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Startups and Entrepreneurship
Articles I read and like which help me run my startups better
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Raising capital a springboard for women

A new entrepreneurial network for female start-up founders seeks to get more women raising equity capital to fund growth. US-based business accelerator program Springboard Enterprises opened applications for Australian companies last week.

 

In the US, more than 500 start-ups have participated in the program since it began in 2000, and have gone on to raise $US5.5 billion.

Springboard Australia chair Wendy Simpson said that, anecdotally, peak body the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital

 

Association suggested women founded 3 to 5 per cent of venture-backed companies. In the US, of the companies that raised venture capital in 2010, 10 per cent had a female founder or chief executive, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

 

Successful applicants will be matched up with mentors and coached on how to pitch for capital. The program also seeks to involve local and US venture capital funds.

 

Only women running businesses with high-growth potential would be considered. Ms Simpson said about 20 companies would be selected in the first round.

One reason women raise less venture capital is they don’t access the right networks, Ms Simpson said

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three simple rules for tech innovators to create real impact:

three simple rules that I have internalized, for tech innovators to create real impact:


1) Experience the problem: Don't assume you understand the problem.
2) Fail early, fail often: Don't fall in love with your ideas -- expose them as early as possible to data, to real life, and hence to failure.
3) Build a team: Surround yourself with people smarter than you, with very diverse skill sets ... and have fun!

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/16/opinion/ingawale-ted-health-care/index.html

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The Psychology of Storytelling: 10 Proven Ways to Create Better Stories (and Why Stories Sell)

The Psychology of Storytelling: 10 Proven Ways to Create Better Stories (and Why Stories Sell) | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

Via José Carlos, Aki Puustinen
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3 Things You Can Do To Change People's Behavior

3 Things You Can Do To Change People's Behavior | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

In nature, there are basically two kinds of change: evolutionary and disruptive. Evolutionary change is gentler, less destructive…but it takes a very long time. Disruptive change is fast, and sometimes necessary – but extremely destructive. Human beings are clever, though. We’ve figured out how to speed up evolutionary change (selective breeding programs) and how to contain disruptive change (managed forest fires).

 

Which brings me to the idea of changing corporate culture; you can approach changing an organization’s culture evolutionarily or disruptively. I just read an HBR “management tip” about culture change (extracted from a longer article), that proposes speeded-up evolution. It’s a great tip (and article); the authors suggest selecting a few key behaviors to change, rather than trying to create a completely different culture overnight: “Prioritize the behaviors that will have the greatest impact on your company’s ability to implement its strategy. Choose ones that will be widely visible to others and are most likely to be emulated.”

 

This seems like a smart approach to me. Many, perhaps most, change efforts are done according to the disruptive model (“Let’s shake things up around here!”) and that’s why they don’t work.

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Cooking as entrepreneurship

Cooking as entrepreneurship | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
Cooking, entrepreneurship theory, and Austrian economics have a lot more in common than many people might believe. In honor of the late, great Julia Child, the Circle Bastiat's contributors have written a piece combining the three.

 

A system that will yield the most valuable and pleasing combinations of entrepreneurial economic or cooking activities will have low entry barriers (anyone can try to cook!) and a robust feedback-based system of error correction.

 

Low entry barriers facilitate creativity in discovering new useful products from the raw elements, as well as enabling new value creation when some of those raw elements change. Error correction, whether a “yuck, that’s gross!” at home or a lack of profits due to low repeat business at a restaurant, is most effective and valuable when there are feedback loops that can inform the cook-producer about the value that the consumer did or did not get from the dish.

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Here's Why Enterprise Startups Have An Easier Time Raising Big Money

Here's Why Enterprise Startups Have An Easier Time Raising Big Money | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
Raising money for your startup is a tough process. But you have to do it to get the capital that will let you grow your good idea.
Some startups have it easier than others, though. In fact, there's one class of startups that, when they can demonstrate success, can usually raise a big batch of cash—enterprise startups.


For example, data management provider Cloudera raised $40 million late last year. Box raised $125 million just last month. These are huge piles of cash.

 

Here's how a partner at a venture-capital firm explained it to us: When a startup like Pinterest went out to raise money in its early days, there was literally no way that investors could have known it would have exploded the way it did. (It literally wasn't Pinterest back then—it was a startup called Cold Brew Labs.)

 

Meanwhile, enterprise startups usually have much more predictable growth. They don't jump from zero to 100 million users in a month, but it's far easier to project their trajectory.

 

It's also easier to understand precisely what enterprise customers like about a company. For example, when Accel got interested in Qualtrics, a software company that claimed to offer great customer support, Ryan Sweeney dragooned his partners into helping him call a long list of Qualtrics customers to evaluate it, he recently told Business Insider. Turns out customers really loved Qualtrics, and Accel invested alongside Sequoia Capital.

 

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Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Entrepreneurship and Leadership | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

The world is constantly asking for more innovation, more creativity. You have it, you’ve found it, and you want to provide it – and you certainly can. This is where the genuine leader and the entrepreneur in you get together.


Your Leadership is Challenged

 

If there ever is a time when your leadership – especially where it applies to yourself – can really be put to the test, this is it. At first it is fast-paced, it is exciting, you are energized, and it is amazing. Then, all of the sudden, things come to a grinding, screeching halt. What is it? You cannot move forward until you’ve worked through things that can and/or will be holding you back. This is when things come crawling out of the woodwork – things that you may not have known even still lurked there. Things that you may have forgotten about – or at least had hoped to.

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ChallengeLoop.com - Challenge Anyone, Anywhere

ChallengeLoop.com - Challenge Anyone, Anywhere | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

ChallengeLoop makes it easy for you to challenge your friends and even yourself to anything. With ChallengeLoop you can achieve amazing things while everyone watches. The best challenges come with a reward, so inspire your friends with an awesome prize or put something on the line. Give the play by play with photos and videos for your fans because the more people who know about your challenge, the more likely you are to achieve something great!

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10 Ways Champion Olympic Gymnasts Inspire Us To Be Better Leaders

10 Ways Champion Olympic Gymnasts Inspire Us To Be Better Leaders | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

The world’s collective eyes have been focused on the Olympic Games in London this past week, and as I watched these awesome athletes compete, there was one group that particularly “grabbed” me this time – the gymnasts.

 

This is one of the most popular categories in the entire competition, because of the sheer athleticism on display, and the high drama that’s generated by the razor-thin margins between victory and defeat.

 

But there’s more “there” that goes beyond sheer entertainment and admiration – the young men and women that are becoming champions at this level are displaying many excellent traits that would serve any person, and more specifically, any leader, very well in their own quests for success.

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Stop Applying to Startups

You’ve decided that you want to work at a startup.  Maybe you’re leaving an existing career, or just getting out of college and looking for a first job. You found a startup you liked. Checked the job postings. Cleaned up your resume, wrote a killer cover letter, filled out the form on the careers page, and hit send.  You did everything by the book, just like your college career counselor told you.

 

Now, let me tell you what’s happening on the other side of that application form.  A founder or early employee is getting stacks and stacks of resumes by email every day, adding to a laundry list of more pressing tasks in their inbox. The role you applied for? Hundreds of potential candidates for it are being sorted along lines like these:

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Do you confuse what you do with who you are?

What is the first question you are asked when you meet someone at a business or social function?  “Hi, my name is …. What do you do?”

If you are the VP, CEO or have another prestigious title, the answer comes automatically and easily often with a tone of pride in your voice. Let’s dissect the conversation for a moment and notice you aren’t really answering the question in the way it’s being asked. In our culture, we often answer the “What do you do?” question with an “I am …” answer.  Never mind that in doing so, we aren’t really answering the question; more importantly, is what you do really who you are?


Headed for dangerous territory

How you answer this question gives the listener information about what you do and who you are, based on your title, position, status. It tells them in a few words where you are in the food chain.  But what if you don’t have an answer for “what do you do?” because you are unemployed, retired or in a career transition?

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The 5 Cs of Connection

In this high-energy talk, Bobby shares his diverse personal history and how it made him a natural connector with a large number and a broad range of people. He then explains how you can leverage the power of connection to create more meaningful and genuine relationships and build positive change. Bobby's passion is infectious, his message is simple, and his rapport with the TEDxUWO audience is authentic and real.

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Blogging: You Are More Than Your Profession

Blogging: You Are More Than Your Profession | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
Your choice of what you are blogging about and what you share is not limited to just your career. Leadership is about ALL of your life!

 

There seemed to be some debate going on as to whether we are supposed to be sharing content that spanned beyond our professional identity.

 

In itself it is such an interesting topic because I hear so many people on various social platforms discussing how as professionals they only share content of a certain type. Whether Marketing, Social Media, Leadership, or some of other facet which was usually of the professional portion of these users lives.

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Weigh the options before taking venture capital

Weigh the options before taking venture capital | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
For all the coverage we in the media give it, you'd think venture capital is the only game in town for startup entrepreneurs.

 

But there's another way, and it doesn't involve begging on the street corner or at your friendly local megabank branch. Nor do you need to pray to angel investors. As Collis Ta'eed—cofounder and chief executive of Envato, a network of websites—writes, you can bootstrap.

 

His reasons for following your own path, laid out at Alister & Paine, include:

 

Control. VCs have a notorious reputation—deserved or not—for taking the reins from founders, even pushing entrepreneurs out of the companies they created. If you fund yourself, you're the only one who gets to fire yourself and the only one who can tell yourself what to do. Ta'eed writes:

 

The benefits can be big. You have total flexibility in your decisionmaking, strategic path, and goals. A typical investor is interested in a return, usually of a significant multiple, within a set time frame. This is great for an investor, but isn’t always aligned with the goals of the entrepreneur. In particular, the alignment is way off if your goals as an entrepreneur are not primarily financial.

 

Constraint. Without the "extra" money a venture investment can bring, you won't fall prey to shiny-object syndrome and go chasing after ideas that are tangential to your core business. Having no money also makes you get creative. Ta'eed puts it this way:

 

When I started my business, we had zero money for marketing and were working out of my in-laws’ basement. This forced us to use guerilla tactics to engage with users to build a grassroots community that is now the core of the company and reaches millions globally.

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Leadership Success is No Longer Measured by Money or Power

Leadership Success is No Longer Measured by Money or Power | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

What is leadership success? Is it money, promotions, happiness, raising a family, changing the world, or advancing your industry or community? This simple question has grown complicated over the years, so it’s more important than ever to clarify what success means. Leadership success is measured by one’s complete body of work in life: nothing more, nothing less.

 

Historically, leadership success has been associated with money and power. The more you have, the more successful you are. This is a false idea of success. How many people do you know that have money and power that are also happy, ethical, and purposeful? Sure, there are a few – but only a few.

 

While I support free enterprise, it’s important to put things into perspective. There are a lot of people who are successful but not wealthy. They view success through a lens that balances their professional, personal and spiritual lives.

 

Leadership success is earned and its impact is timeless.

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Entrepreneurship: How technology offers new business opportunities in education

Entrepreneurship: How technology offers new business opportunities in education | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

The one thing that will never die in this world is the quest for education. No matter how many people don't actually get one right now, or how many people don't get the education that they need, there is always going to be a demand for education. This is one industry that will never die, and no matter how bad the economy ever gets, there will never be a shortage of people who want to get a quality education.

 

With that in mind, there are powerful new tools in which you can use to provide that education. The cool thing about the merging of technology and education is that they each make the other more meaningful for the other. For example, Google is a great tool, but if all people ever used it for is the map feature, what is the point of Google?

 

What Google does is offer the chance to let people learn for free. There are no fees for the use of Google, assuming of course that you go to a library for that use of the product. This is a new way to help kids learn, and you don't even need the use of a classroom setting. This is where business can come in and merge the two and can make getting an education an affordable experience.

 

As computers get cheaper and cheaper, the abilities to get the technology to other countries will be easier and easier. It will be sensible for some businessman to take the time and invest the cash to combine the technology with the kids who need to be given the education that can be provided with that technology.

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Five Ways to Find and Tap Potential

Five Ways to Find and Tap Potential | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

Leaders fail when they think too much about things they want and too little about things others want. Immature vision-driven leaders flounder when they believe it’s all about their vision.

 

Think of leadership as helping others win. But, what is helping and what is winning?

 

Leader as helper:

 

The first step toward winning is defining it.

 

Describing wins always comes before achieving wins.

 

Successful leaders help others define their wins. They awaken others. Sleep-walkers haven’t defined winning they just walk around doing stuff. Leaders provide new definitions of winning that awaken possibilities and align with potential.

 

Potential:

 

Leaders help people paint themselves into pictures of what’s around the corner in the universe of “not yet”.

 

Potential is always untapped. That’s why it’s called potential.

 

Potential is in them not you.

 

Winning in leadership:

 

Winning in leadership is helping others do things they aren’t doing yet; things they define as winning. Leaders clarify and align pictures of winning.

 

Potential moves toward reality when separate pictures of winning align.

 

In order to help people win, align their picture of winning with organizational wins.

 

Result:

 

Passion ignites when people see their potential in new pictures they help paint.

 

Suggestions:

 

Leaders awaken potential.

 

Keep them talking when their eyes light up. Then find alignment.
Avoid locking people in. Help them see themselves in new ways.


Push through resistance with them. Every significant change faces resistance.


Explain organizational wins in terms that align with their wins.
Call them to step up and make a difference.


How can leaders help others paint themselves into new pictures?

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The Language of Leadership

The Language of Leadership | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.

 

An entry in Reader’s Digest relates the story of an individual calling for information about one of his credit cards. He stated, “I got the following prompt: ’Please enter your account number as it appears on your statement.’ Then the system said, ‘Please enter your five-digit zip code.’ After that, he got the third message, ‘If you would like your information in English, press one.’”


That story is a reminder of the barriers of communication and how language plays such a relevant role in our everyday lives. As a leader, the words we speak and the manner in which we convey them is a matter of importance. The way in which you and your team communicate with each other and your clients is a reflection of your leadership vocabulary.


This truth was recently brought home to me in two unique ways. The first experience was in a fast food restaurant chain where my family and I had dinner. The behind-the-counter staff was exceptionally friendly and greeted us with a warm smile. Throughout our stay the hospitable employees communicated a friendly and professional attitude that ensured that our decision to eat there was a good one.

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Strategy, Capability & Really Bad Advice

Strategy should never be dumbed down to match capability. In fact, quite the opposite – capability should always be in the process of being upgraded to keep pace with strategy. If a leader dilutes the strategy because of a lack of capability, they have already failed – the game is over before it starts. The best leaders set their strategy and then work tirelessly to develop or acquire the needed capabilities. It is simply impossible to cede opportunity to others, settle for mediocrity, and hope to somehow remain a competitive enterprise.

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Leadership lessons learned from nature

Observing nature can allow you to learn leadership lessons in a different way. Nature has a certain natural way of unfolding that can provide you with ideas about how you can lead at your best.

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How to Become the Leader of Tomorrow

How to Become the Leader of Tomorrow | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

These days, professional success almost seems too easy. You don’t even need to exert a lot of physical effort when you do it (the way professionals had to do it in the past). Given that cloud-based services like RingCentral and DropBox have made the virtual office arrangement possible, you can build the team of your dreams without making your location an issue. With the help of the Internet, you can promote your business and engage in transactions with little to no cost on your end (unless you wish to). All you need to focus on is finding a market that needs you, and catering to that market.

 

Of course, there is that little thing called competition. In order to be truly successful, you need to distinguish yourself from the rest of the people in your industry. You need to be more than just someone who provides a service; you need to be someone who projects great authority. In other words, you need to be a leader.

 

And you need to be more than just a leader for today; in order to become the go-to person in your industry, you need to be the one who opens up the future to your market and colleagues alike. In order reach that goal, you need to strive for the following:

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The Most Important Leadership Quality You Will Need

In a multi-year study conducted at Stanford University, researchers examined the annual performance appraisals of hundreds of presidents and chief executive officers of Fortune 1000 companies, some of the most successful executives in every business or industry. This study revealed that top executives had two dominant qualities in common. The first was the ability to function well as a member of a team. When they were starting out, they were good team players, making valuable contributions to the teams they were on. As they were promoted to more senior positions, they demonstrated the ability to bring together winning teams of talented people and organize them to accomplish important goals and results for their companies.

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The Making of the Principal: Five Lessons in Leadership Training

The Making of the Principal: Five Lessons in Leadership Training | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it
Too often, training for principals fails to prepare them for the difficult task of guiding schools to better teaching and learning. This Wallace Perspective plumbs foundation research and work in school leadership to identify five lessons for better training, including: more selective admission to training programs, a focus on instructional leadership and mentoring for new principals
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5 Ways To Create Work-Life Balance At Your Company

5 Ways To Create Work-Life Balance At Your Company | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

Work-life balance is the exclusive property of your employees. It’s another situation in which you can facilitate, but not cause, the outcome.

 

What constitutes an appropriate balance varies from employee to employee. Early careerists have a different set of problems than new parents or employees with kids leaving for college. Salespeople who travel intensively need entirely different things than the 9 to 5‘ers at the satellite office.

 

Blending the demands of the life we call work and the work we call life requires moment by moment adjustment. For some, the answers will involve finding a safe place to rest. For others, the answer may be professional development. Some will migrate towards fitness, while others need access to financial management tools, more than 3 vacation days in a row, or a back-up babysitter.

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Three ways to prepare for more successful leadership

Three ways to prepare for more successful leadership | Startups and Entrepreneurship | Scoop.it

Last week I spent watching the Olympics and it was great to have tickets to see the Rowing and Equestrian Events live. The pundits tell us how much time athletes spend preparing each day for just this moment, and I have been reflecting on how different it is for leaders and managers.  How much time do we give to prepare for success?  So I thought it might be worth looking at practical techniques used by elite athletes, that we can all apply and achieve more successful leadership.

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