter the tech space because the definition of tech continues to grow,” says Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac, a global network of advisors helping entrepreneurs launch and grow companies. She’s seen everything from medical devices to mobile apps launch from Main Street as much as Silicon Valley, and that’s a trend many expect to continue.    1. Eying the competition:  It may not sound as exciting as a weekend-long hackathon or a giving a flashy presentation to a bunch of investors, but the reality is that most startups live and die based on early research. Scoping out the competition is vital to understanding where there’s an opportunity to make a move. This can involve everything from dissecting competing products to improve upon their designs or simply mapping out their locations to find a new way to reach underserved customers.   2. Finding and defining customers:  Markey says startup founders also conduct research by hitting the bricks and talking to would-be customers about their ideas. “A smart entrepreneur needs to figure out where their sweet spot in the marketplace is,” she says. “Who is that customer that’s going to use the product, pay the money, and maybe be the repeat user?  

3. Shoring up intellectual property:   Padlocking your product or service with an array of patents, trademarks, or copyrights can sound terribly dull, but the truth is it’s one of the most important steps to ensuring a budding company’s success. Without these protections, a competitor can swoop in and copy an idea without having to pay a dime for all the hard work done until this point.  And finally, startups are also wise to copyright their reproducible works. Whether it’s an paperback, and e-book, or even an image, if it can be duplicated, it should be protected. That may sound like a publishing industry problem rather than a startup issue, but as TechCrunch noted last year, it only took four hours for copyright law to crush one particular startup’s dreams.

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The 50 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Summer 2015 Demo Day 1

The 50 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Summer 2015 Demo Day 1 | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Hardware took the spotlight at today's Y Combinator Demo Day, reflecting a major shift of the accelerator beyond the cliche mobile app startup. Out of the 50 companies from the Summer 2015 batch that demoed on the record today, 20 featured hardware. What was formally the Demo Day lunchroom has become an expo hall for all manners of robots and gadgets. We explore this shift in our post “Y Combinator Gets Hardcore About Hardware”

Tomorrow, another 50 or so startups will present. Here are our picks for the “Top 9 Startups From Y Combinator Summer 2015 Demo Day 1” But for a full roundup, here’s a look at all 50 that strutted the stage today: Read more: click image or title.


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"I have been receiving "Growing Your Empire" newsletter for about a year, and I appreciate the advice that you have been sharing on entrepreneurship - I have leveraged the information you've provided many times.
I've written business plans before, yet your video on the "Ultimate Business Plan Template" was so enticing that I've ordered the template and will use it for my new venture to save time."
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Check the 'Ultimate Business Plan Template' presentation here. Watch Dave explain how it works.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The variety of ideas new startups come up with is stunning. Creativity keeps on changing how business works. This article about #YCombinator illustrates this unending stream of #disruptive and creative solutions.

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Find The Right Startup Idea - Foundr

Find The Right Startup Idea - Foundr | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Here's how to know if you have a great startup idea or not - Foundr

There are many steps that need to be taken in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Whether it’s learning how to keep a handle on your stress, or fear of failure, or even technical skills such as learning how to best utilize social media. Being an entrepreneur is a long and arduous journey.

And the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

For entrepreneurs, it’s all about creating change, and challenging the status quo. For entrepreneurs, that first step is coming up with that game-changing idea. And that’s where most of us get stuck.

At Foundr, we get hundreds of emails from loyal readers asking us the same thing, “How do I come up with the right startup idea?”

It’s a simple question, but it’s actually quite complex. Because not all ideas are the same.

Each idea is different whether it’s in size, shape, or scope, and great ideas strike us at different times. Sometimes they take years to form, other times they hit us when we least expect it. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. Having an idea is just the start, but how do you go from there? And is this idea good enough to succeed and build  successful startup with? Including several TED talks and a chart from Y Combinator showing what kind of startups are needed. HIghly recommended.

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BuildUp Fellows Program Aims To Nurture Underrepresented Founders In Tech

BuildUp Fellows Program Aims To Nurture Underrepresented Founders In Tech | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

There’s no shortage of tech accelerators and incubators, with the likes of Y Combinator, 500 Startups and TechStars. All three of them have addressed diversity in their own ways, but more could always be done.

Enter the BuildUp Fellows program, an intensive two-week accelerator designed to educate and mentor underrepresented founders, like women, veterans and minorities, in the tech industry. Entrepreneurs selected will get free desk space in downtown San Francisco, mentorship, meetings with investors and other industry experts.

BuildUp is the brainchild of Kristina Omari, Wayne Sutton and Christian Anderson (pictured above). Collectively, they make up a diverse, all-star team of serial entrepreneurs, mergers & acquisitions experts and investment bankers.

“Coming from an investment banking background, I have seen biases at work in regards to founders and funding,” Anderson told TechCrunch. “I want to bring to light investment opportunities of game changing, innovative products and experiences, which are created by ‘nontraditional’ founders.”

BuildUp is looking for startups that have strong potential in four key areas: global impact, innovation, design and growth. The program will run from Sept. 28 through Oct. 9, 2015. Startups can apply through August 31.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Underrepresented #founders in the tech industry, such as women, veterans or minorities in general, have a new #accelerator with a 2 week program.

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better: How A Big Round Can Hurt Your Startup

Bigger Isn’t Always Better: How A Big Round Can Hurt Your Startup | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

When you’re a struggling team eating away at your meager savings and trying to get your startup profitable, venture capital funding seems like the holy grail.

Raising money from investors gives you the resources to grow your team, buys you time to do things properly and gives you no small amount of credibility in the eyes of other entrepreneurs, prospective hires and even some clients — not to mention mom and dad thinking you’re now successful.

While all of this is true, there’s a pervasive belief in the industry that entrepreneurs should aim to raise as much money as possible, as often as possible. It might be true in some circumstances, but here are three reasons why raising as much money as possible is often not in the best interest of the entrepreneur or the company. Read more, click image or title.




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"Hey Dave!
I bought one of your business planning templates and have been receiving your emails and videos for a few months now…
I just wanted to say thanks for cranking out such amazing work!
You're doing an incredible job, and I know entrepreneurs everywhere are benefiting from it!
Please, keep it up! Wishing you all the best!"
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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Raising more and more money just for the sake of being able to do it is insane. This article points out how to go about this and figure out how much to raise.

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5 Personality Traits Investors Look for in Entrepreneurs

5 Personality Traits Investors Look for in Entrepreneurs | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Attaining capital means impressing seasoned financiers and convincing them that your business, more than any other, is worthy of their time and money.

Few companies get up and running without a bit of private capital giving them an extra boost, even in today’s era of free resources, digital communication and crowdfunding. Attaining that capital means impressing seasoned investors and convincing them that your business, more than any other, is worthy of their time and money.

Initially, you might think that all investors make their decisions based on the business plan -- the hard facts of the business and the trajectory for growth that will make or break the company. But there’s another set of factors just as important to most investors, and it’s all in your personality. They realize that an entrepreneur with the wrong personality can ruin the chances of a brilliant business on paper, much in the same way that an entrepreneur with a perfect personality can breathe life into a merely decent idea. Read more: click image or title.




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"The Growthink group was very easy to work with and took the time to understand our business and needs carefully.  I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the nuances of our business and were able to communicate our thoughts into an organized structure that has helped jump start our future plan."
Adam Unger
Principal
Art Asylum


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's not just about numbers and #businessplans. Doing business involves people: making offers and agreements. You'll be creating a circle of customers and keep them happy.

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ventureLAB's curator insight, August 7, 11:04 AM

It's not just about numbers and #businessplans. Doing business involves people: making offers and agreements. You'll be creating a circle of customers and keep them happy.

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Besomebody raised $1M to inspire people to do what they love

Besomebody raised $1M to inspire people to do what they love | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

t all started with a hashtag. Then, it became a traveler blog. This week, Besomebodyannounced it raised another million dollars to be, what they call, “the fastest growing and farthest reaching Motivational Movement in the world.”

Besomebody is a marketplace for people who are looking for “passionaries,” also known in plain English as mentors or teachers, to give them lessons and inspiration, even in some unconventional fields like dirt-bike riding and rapping.

“I wanted to create a new path to learn. In our platform you can learn what you want,” said founder and CEO Kash Shaikh.

Shaikh told VentureBeat that he started sharing the hashtag on Twitter back in 2009 along with inspirational messages and his following started growing. Some of those followers suggested a blog, so he started traveling and writing about his experiences.

“I’ve been in countries were they don’t speak english, but they understand what ‘be somebody’ means,” he said.

For the CEO, Besomebody solves the common dilemma between doing what you love and doing something that came earn you some income. He said that some top teachers are earning as much as $3,000 a month, “for teaching what they love to do. Read more: click image or title.



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"The Growthink group was very easy to work with and took the time to understand our business and needs carefully.  I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the nuances of our business and were able to communicate our thoughts into an organized structure that has helped jump start our future plan."
Adam Unger
Principal
Art Asylum


Via Justin Jones, OneTechGirl
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great initiative: doing what you love and getting paid for it. It doesn't get any better.

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Mohammed Ayyub's curator insight, July 30, 2:42 AM

Great initiative and much respect to your vision..

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It's Not Them, It's You!

It's Not Them, It's You! | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The next time you have a chance to step up and pitch to a crowd, expecting them to invest, remember these things.

How long will it be before entrepreneurs realize and start treating fundraising is a sales process, not as an inalienable right?

Last week I attended my umpteenth Angel group forum. Four formal pitches, six mini pitches, plus a few updates from the ecosystem. Not an uncommon pattern for a gathering by an Angel group.

The problem: nearly all of these presenters presented facts and figures. Slide after slide of the same-old, tired 10-slide set of details. Far too many details. Details no investor can remember today.

The problem: presentations, not stories. Slide after slide filled with bullets and text, which presenter after presenter turned to face rather than connecting with the audience. Rather than grabbing the audience’s hearts and making them feel the importance of the startup’s work.

The problem: nine presenters who presented from behind the lectern, fifteen feet from the nearest investors, rather than stepping up to look those investors in the eye, to begin the process of building trust, which is the core of any investment.

The problem: pitch after pitch that were crafted without regard to the fact that the day would be filled with other pitches. Pitch after pitch after pitch that failed to bring anything entertaining or interesting to stand out amongst the competition. Where in fundraising, the competition is EVERY OTHER company raising money.

Finally, the biggest problem of them all: far too many entrepreneurs who pitched without excitement and without passion. If the speaker is not excited, there is no chance anyone in the audience will get excited. What a waste of time and energy delivering a tired, boring, cookie-cutter business plan. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Standing out and being different is part of marketing. Every single detail of your business, or would-be business - such as a pitch to investors - has to be created from this point of view. Make it creative, tell a story, be different.

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“So, You Want To Raise Your Series A?” – Haywire

“So, You Want To Raise Your Series A?” – Haywire | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

As a very early and active pre-seed, angel, seed, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it investor, I view my main job is to select companies and founding teams that will eventually go on to raise a proper and priced Series A round from a credible firm, with a partner from that firm joining the board. In some cases, you find a young team who you just know will make it — more often than not, you have to be imaginative and allow for time to help products, markets, and people grow. People can definitely surprise you with their learning pace and drive to succeed.

I often joke that in today’s frenetic seed environment, many founders view “Getting To Series A” as post-college grads may view law school or getting an MBA as the next step along an academic journey. Since I am not a Series A investor — but rather someone who tries to help Haystack seeded companies work toward a Series A — please read the following post with the context that I want to help young companies reach this milestone, but from my conversations this summer with a variety of Series A VCs across the country, I am predicting the seed explosion of the last few years have finally worn down professional VCs to the point where the environment and attitude toward putting together an A round has — in my opinion — changed significantly.

Don’t kill the messenger. I’m writing this so early-stage teams have fair warning. For the record, I am passionately optimistic about the long-term future of and impact of technology on society at large and continue to invest early and often. The following is food for thought for those seeded teams who have true ambitions to partnering with a bigger VC and clearing the Series A hurdle: Read more: click image or title.





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"Growthink wrote the business plan for my mortgage company. Their research work was very accurate, and the average sales, revenue and cash flow data prepared me to make realistic decisions. They are a group of committed, dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who are with you during the process, and after."
Reemak Mortgage Funding

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Creating a startup is a big deal. Finding seedfunding is a huge challenge. After that, when all is said and done, and your startup is beginning to gather steam and going into a higher gear, the time comes for more rounds of funding. Series A funding is a reality check. Did we make our milestones? Is our valuation where we projected it and are we turning heads? This article from Semil Shah explains how to prepare and move to this next level.

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Read This Before Meeting VCs For Pre-Pitch “Advice” - TC

Read This Before Meeting VCs For Pre-Pitch “Advice” - TC | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Startups often ask VCs for pre-pitch meetings. These requests usually are positioned along the lines of, “We aren’t looking for money yet, just advice.” Of course, we all know this is just a nice way of getting your foot in the door for a soft pitch. And that’s ok; these meetings enable both sides to get acquainted before the real ask.

However, when startups come unprepared to these meetings, they can make a bad first impression that is difficult to overcome down the line. Before scheduling pre-pitch “advice” meetings with VCs, make sure you follow these three rules of thumb. Read more: click image or title.



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"Hey Dave,
Yes, thank you, I have completed the business plan. Finance has been approved, accountant has done his thing, and the solicitor is lagging behind!
Thanks for the support"


Ruth Yates

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Don't waste the time of a VC. Prepare every step of the way meticulously.

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No Team? No Idea? No Problem! This VC Will Fund Your Startup Anyway - Wall Street Journal (blog)

No Team? No Idea? No Problem! This VC Will Fund Your Startup Anyway - Wall Street Journal (blog) | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
As money pours into equity and venture capital firms, “pre-acceleration” programs are flourishing for those interested in entrepreneurship but who don’t know where to start.

Alejandro Vicente Grabovetsky wants to build a software program that checks the veracity of online news items. The 30-year-old with a PhD in neuroscience from Cambridge University plans to set his “media-truth-detector” loose on what he calls Russian propaganda, mostly against his native Ukraine. He has three problems though: he’s not exactly sure how it’s going to work, he doesn’t have any money to develop it, and he’s got no team to work with.

Also, he’s not sure the technology “is there yet.”

Enter Entrepreneur First, a venture capital firm that says it invests in people “pre-idea, pre-team,” which this week let Grabovetsky pitch his idea to see if he can get it off the ground.

Many wannabe entrepreneurs in EF’s program are pre-selected while still at university, where EF has close contacts with professors to spot the students with the best academic records, science projects, internships or publications. Two academics even hold equity in the company. “We spent a lot of time on campuses,” said Zoe Jervier, a member of EF’s recruiting team, said.

As money pours into equity and venture capital firms, “pre-acceleration” programs are flourishing for those interested in entrepreneurship but who don’t know where to start. It’s a risky, long-term bet on untested entrepreneurs with no real product or business plan.

“We are probably the most risk-seeking investors in the world,” said Matt Clifford, EF’s co-founder. Click image or title to continue reading.




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Risky strategy, but probably rewarding because of the small investment and the choice of most promising candidates.

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Running Out Of Money Isn’t A Milestone

Running Out Of Money Isn’t A Milestone | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Nearly all startups use the same methodology to figure out when to raise their next round of capital. The founder projects the planned burn rate and estimates the day they will run out of cash. Then they subtract a margin for fundraising approximately four months from the date the company’s bank account will be empty, and declare the difference the fundraising-process start date.

While logical, this method is highly flawed. It’s predicated on the idea that running out of money is the key milestone upon which to base a fundraising. However, running out of money isn’t a milestone — it’s exactly the opposite. Read more: click image or title.





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The logic of fundraising and running out of money.

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How to Pitch Your Idea and Your Startup - #How to Startup_

How to Pitch Your Idea and Your Startup - #How to Startup_ | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

  At the Founders Institute in Athens, we are working with teams on pitching their ideas and try to develop them into viable startups. The teams get better and better as the number of pitches increases and the feedback they get gets more concrete, so here is a guide on how you can get a better pitch for your idea for different audiences.

A. Why you need to work on your pitch? To whom are you going to pitch?

There are many cases where you will need to pitch your idea to get support. A couple of them are:

1. Pitching to find a co-founder: Imagine you are going to a Startup Weekend, an OpenCoffee event or another entrepreneurship meeting and you are a business person trying to find a technical co-founder. You will need to explain your idea in a clear way, so that people can correlate with it and get enthousiastic.

2. Pitching to Contests: While trying to set up your startup, you will want to participate in contests that offer financial or other rewards.

3. Pitching to Incubators and Accelerators: If you want to get accepted at incubators and accelerators, you will need to pitch to them.

4. Pitching to Investors: No pitching, no fund-raising. You will need to persuade investors to get the money out from their pockets and you will need to work on your pitching skills to showcase the great potential of your idea and startup.

5. Pitching to the Media: You will usually have a minute to grab the attention of a journalist or a PR persons and get him/her to write a story about your startup. Read more: click image or title.




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Different approaches for different situations. Your pitches to an investor and a CTO are very different. This article sums it up well.

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The 12 Disruptive Tech Trends You Need to Know

The 12 Disruptive Tech Trends You Need to Know | Pitch it! | Scoop.it




McKinsey’s in-house think tank compiled a cheat sheet for the future of tech.


Insight into which developments will have the greatest impact on the business world in the coming decades. 

People pay plenty of money for consulting giants to help them figure out which technology trends are fads and which will stick. You could go that route, or get the same thing from the McKinsey Global Institute’s in-house think-tank for the cost of a new book. No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends, was written by McKinsey directors Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel, and offers insight into which developments will have the greatest impact on the business world in coming decades. Below, we’re recapping their list of the “Disruptive Dozen”—the technologies the group believes have the greatest potential to remake today’s business landscape. Read more: click on image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Disruptive #Technology is changing our world rapidly. Check out all these amazing new trends.

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Kenneth Mikkelsen's curator insight, August 16, 4:55 PM

The 12 tech trends originates from the book: No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends.


Richard Platt's curator insight, August 26, 2:03 PM

1. Energy storage

2. Genomics

3. Advanced materials

4. Autonomous vehicles

5. Renewable energy

6. Advanced robotics

7. 3D printing

8. Mobile internet

9. Automation of knowledge work

10. Internet of Things (IoT)

11.  Cloud technology

12.  Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery

Farid Mheir's curator insight, August 29, 5:24 PM

No surprise, but always good to be reminded during budgeting and strategy season.

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Lessons Learned From My First Startups

Lessons Learned From My First Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

I was born an engineer and an introvert. The rest is pretty predictable.

When I was three I obsessed over jigsaw puzzles. At five, LEGO. I showed whatever I built to my mom, and she gave me a stream of positive, non-objective feedback. She didn’t need completed puzzles or LEGO models; she would have loved anything I built.

By 11, I was writing video games on my Amstrad CPC-464. At 15, my best friend Eddie (an English kid living in Kansas and a Japanophile) and I were spending much of our time building and playing games. (Yes, we were the biggest nerds in our school.)

We only had two customers — ourselves — and we iterated according to our collective wishes. It made the games better, and it made the experience of building them more fun.

Fifteen years later I joined a data-storage company called Isilon. I ran the performance team, and got the job of turning one of the world’s slowest storage systems into something that our potential customers didn’t laugh at. Read more, click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There is no way to be an expert in every aspect of building a startup. Many founders start as programmers and are very smart tech people. That does not make them businessmen or marketers. This is an honest article that shows many startup mistakes. Learn as you go, but shorten the process: get informed.

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Pitching to President Obama: What 3 tech startups tried at White House Demo Day

Pitching to President Obama: What 3 tech startups tried at White House Demo Day | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
President Barack Obama hosted more than 30 startups at the first-ever White House Demo Day, including a language-learning mobile app, a smart teddy bear named Jerry and a baby monitor that measures vital signs.

In a typical Demo Day for new companies, teams pitch to prospective investors. But this was not typical. At the White House recently, budding startups had a different opportunity—pitching to the President of the United States.

As part of the Startup America initiative to promote entrepreneurial endeavors, President Barack Obama hosted more than 30 startups at the first-ever White House Demo Day, including a language-learning mobile app, a smart teddy bear named Jerry, and a baby monitor that measures vital signs.

“If you are going to present to the president, you want it to be perfect,” said Gina Gotthilf of Duolingo, a free language-learning mobile app that was voted Apple’s iPhone App of the Year in 2013.

Luis von Ahn, inventor of reCAPTCHAand co-founder of Duolingo, told the president that there are about 1.2 billion people in the world learning foreign languages in order to get a better job or to escape poverty. But traditional methods can be expensive.

“I decided to make an app that would teach languages entirely free,” Ahn said. “And today it’s the most popular way to learn languages in the entire world.”

The app, which is designed to look like a game, capitalizes on the addictive quality of mobile gaming applications to teach users vocabulary, reading, writing and speaking.

Obama joked that if he wanted to “spruce up on his Spanish” he would download the app, but he’s “not allowed” to have a smart phone right now.

“It was inspiring to see the president interested in improving language education in the United States,” Gotthilf said. Read more: click on image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great ideas turned into very creative startups.

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Here's what makes 500 Startups' latest batch the future of entrepreneurship

Here's what makes 500 Startups' latest batch the future of entrepreneurship | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Sitting in the audience at the 13th batch of accelerator 500 Startups yesterday, something in my brain ticked. There was a difference to this batch that I couldn’t quite place, but it was palpable.

Then, I looked down at my notes and realized something: there was a significant number of female founders taking the stage and pitching companies. Perhaps more than I’d ever seen before from an accelerator in my time as a reporter.

I checked the facts, and it seemed to support my claim: according to a blog post from the accelerator, 500 Startups Batch 13 in Mountain View had 28 companies in total, and 46% of them have at least one woman on the founding team. To do some quick and easy math, at least 12 companies from the batch included at least one female founder on the team.

I inquired about the number, and was told by 500 Startups that Batch 13, “is the most diverse batch than any other when it comes to female/male ratio. ” Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

More diversity. 500 Startups is opening up opportunities for #startup #founders in every aspect.

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The 7-Minute Rule That Will Save Your Business Presentation

The 7-Minute Rule That Will Save Your Business Presentation | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Anything you have to say in a business setting should fit into a seven-minute window. Here's a guide to get you through your next conference talk, board meeting, investor chat, or daily team meeting.

Anything you have to say in a business setting should fit into a seven minute window. That's my theory about business presentations, and I've devised a plan to help you get through a talk at a conference, your next board meeting, an investor chat, or even your daily team meetings. If you talk less than seven minutes, people won't quite grasp what you have to say. If you talk more than seven minutes, you'll drone on a bit too much and lose people. It’s the ideal length for holding the attention of a crowd.

Now, before I explain what to so for the seven minutes, let's address the elephant in the room. His name is TED. The rule for every TED talk is to explain yourself in 18 minutes. Chris Anderson, the founder of the conference, has explained that 18 minutes is about the right length for the talks, and I tend to agree. That is, if you are Bill Gates or Elon Musk. However, for 99% of the people in business who need to hold the attention of the crowd, I'd cut that down to seven minutes.

I'm basing this rule on a few interesting findings of my own. First, when I created the seven-minute morning routine, I was relaying what I've done in my personal life for two decades. It works. And, as 200,000 people have read about so far and thousands have tried for themselves, it’s about the right length. My theory is that readers were drawn to the seven minutes. It isn't such a long period that your work will suffer or you can’t commit to doing it consistently, yet it's long enough to become truly contemplative. The same length of time works for presentations, especially if you are an entrepreneur. In hyper-connected world of texts and tweets, seven minutes is about the right time to make a point.

I've also given hundreds of talks, and seven minutes is about right. I've participated in dozens and dozens of startup sessions listening to entrepreneurs explain a new idea. In the first few minutes, you are still getting your head around the idea. After seven minutes you start tuning out. Your audience wants you to explain just the right amount to engage them.

So, seven minutes for a presentation. Here's how to do it. Read more: click on image or title.




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Thank you very much for all of your hard work. We are very pleased with the final result of the business plan and the PowerPoint - say congratulations on a job well done and that you can use us a reference for any future clients. We will definitely look to utilize Growthink's services in the future as we build our company." 
Bryan Langslet, CEO
Perceptions Entertainment

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Seven minutes to make your pitch. Here is a detailed plan, minute by minute, on how to structure your #InvestorPitch.

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The 100 leaders of the top tech accelerators

The 100 leaders of the top tech accelerators | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Accelerators are some of the most influential organisations within tech, but what are the top tech accelerators and who is the driving force behind them?

One of the most common features of the tech landscape today is the startup accelerator.

There are over 200 separate programs in the US alone.

The model encompasses mentorship, funding, access to a network of other entrepreneurs, and a space for entrepreneurs and their ideas to mature in safe surroundings.

That potentially lucrative combination has seduced investors and investees alike and being accepted into an accelerator program can be a springboard for success.

Not only are top tech accelerators behind the success of talent such as Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox but they facilitate introductions to institutional investors upon graduation from the program.

However, these successes have acted as the catalyst for an influx of new accelerators, either stand-alone programs or an attempt by a larger corporation to form an innovation lab.

Whilst that provides entrepreneurs with a plethora of top tech accelerators to choose from, the challenge is to determine which ones are genuinely capable of adding significant value in the early days of a business’ lifecycle.

As more accelerators are created, the debate is to whether some are just trying to earn a quick buck, versus building a model which is sustainable for startups, entrepreneurs and investors alike.

To aid with the selection process, we have put together a list of the 100 top tech accelerators and more importantly, the leaders behind those programs around the world.

This list of 100 leaders, focuses on the driving forces behind the top tech accelerators in the world today. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Accelerators provide a great model for #startups. Funding, mentoring, networking, it's all focused on success. Check out this list of 100 of the best #accelerators around the world.

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SpareHire's curator insight, August 7, 2:15 PM

Accelerators provide a great model for #startups. Funding, mentoring, networking, it's all focused on success. Check out this list of 100 of the best #accelerators around the world.

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8 Questions To Help Set Expectations With Investors

8 Questions To Help Set Expectations With Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

One of the big questions that every entrepreneur struggles with is how much funding they should request from investors in the first round. They know from forums such as Shark Tank on TV that asking for either too much or too little will derail credibility in the eyes of the investor, and leave the entrepreneur with no money and a struggling startup.

Strategies that I do not recommend include opening the discussion with a big number, hoping to make a more reasonable value feel like a good deal, or starting with a tiny number, hoping to entice interest from everyone. Both of these will brand you as an amateur to avoid, rather than a savvy business person with an exciting new opportunity.

The right answer is to ask for an amount that is just right, based on your real needs, and consistent with the capabilities and interests of the investors you are addressing. Here are eight key questions that will you get in the right ballpark with the right investors: Read more: click image or title.



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"The Growthink group was very easy to work with and took the time to understand our business and needs carefully.  I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the nuances of our business and were able to communicate our thoughts into an organized structure that has helped jump start our future plan."
Adam Unger
Principal
Art Asylum

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Which amount of funding do you throw at investors? How do you calculate exactly what you need and how long it will last? What makes you sound like you know what you're doing?

Your 'pitch' will give investors a lot of information about how professional you are.

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YC Fellowship

Ten years ago, Paul Graham said there could be ten times as many startups if more people realized they could try. Thanks to the work he, Jessica, Trevor and Robert helped do, that’s become true.

We think there is still room for another ten-fold increase in the number of (good) startups. But even now, a lot of good founders never get started because they can’t scrape together a relatively small sum of money at the idea stage.

So we’re going to try a new experiment, which we’re calling the YC Fellowship. This is targeted at teams that are very, very early. Read more: click title.





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"I wanted to take a moment to thank-you and your team for the incredible job on the Redux business plan. It was an absolute breeze to work with you and would look forward to working with you again in the future."
Hannah Kirby
Owner Redux Beverages, LLC

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Another initiative to give the best ideas a chance to get started. Even though it's a small budget, it may make a huge difference for some startups to take off. Take a look for more information.

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How the Top VCs Want to Be Pitched

How the Top VCs Want to Be Pitched | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Five top guys tell you exactly what they want to hear -- and what they don't.

When you’re preparing to pitch to a venture capitalist, you'll likely look for resources that tell you what constitutes a great pitch. And, sure, you'll find many expert tips on the best and most effective pitches. But have you stopped to think what the VCs themselves think?

Aren't the best people to tell you what a really good pitch comprises the VCs themselves?

Because they are the people at the receiving end who get pitched all the time from entrepreneurs, here are five top venture capitalists baring all about what will make them sit up and take notice. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Find out what top VC's such as Dave McClure, Marc Andreessen and Paul Graham have to say about how to pitch your startup.

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7 Lessons from 500, YC, Angelpad alum — How to Prepare For Any Accelerator Interview

7 Lessons from 500, YC, Angelpad alum — How to Prepare For Any Accelerator Interview | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

This month 500 Startups and General Assembly teamed up to hold a pre-accelerator program. Last week, we had our mini Demo Day:

I led the final week of the program where, in addition to 60-second pitch workshops, Angel.co profile show-and-tell, and pitch deck review sessions, I organized mock accelerator interviews.

To help me, I called a few of my friends*, Ryan Jackson of Paid and Andrew Norris of Taplytics, both YCombinator alums, Mason Blake at UpCounsel and Tristan Pollock of Storefront (now EIR @500) who went through AngelPad, and Selcuk Atli and me from 500Startups (both of us with YC backgrounds from Boostable/inDinero).

We started with a panel introducing ourselves and the accelerator processes: YC does 10 minute interviews with a few partners and cares more about founders than ideas; 500 does a deeper dive over 20–30 min and focuses on people and growth. With Angelpad, you’ll be talking to Thomas and Carine, and there will be fewer companies in your cohort. Each pre-accelerator company then had a 5-minute mock interview with us.

Despite the differences between us and our accelerators, the six of us noticed very similar patterns in the founders. The following mistakes to avoid and advice will help you prepare for any accelerator interview (and some investor conversations, too!)

Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Creating a good pitch, whether it is for an accelerator program or for any round of funding, can be challenging. There are a few guidelines that can help you overcome the most basic mistakes. This article spells it out. Read it, it will help tremendously. Excellent.

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To Bootstrap Or Not?

To Bootstrap Or Not? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Bootstrapping is a tougher choice than ever for startups. Seed capital is so widely available that deals for the hottest companies can close in days, and many entrepreneurs never even consider bootstrapping their company — especially in the race to join the “Unicorn Club.”

On the other hand, some startups don’t have the luxury of securing investors to help launch their company, and others see enough value in going it alone they forgo outside funding.

In 2009, I left my job as a software engineer at Facebook and took a leap of faith to found Storm8 with a few friends. We scraped together our savings and funded the company ourselves. Over the following six years, we grew the company to more than 250 employees without raising any outside capital. Remaining bootstrapped hasn’t made our journey any easier, but the required differentiated approach itself has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Read more: click image or title.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Before considering funding: take a look at bootstrapping. Finding investors may be easy, but each time they take out a chunck of your company.

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The Most Important Question Every Founder Needs to Answer

The Most Important Question Every Founder Needs to Answer | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Not being totally honest with yourself about this might be the biggest mistake you will ever make.

"The freedom to make my own mistakes is all I ever wanted." - Mance Rayder, Game of Thrones

 

I have an eminently simple philosophy when it comes to business and life; no decision is a mistake if you can look back on it with pride in knowing why you made it.

"...no decisions is a mistake if you can look back on it with pride in knowing why you made it."

So, let me ask you a simple question: "What's your ambition for your business?" Sounds simple enough, right? Here's the good news, it's a multiple-choice question with just three answers--wait, it gets better, all three answers are right! What's crucial is that you pick one and then build every aspect of your business strategy around it. Vacillate between these and you're, well, how can I put this kindly....you're screwed! Yeah, that was a gentle but effective way to say it.

Here are your three choices.

  • A) The Exit Strategy
  • B) The Scale Strategy
  • C) The Lifestyle Strategy

Read more: click image or title.





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Important choice to make when starting a business: what do you want with it? How do you want to exit? Or not?

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