Tag Archives: Business Plan

How To Raise Startup Capital In 120 Seconds

How To Raise Startup Capital In 120 Seconds

7 key takeaways from the Tech Coast Angels Quick Pitch Finals 2014.

Think of a quick pitch as you would a movie trailer.

1) A quick pitch should serve as a teaser of what’s exciting and noteworthy to come next. The intention of a 2 minute pitch is to deliver a heavy dose of substance, content, and sizzle regarding your Startup’s investment potential.

A simple outline when delivering a quick pitch is:

• Your name and title
• Your business name
• What problem inspired your business?
• What is your solution?
• What does your business need to achieve the next level of success?

In this specific instance, a panel of 7 judges, scored the 10 startup finalist in 2 separate categories: Content and Style. Each judge held up a scorecard with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, for each category.

2)Decide who on your Startup Team best delivers your company’s message.

Not all founders or co-founders were meant to step on stage (in this case in front of an audience of 500 people) and “perform.” Explore who on your team accelerates in public speaking and leverage that ability.

For AstroPrint this person is CEO Drew Taylor, his ability to remain relaxed and assured during their pitch, made a “high-tech” complex process simple to comprehend.

3) Practice. Practice. Practice.
There is only way to become a Quick Pitch Master, the answer is practice, practice, and more practice. Practice not only your pitch with different people, but also in different environments.

Perhaps this was the winning ingredient for nPruv CEO Summer Rogers. The panel of judges applauded her for repeatedly practicing nPruv’s pitch in the auditorium where the event was taking place that night.

There’s an unquestionable value and confidence that comes with practicing on the specific stage you’re presenting on.

4) Engage with your audience.
Quick Pitches are designed to create a level of curiosity and interest in the Startup. As the presenter, talk to NOT at your audience, help make them to feel they’re a vital part of a conversation.

*It’s fair to note your audience includes not only the panel of judges, but onlookers as well.

Doctible CEO, Ajit Viswanathan brilliantly highlighted this point. With in his presentation he included a slide with the judge’s pictures, which the crowd and judges went wild over. Making his pitch point both relevant and relatable to all.

5)Enthusiasm.
Remember enthusiasm is contagious. A Startup pitch with out enthusiasm can leave the listener feeling you’re not invested or inspired by your company, why should they be…

GetTAGit.com CEO & Founder Ana Bermudez, oozed enthusiasm, from her walk, to smile, to tone of voice, it was clear she’s created a Startup she’s excited to share with the world.

6)Timing.
2 minutes or 60 seconds can seem like an eternity for some or race to beat the clock for others.

In this instance a clock illuminated the back wall below the presenter’s slideshow. Regardless, of their feeling toward the ticking seconds, there was no avoiding it.

Interesting enough, those Startups that concluded their pitch prior to time running out (5 of them to be exact) were not in the event’s winners circle.

CleverPet Co-Founder, Dan Kundsen along with Companion Medical’s CEO, Sean Saint were the 2 out of 10 Startups with perfectly timed out pitches.

7) The Pitch Close and Following up.
At the end of a perfect pitch lies 2 key ingredients:

• Summarizing your entire pitch in 1 sentence. Think about it like this, if your audience were to walk away with one message regarding your Startup what would you want that to be? Often times the close is also the tagline for your Startup.

• Invite the opportunity for people to follow up with you, and find out in greater detail what about your Startup and the investment opportunity. All those finer details that a 2 minute quick pitch couldn’t cover.

Congratulations to all 130 Startup Companies courageous enough to enter the Quick Pitch Competition, especially the top 10 finalist we had the pleasure of watching at the event.

Special congrats to nPruv for winning the grand prize, Companion Medical for winning the content category, and GetTAGit.com for winning the style category.

It’s Startup companies like yours that continue to shift the landscape of business innovation. Thank you!

 

Whether you have a question about your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

How To Evaluate Your Startups Business Model

How To Business Model

How To Evaluate Your Startups Business Model

The business model is the means by which your company makes money for the value that you deliver to your customers.

It is the strategy for how you monetize your product or service.

Your customer will be the ultimate judge of whether your business model works or not.

As a result, it may take trial and error to figure out the best model for your business.

Nonetheless, there are some important steps you can take to help ensure you get started with the best business model possible.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Competitors

By simply looking at your competition you will learn about the business models that your customers potential currently have to choose from. Whether you replicate a competitors business model or your deliver additional value to the customer by improving their business model, it is important for you to know what your customers’ options are.

Step 2: Understand Your Customer

Are you selling to men, women, or children? Are you selling to the wealthy or the poor? Is your product or service an everyday purchase or a luxury purchase? What drives your customer to purchase your product? Knowing the answer to these questions and truly understanding where your customer is coming from will help you determine the best model for you.

Step 3: Determine Your Cost of Sales

It is extremely difficult to determine your price and business model unless you know your cost of sales, also referred to as Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Without this information, you won’t know whether your price generates a gross profit or a loss.

Step 4: Determine Your Operating Expenses

Every business has some cost of running the business that is not directly related to the sale or a product or service. For example, office rent, marketing budget, accounting, etc. It is important that you understand this cost structure as well so that you can turn a net profit once these expenses are accounted for as well.

Step 5: Compare Business Models

You will want to take your top 2 or 3 business models and build out a complete set of financial projections for each so that you can test the key variables of the business models and compare them with one another.

 
Below is a list of the most common business models:

  • 1. Brick and mortar
  • Whether you open your own brick and mortar retail store or you sell your product wholesale to a brick and mortar retailer, one of the oldest and most basic business models is a traditional storefront.

  • 2. Direct Sales
  • Direct sales is a method where the company sells directly to the end-user via a sales force. By cutting out the middleman, direct sales usually allows the company to sell the product for less and provide value to the customer via reduced prices.

  • 3. Subscription
  • The most obvious example of a subscription revenue model is a magazine or newspaper. Subscription business model is very popular and lauded among business owners due to its recurring revenue nature where gaining one new customer results in ongoing revenue throughout the lifetime of that customer.

  • 4. Multi-Level Marketing
  • Multi-level market, or network marketing, is a model where independent marketers buy a company’s products and sells them to consumers directly as well as to other “downline” marketers who in turn do the same. Each marketer in the “downline” receive a commission on that sale.

  • 5. Auction
  • The auction business model is free-market capitalism at its finest where the customer who is willing to pay the most gets the product.

  • 6. Service
  • The service industry is very broad and includes many sub-models but at its core, consumers pay a flat rate or an hourly rate for services rendered.

     

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    How To Determine Potential Startup Costs?

    How to Determine Startup Costs? From The Startup Garage

    How To Determine Potential Startup Costs?

    Startup expenses are the costs incurred before the business opens its doors.

    Many first time entrepreneurs underestimate the amount of startup expenses that it will take to launch their business.

    Before you start making your first expenses, it is important to create a plan of your initial financing so that you know exactly what it will cost.

    When creating your startup expense plan, it is important to understand the different types of costs your startup will incur: expenses and assets.

    Expenses are the costs that occur during the startup phase for operations, such as travel, rent, supplies, marketing materials, legal fees, and business incorporation fees.

    Assets, also referred to as capital expenditures are one-time costs of buying assets such as inventory, property, or equipment.

    Determine Your Startup Costs

    To estimate your startup costs, start by brainstorming all of the various expenses and assets that your company will phase before you begin selling to customers.  Next begin to assign actual costs.  You may need to do some searching online, call service providers, and reach out to professionals.  Some of the most common expenses and assets include:

    –        Legal

    –        Collateral (sales and marketing literature)

    –        Inventory

    –        Consultants

    –        Accounting

    –        Rent and deposits

    –        Research and development

    –        Assets (leasehold improvements, fixtures, signage)

    –        Long-term or fixed assets (land, plant, equipment, furniture)

    –        Website or app development

    Timing is Everything

    Remember, your startup costs are incurred before you generate any income from the business.  Be sure to develop a budget for all of your startup costs as well as some additional funding as most businesses are not profitable for some time.

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    What’s the Biggest Challenge For New Entrepreneurs?

    What's the Biggest Challenge For New Entrepreneurs? from The Startup Garage

    What’s the Biggest Challenge For New Entrepreneurs?

    Welcome to video Fridays
    from The Start Up Garage


    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from viewers

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1. The biggest obstacle that new entrepreneurs tend to face is really overcoming their personal limitations.

    2. As a new entrepreneur you need to be coachable, which means you need to be able to listen to other peoples viewpoints and opinions and consider them seriously.

    3. Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

    4. Surround yourself with people who compliment your weaknesses.

    Complete Transcript below:

    Question= “What’s the biggest obstacle that new entrepreneurs tend to face?”

    Tyler Jensen: The biggest obstacle that new entrepreneurs tend to face is really overcoming their personal limitations. In order to be successful new entrepreneurs really need to learn a whole bunch of new knowledge, they have to learn new leadership skills, and communication skills.

    Nicole Morris: So what would you say are some kind of tips for overcoming these?

    Tyler Jensen: I would recommend number one is that you really need to be coachable, which means you need to be able to listen to other peoples viewpoints and opinions and consider them seriously. You also need to be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. You don’t want to overestimate or underestimate your abilities. I see this all the time — you just need to get real about it. And thirdly which compliments this with, you need to surround yourself with people who compliment your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to not know everything and not be able to do everything. No one person is good at all the parts of running a successful startup.

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    HBO Show Silicon Valley Shines The Spotlight on Business Planning

    Silicon Valley Show On Business Plans from The Startup Garage

    HBO Show Silicon Valley Shines The Spotlight on Business Planning

    The clip below provides accurate yet comical insights into a typical angel investor meeting.

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    • Investors are in the business to invest in companies, not just products.
    • Investors are not guidance counselors for your Startup.
    • Investors are smart and sophisticated, they want you to be prepared.
    • There are key Milestones investors care about.
    • One thing you want to never hear in an investor meeting
      “He doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing.”
    • Are you prepared to #Getfunded?

       

      Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    I Have An Idea For a Product. Where Do I Start?

    I have a product idea. What's next? from The Startup Garage

    I Have An Idea For a Product. Where Do I Start?

    Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage


    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from viewers

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1. You want to start is with your research, specifically around the industry, market, and competitive analysis.

    2. For the industry research, you want to know the size of that industry,

    who the major players are, and who the trade associations are in that industry.

    3. For ompetitive research. You want to get out there and look at all the potential competitors; these are both direct and indirect.

    4. For market research. These are all the potential markets that you might be able to sell your product in and to.

    Complete Transcript below:

    Question= “I have an idea for a product…. Where do I start?”

    That’s probably one of the most common questions we get from entrepreneurs. We give pretty much the same recommendation for everyone who asks that question. Where you want to start is with your research — and your research is around the industry, market, and competitive analysis.

    On the industry side you really want to understand the name of your industry. Sometimes you cross over into multiple industries, so you want to know the different names that you may cross over into. You want to know the size of that industry. Who the major players are. Who the trade associations are in that industry. And just really learn about what goes on into the entire industry that you want to be a part of.

    The second part is your competitive research. You want to get out there and look at all the potential competitors; these are both direct and indirect. Don’t skimp on this issue — the best part about competitive research is that you are going to get a ton of ideas and it’s going to improve your product idea as well, so just make sure you get out there and do as much competitive research as you can.

    And the final area is your market research. These are all the potential markets that you might be able to sell your product to. This is the one we find that entrepreneurs get stuck on the most — given that they think they could sell their product to everybody. But you really need to break it down into small segments to understand why each of these different segments would buy your product. This is probably the longest part of the startup process is to really spend a lot of time learning all this information. Check back and we’ll let you know where you can find this information.

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Exclusive Q&A With The Founder Of The Startup Garage

    Q&A with The Startup Garage Founder from The Startup Garage

    Exclusive Q&A With The Founder Of The Startup Garage

    Tyler the founder of The Startup Garage and previous founder of Vavi Sports and Social Club spoke exclusively with George Meszaros of Success Harbor.

    Success Harbor is a podcast, “where it’s all about making success happen for you.”

    To listen to the complete audio with additional entrepreneurial insights please vist:
    Tyler Jensen Success Harbor Podcast

    12 Key Take Aways from Serial Enterpreneur Tyler Jensen:

    Question1 What was one of the greatest challenges you were faced with during the first year of business?

    Tyler Jensen: I think that most of the challenges entrepreneurs face are personal challenges.
    I didn’t really put into place a `pay my bills plan’ before we started. I just thought the company would start making money really quickly, and I could pay myself a salary. The reality was that that wasn’t true, and isn’t true for most start-ups, so I struggled for a while just trying to figure out how to pay my bills, while still having time to get the business started.

    Question2 Not only were you starting a business, but you were starting something that hasn’t really been done here locally. How did you approach marketing your business?

    Tyler Jensen: We had $2,000 and so our marketing plan was to print out some flyers, go out to the beach and hand out flyers one-on-one, and have conversations with people that we thought would be in our target market.

    Once we got the first couple hundred people interested (which was the hardest) and in specifically in having those conversations, I really got to learn how to present the brand in a way that would really resonate with potential customers.

    Now, whenever I start a new business, I always go out and talk to a whole bunch of customers about it. I pitch to people one-on-one to really learn about the brand, and getting the message out in the right way.

    Question3 Now, why did you sell VAVi? What was the reason for selling it? It sounds like it was going really well.

    Tyler Jensen: You know, it was more personal than business related. I had read online a whole bunch of places where there was something about the 6th or 7th mark for entrepreneurs where they get burnt out and that was…I felt `oh well, people are different’ but looking back (like) that’s about the time when I really got burnt out. I just wasn’t as excited and motivated anymore to continue to build the company

    Question4 Do you think it’s possible, or do you think it would have been possible to build VAVi without burning yourself out or you think it’s just part of the territory when you build a business?

    Tyler Jensen: No, I absolutely think that it’s possible and that’s what I am doing now. I have a consulting company and I advise other entrepreneurs on how to go through the start-up process. One of the big pieces of our business really is around writing business plans and helping start-ups raise capital.

    One of the things that is motivating for me is to help coach them through the personal process of it and how do you make sure that you plan the right way so that you are not in crisis mode all the time and how do you make sure that you have enough capital to do what you need to do.

    Question5 So when did you start that business and why did you start it?

    Tyler Jensen: The Startup Garage started around 2009 when we picked up our first client. I had learned so much through the process of starting and running and eventually selling VAVi and if I had known what I knew at the end, at the beginning then I would have done it very, very differently.

    I wish I had somebody like me at the beginning to teach me what I teach other entrepreneurs now. That has been my real motivation and so for the last five years I’ve helped over a hundred different companies get started all over the world.

    Question6 What were the biggest mistakes that you made with VAVi, maybe in the beginning or maybe later on in the business that were a good learning experience?

    Tyler Jensen:The under-capitalization problem that was a big issue. I was personally not set up so I didn’t have a good `pay the bills plan’ and so I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills each month.

    I was making business decisions that would lead to being able to pay my bills when they weren’t the best business decisions.

    Question7 If you had to start VAVi over again what would be the biggest change that you would make? Would it be the capitalization part? What would you do differently?

    Tyler Jensen: I had a lack of planning, I didn’t plan ahead, I didn’t understand the financial part of the business.

    I really had a huge passion for the product, but I really didn’t understand the financials and that includes more than just capitalization.

    I didn’t understand how I was going to make money, what were the expenses that it was going to take to actually do it the right way.

    I didn’t put the financial projections together the right way and I didn’t put a business plan together beforehand, which would have saved me a lot of headache, heartache and a lot of mistakes if I had done that before I started the business.

    Question8Early on in business what do you think is the biggest time waster for entrepreneurs? Stuff they shouldn’t spend their time on but they insist on spending all their time on it?

    Tyler Jensen: Well, I can answer this a couple of different ways. The first thing that pops into my mind is that entrepreneurs end up falling in love with their product or service.

    In the big picture of things the product and service is really only about 5% of building a company and so I find that you can spend so much time just diving in, doing product development…product development and reiterating it…reiterating it which is important, but they ignore all the other parts of the business as well.

    Question9 ”What advice do you have for others to deal with the roller coaster ride of being an entrepreneur?

    Tyler Jensen: What works for me is having a really good personal practice, focussing on making health my number 1 priority. That includes not only physical health but mental and spiritual and emotional health as well.

    I would put a daily practice into place, like I have now, where I get up and either run or walk in the morning and then I do about 30 minutes of meditation and prayer.

    I also make sure that I have a very clear plan, and I take breaks to make sure that I’m not getting off track, this really helps me stay efficient and focused.

    Question10 Today you working with entrepreneurs and start ups consulting with them, what do you think are areas that they need help with?

    Tyler Jensen: There are two types of entrepreneurs that I generally work with: one is the brand new entrepreneur and one is the serial entrepreneur and they have different needs.

    For the beginning entrepreneur they generally come to me and say `I’ve got this great idea for product and service and to be really honest I don’t know how to make this into a business.’

    So, it’s really just learning how the whole process works. There is a step by step process that really makes sense when you are starting a business and a lot of times just understanding what to focus on when changes the whole game for entrepreneurs.

    They start doing things that really don’t need to be done for 12 months or 18 months and ignore things that are really important earlier on in the process. For the first-time entrepreneurs I think the biggest thing is just understanding what to focus on.

    For the serial entrepreneurs when they come to us they generally have gone through the process and they know how it works and everything and they just need help, they just don’t have the bandwidth to do the work that we do,
    Business Planning and the financial model.

    They just need a great service provider to provide objective opinion and really poke holes in their plans before they go to investors.

    It’s already been picked apart and put back together so that investors don’t have to pick it apart as much.

    Question11 What do you think serial entrepreneurs successful over and over?

    Tyler Jensen: You know, this is my opinion and I’m certain many people will disagree with me, but having worked with so many people,

    I really think it has little to do with the business and more with their personal practices.

    Their personal beliefs of who they are and really ultimately their spiritual grounding. I find that the ones who are most successful have something that grounds them in life.

    No one knows all the things in business.
    Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses as entrepreneurs.

    Question12 If a first-time entrepreneur came to you, what would you teach that person about becoming an entrepreneur?

    Tyler Jensen: The first thing I would say is `don’t quit your job’.
    You want to hang on to your job for as long as you can because that takes care of the bills.

    The place that I tell them to start is the research. So, specifically, industry research, market research and competitor research. Generally they have a new idea and sometimes they are going into an industry, that they are not that familiar with, they don’t know all the different types of competitors and they don’t know who their target market is.

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Is a Business Plan Necessary?

    Is a business plan necessary? From The Startup Garage

    Is a Business Plan Necessary?

    Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage


    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from our viewers.

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1. When starting a business you will almost always want a business plan.

    2. Even if you do not need investors or a business partner, a business plan will help you answer critical questions.

    3. Investors want and require documentation.

    Complete Transcript below:

    Question:

    I’ve read that you really don’t need a business plan. Is this true?

    Well, my short answer is no — it’s not true.

    If you’re starting a company, there are a couple of main reasons why you’re almost always going to need a business plan.

    The first one is that even if you don’t actually need the document of a business plan for an investor or business partner, going through that process of answering all the questions that a business plan will require you to answer is so critical early on. If you don’t do it early on it’s going to cost you a lot of time and money later on.

    The second reason is that if you are raising money from anyone other than a close friend or family member, almost any serious investor is going to require that you have gone through the process of writing a business plan and they’re going to want to see that document.

    Remember, “the worst business plan is one you never bother to write.”

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    What Do Investors Want in A Professional Business Plan?

    What do investors want to see in a business plan? from The StartupGarage

    What Do Investors Want in A Professional Business Plan?

    Welcome to video Fridays from The Start Up Garage


    A place where Tyler Jensen, The Startup Garage’s founder, answers questions directly from our viewers.

    Key Take Aways From Video:

    1. Investors want to see a clean, professional looking, honest, and reasonable assessment of the business.

    2. Investor wantwell-sourced research sections, which include the market, industry, and competitive analysis.

    3. Investors want an exceptional product description that explains all the features and benefits of the product or service you’re going to be selling.

    4. Investors want a reasonable sales, marketing, and operational plan and budget.

    5. Investors want 5-year financial projections.

    Overall, investors are sophisticated and smart, this isn’t a traditional sales document.

    Complete transcript below:

    “What do investors want to see in a professional business plan?”

    Great question Jen, overall investors really just want to see a clean, professional looking, honest, and reasonable assessment of the business. They want clear, well-sourced research sections. So this includes the market, industry, and competitive analysis. These really need to be cited with trusted sources, so add footnotes in there as well.

    The next thing you want is a really good product description that explains why all the features and benefits of the product or service you’re going to be selling. Then they’re going to want a reasonable sales, marketing, and operational plan and budget — so you just need to be reasonable in these expectations of what you’re really going to be able to achieve in terms of growth.

    And then they’re going to want to see a well thought out 5-year financial projections. These include balance sheet, cash flow, and profit/loss along with all the assumptions that go into making those up.

    So overall investors are sophisticated and smart. So this isn’t a traditional sales document — you don’t want to make it too “salesy”. They want to see something that is just reasonable and honest — and I think you’re going to get a lot further with investors than something that is hyperbolic and exaggerated

    Whether you have a question about your business plan or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

    Shark Tank Hosts Open Casting Call In San Diego

    The Shark Tank San Diego From The Startup Garage

    Shark Tank Hosts Open Casting Call In San Diego

    Critically acclaimed business reality show, Shark Tank, attacks the shores of San Diego,
    Saturday June 7th for an open casting call.

    Do you think your startup has what it takes to swim with the Sharks?

     
     

    Attend this rare casting call:
    SATURDAY, JUNE 7TH – SAN DIEGO
    COLEMAN UNIVERSITY
    8888 Balboa Ave.
    San Diego, CA 92123
    9:00 AM to 11:00 AM – Numbered Wristbands Distributed
    10:00 AM – Interviews Begin

    Shark Tank Casting Details

     
    Come prepared, entrepreneurs will only be given 1-minute to pitch of your business/product/idea to a member of the Casting Team.

    Make sure your pitch is concise, clever, and screams there’s money to be made!

    How To Get Your Startup Ready For The Shark Tank

     
    The Startup Garage Team wishes you continued success in your business.

    Please let us know if you attended the casting call, and the results.

    Remember exposure and funding are unlimited for those startups, who are properly prepared, and are ready to attract investment.

     

    Whether you have a question about your pitch or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!