Tag Archives: Startup Phase

How to Craft an Effective Mission Statement For Your Startup

How to Craft an Effective Mission Statement For Your Startup

When developing a business, an important component of your overall strategic plan is a mission statement.

This brief statement declares the purpose of an organization and defines the reason for the
company’s existence. It provides the framework to help guide the company’s strategies and actions by spelling out the business’s overall goal.

Ultimately, a mission statement helps guide decision-making internally, while also articulating what your business is all about to customers, suppliers and the community.

An effective mission statement is clear and concise, yet resonates with both employees and those
outside of the organization. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s purpose in a way that inspires support and ongoing commitment.

So, how should you go about crafting one for your business? Here are some helpful tips:

Involve others

The best way to develop a mission statement is to brainstorm with those connected to your business. Ask employees, customers and investors what they see as your biggest strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to see how others see your company and your brand so that you have more than one perspective. Not only will you get a more comprehensive statement that’s reflective of your company culture, but your employees will be more invested in it because they helped form it.

It takes time

Crafting a mission statement of value requires time, thought and planning. Typically, it’s recommended to set aside several hours – a full day, if you have it – to piece together everyone’s ideas and arrive at a finished product. Though time-consuming, this process will solidify the reason for what you are doing and help clarify the motivations behind your business.

Make it count

Even though mission statements are short, every word counts. Your statement should not only be memorable, but it should inspire action, as well. However, there’s no need to make it overly complicated – just state the purpose of your company and your reason for starting it in the first place. Its value only comes from when stakeholders can use it as a guide when making day-to-day decisions.

Spread the word

Once your mission statement is complete, display it internally and externally with pride. Post the statement in the office, print it on company materials and be able to recite it to potential customers who walk through the door. This way, you can ensure everyone who reads it understands the direction of the company and why you’ve chosen that focus.

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

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

As a startup or small business owner, you have to be smart with the resources you have.

Oftentimes, traditional marketing doesn’t exactly fall within your budget. That’s why social media is a great alternative in generating the results you want to achieve.

It’s not only low-cost, but it also gives you direct exposure to current and prospective customers

So, you’ve formed your business and want to start marketing through social media. Now what?

Here are a couple tips to think about when creating your profile:

Start with a Social Media Strategy

Even before selecting which channels you’ll use, you need a detailed strategy that will keep your marketing efforts on track. The first step is to figure out how you want to portray your brand. For best results, align your social media approach with your company culture and make sure it addresses your business goals and audience needs. Always strive to establish your brand’s own identity on social media so that your company can stand out among its competitors.

Choose the Right Social Networks

There are many different social media platforms to choose from today – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – and depending on your strategy, you should be able to determine which ones are right for your startup. Look specifically at the target age group of your audience, the location of your business and the nature of your services when making the decision. One last tip: keep social media profiles limited to a couple of networking platforms. This way, you can easily monitor them, keep them up-to-date and interact with your followers more closely.

Build a Community

For long-term growth and success, the best thing you can do is build an online community of supporters who give your startup additional exposure and promote brand awareness. You can do this simply through personal interaction, relationship development and customer satisfaction. In general, customers greatly appreciate companies that put in effort to engage with their followers and connect with their audience.

Listen Instead of Talking

The biggest mistake you can make on social media is not listening to your followers. When used correctly, social media platforms allow you to garner valuable feedback. Respond to comments, mentions and feedback even if they’re negative. Social listening is an excellent tactic to monitor what people are saying about your brand.

Experiment

Sure, going the traditional route in terms of strategy is great, but every now and then, it’s great to think outside the box – as long as what you’re doing doesn’t compromise your brand’s integrity. Being creative and innovative will generate new ideas and develop the mindset you’ll need to resolve any problems later on.

Evaluate your social media strategy regularly

Startup companies can get overwhelmed by the fast pace and growth, but it’s important to take a step back every now and then to measure and analyze your results. Tracking performance data, such as growth, engagement and sharing, is the best way to identify which tactics are working and which ones aren’t. Things change with time and social media is no different. Therefore, it’s important to assess your startup’s social media business plan regularly to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your profiles.

A Few Last Words

Social media takes time and energy, so don’t be disappointed if the results you want don’t automatically unfold. Be patient and devote the appropriate amount of work into each account. With time, your profile will reap the benefits of company visibility and audience engagement, which eventually leads to paying customers and investors.

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

How Does A Convertible Note Works For Startups?

How Does A Convertible Note Works For Startups?

A convertible note is an investment instrument intended to provide a startup company with early stage financing.

It’s a compromise of sorts, blending the downside protection associated with a loan and capturing the upside potential of selling equity shares.

Why are they used?

It can be very difficult for investors and entrepreneurs to agree on the valuation of an early stage company. Valuations are complex, and require a considerable amount of time and data that early stage startups just don’t have. A convertible note for startups allows the valuation conversation to be delayed until later down the road when a valuation can be more easily determined. Typically, this occurs at the next funding round. At which time, the note will convert from a loan to equity.

What’s the “discount rate” and other terms?

Early stage investors that invest in the form of a convertible note expect to be appropriately compensated for the extra risk taken by investing at such an early stage. As such, when a valuation is determined at a subsequent round of investment, the early stage investors typically receive a “discount” on that valuation where their investment gets converted at a cheaper valuation. The discount rate is predetermined and agreed upon at the time of signing the note. 20% is a common discount, but it can range widely from around 10% on the low end to 35% on the high end.

Here’s an example of the convertible note process:

Joe Angel invests $500K in a seed round investment
Startup issues Joe Angel a convertible note for $500K that has an automatic conversion feature at the next round of financing with a conversion discount of 20%
Startup closes a $1M Series A round with a VC at a pre-money valuation of $5M
VC receives 16.67% equity
Joe Angel’s note will convert to equity at a 20% discount on the pre-money valuation for 10% equity

The above return does not account for interest on the loan, which typically ranges from 5-7%. It’s not paid out like a regular loan, but instead accumulates and then the interest is added to the conversion amount at the end of the Series A startup funding round.

Main benefits:

Convertible notes are attractive for both the startup founders and potential investors. The startup needs this type of early funding to prove their concept and build momentum, and it gives savvy investors a way to gain significant discounted equity in a potential rising star.

Other benefits include:

Relatively simple to create, especially when compared to the preparation and legal resources needed for later funding rounds. The negotiations around valuation can be deferred, so the founders can focus on initial strategy and refining their service offering
Early investors should receive discounts because they took a chance on the firm at its earliest stages and they then often remain as loyal long-term investors.

Some caveats:

With the discount, the startup does give the investor a bigger stake in the company compared to the same money received by other investors, but this early-stage investment is often required in order to reach any growth.

On the investor’s side, they need to look very closely at the startup to be sure they are not taking on outsized-risk. The risk involved is higher than what is reflected in the typical 20% discount of the convertible note. This simply boils down to the challenges facing startups to actually move forward from seed to Series A funding rounds. Less companies are able to do it as they don’t build enough momentum to warrant larger-scale VC money.

Another risk for convertible note financing can come if the convertible note is too large. The problem can come when it converts to represent a big portion of the next round, which might discourage other investors from coming on board because they’re limited in the potential equity stake.

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

14 Key Insights From The Lean Entrepreneur Author Brant Cooper

14 Key Insights From The Lean Entrepreneur Author Brant Cooper

The Startup Grind San Diego hosts monthly fireside chats, featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors.

The Startup Garage Team had the pleasure of attending Dec 10th event featuring San Diego Startup pioneer Brant Cooper.

Brant is the author of The Lean Entrepreneur, which supports organizations in jump-starting their innovation practices. He travels the globe helping to teach and educate entrepreneurs and intraprenuers,
through the simple objective of empowering individuals to make the change they want to see in the world.

We found Brant to be humble, entertaining, and very inspiring.

The TSG team couldn’t help but share 14 Key Insights we picked up from his talk.

San Diego Startup Community Verse Silicon Valley

The comparison needs to stop. We’re not Silicon Valley, we’re never going to be Silicon Valley. We don’t want to be Silicon Valley or we would be living in Silicon Valley.

Women Entrepreneurs

We’re one generation away worldwide from woman dominating entrepreneurship.

Women Entrepreneurs
are now economically empowered to start their own businesses.

Large Enterprise & Startups

Help Larger Enterprise by teaching entrepreneur skills. Make large enterprises value creation machines, so that they can give back new value to customers, as opposed to just being focused on wealth.

The Transformation to Value Creation Machines

It’s fun to be in a startup, but you can start being this way in a large organization too by being more entrepreneurial, closer to their customer, faster, and more agile.

College and Entrepreneurship

The real unicorn is someone who drops out of high school and hits it big.

Incubators and Accelerators – Mentorship

The biggest difficulty around the world aside from Silicon Valley and maybe NYC is the mentors, finding quality mentors that really know how to do startup mentoring is really hard.

Most Eco-systems are pulling people from large businesses, their heart is in the right place, and they can give great advice on a particular industry, but when it comes to founders issues, entrepreneurism, specific technologies, a lot of mentors don’t know what a startup is all about.

Entrepreneurship Best Practices

Top Ten Things Entrepreneurs Don’t Do…Read a Top Ten List.
The thing that’s overlooked the most is hustle.
It is the relentlessly pursue part that is actually going to make your idea a success.

We’re in a Customer Centric World

The rise of UX & Design.
The productivity gains we’re going to find are on the end user side.
You’ve build a satisfied customer experience, now you need to surpass the threshold and build passion, not with your product.

Crowdfunding a Book

It’s a great way to get a marketing budget, while helping build a community around the value proposition of the book. Be cautious, taking money from people that aren’t in your market segment is always a big no no, and actually dangerous.

Lean Principles

The idea around lean is the elimination of waste. Don’t waste your time, money, resources, creativity, inspiration in building products nobody wants.

Emerging Industries in SD

There’s a lot of people that think an eco-system can choose what industry to develop. Rather An eco-systems gets chosen, industries are chosen based upon who exits.

Entrepreneur Complaints

Entrepreneurs no matter where they are alway complain over a lack of money.
You can build your startup here (SD) and not have to move if you build out your business model.
You can complain about a lack of seed money, but if you build a successful business model you can raise money, bottom line.

Government and Startups

There’s a lot of mythology around the government money and innovation. The government even in the US has funded in some way almost all innovation we have ever done.

Startup Marketing

You should be able to see some organic growth that shows that there’s some buzz around the product, without spending any money on marketing.
Too quickly we’re into building the product and all the features, then now I need a marketing budget, and I need to spend a bunch of money on marketing in order to create a buzz.
Rather, the product better start the buzz, marketing is for amplifying the buzz the product creates, not for creating it’s own buzz.

Watch the complete interview here>>
Brant Cooper at Startup Grind San Diego

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

6 Reasons You’ll Want To Attend The USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference

USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference From The Startup Garage

6 Reasons You’ll Want To Attend The USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference

On Thursday Oct 8 2015 The University of San Diego School of Business Administration and the Center for Peace and Commerce proudly present the 3rd annual USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference.

If you find yourself sitting on the fence, debating whether or not you should attend this premier networking and coaching opportunity for entrepreneurs…

Here are The Startup Garage Team’s Top 6 Reasons Attending is a MUST.

1. The Financial Times recently ranked USD’s School of Business Administration’s MBA Program Number Three in the World for Entrepreneurship. An honor that undeniably showcases USD entrepreneurship know how.

The esteemed ranking is based on criteria included the percentage of graduates who created their own company, the percentage of companies still operating at the end of 2014, whether it was their main source of income and how the school and the alumni network helped set things up.

2. USD Entrepreneurship’s purpose is to empower change makers through entrepreneurship.

The event was purposefully created to evolve and sustain a community of aspiring as well as seasoned entrepreneurs/business owners. Ultimately, bringing together students, alumni, investors and entrepreneurs for an interactive evening of coaching and collaboration.

3. Anyone can benefit from attending the conference.
“The USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference is one of our biggest events at USD for Entrepreneurs.It is incredible opportunity for anyone who has ever had an inspiration to be an entrepreneur to get the “real” behind the scenes story from some of San Diego’s top Entrepreneurs.

Participants will network with people who have done it before and can share their stories of “If I started my venture today, how would I do it differently” and “What I would tell my 21 year old self”. Making mistakes as an entrepreneur can be very expensive, and an event like ULEC gives people the opportunity to ask questions, get feedback, and gathered some lessons learned from top entrepreneurs.

It is also a great opportunity to meet our current innovative students and the thriving USD startup community. social entrepreneurs who are changing the world and want to share their stories will also be on the panels adding a “changemaker” perspective” Regina Bernal, Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning

4. There is no cost to attend. It’s a completely FREE event, although space is limited.


*HINT sign up early to reserve your seat.*
When was the last time you got to network in a beautiful setting with highly successful individuals ready and willing to share with you their knowledge and insights at no cost?

5. Conference panelist include a blend of unique entrepreneurs, each with their own story and journey to share.

USD Current Student Entrepreneurs include:

 Nathan Resnick ’16 BA, founder of Yes Man Watches and Corked

USD Alumni Entrepreneurs Include;
 Alex Pascal ’07 BA, co-founder and CEO of CoachLogix

 Cody Nenadal ’08 BA, vice president of Silicon Valley Bank

 Lynn Hijar ’98 BA, ’06 MSGL, founder and CEO of iBz247

 Siyamak Khorrami ’06 BS, president of Skyriker IT

 Teresa Smith ’13 MA, CEO of Dreams for Change

Guest Entrepreneurs include:
 Silvia Mah, founder and CEO of Hera Labs

 Phil Blair, president and CEO of Manpower

 Sneha Jayaprakash, CEO of Giventure

 Ned McMahon, CEO of Primo Win

6. At the conclusion of the event you’ll leave with actionable deliverable information and results in order to turn big ideas into reality.

You’ll leave with 3.5 hours of solid startup advice, tried and tested by successful entrepreneurs.
Plus you’ll have a newfound community of entrepreneurs you can easily connect with online and offline #USDENTREPRENEUR for further discussions.

Now that you’ve decided to join us be sure to say hello to The Startup Garage Team!

Tickets can be reserved here>> USD Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference

How To Optimize Your Board of Advisors

How To Optimize Your Board of Advisors

Every company – from high-growth startups to slow-growth enterprises – can benefit from an advisory board if it is well-structured and well-managed.

Some of the obvious benefits of an advisory board include credibility for you and the company, domain expertise, and/or a well-established professional network.

This blog post will provide guidance for assembling a well-structured advisory board as well as management tips for extracting the most value from your advisors.

Assembling Your Advisory Board

Step 1: Determine Your Needs

Start by looking at the most important functions of your particular business, it may be technology, sales, marketing, financial management, daily operations, etc. Next, look at your and your current team’s expertise and core competencies to identify weaknesses and gaps.

These gaps and weak areas are a good place to start in terms of identifying the types of advisors that would be able to add the most value. Be honest with potential advisors about your strengths and weaknesses and how you are hoping they can help.

Next, get very clear on your short term and long term goals. Do you need investor introductions? Or perhaps you are looking to partner with a major player in your industry? Understanding your goals can help you better understand the type of advisor needed for your board.

Step 2: Determine Compensation and Level of Involvement

Most good advisors, depending on your relationship with them, will likely expect something in return for their time, network, and knowledge. While you can certainly compensate your advisors monetarily, the most common method of compensation is providing a minor percentage of equity (anywhere from less than 1% up to 2% or more).

Some advisors will be willing to commit more of their time, connections, and expertise than others. Before approaching potential advisors, determine levels of involvement with distinct compensation packages for each and present them with options.

Step 3: Passion Is a Must

In order for any advisor relationship to be successful it is important that they are not only capable of providing expertise but they are passionate about you and your company. Without passion their expertise will more than likely fall flat.

Extracting Value from Your Advisory Board

Step 1: Information is King

Your advisors are likely very busy people and you want to respect their time. However, in order for them to be effective advisors they need to be informed on the topics that you are seeking to cover.

Provide them with regular, scheduled newsletter style updates that are uniform, easy to digest, and highly informative. Be sure to set agendas for each meeting with a clear list of action items that you’d like to cover.

Submit the agenda a few weeks prior to the meeting with relevant information so that your advisors have time to prepare. During your meeting be sure to stick to the agenda and keep the conversations on task.

Step 2: Keep Your Ears and Mind Open

Your advisory board was not setup so that you could have a room full of heads nodding up and
down in agreement. The purpose of the advisory board is to offer alternative ways of thinking that you may have yet to consider. Set aside any presumptions you may have and sincerely consider everything thrown on the table.

While you should certainly ask questions and challenge ideas, you don’t want to waste everyone’s time (including your own) by not considering alternative viewpoints.

Step 3: Stay In Touch and Follow Up

Be sure to follow through on any action items that you and your advisors come up with during your meetings. This is not only a sign of respect but seeing that you are taking their insight seriously will encourage your advisors to remain engaged.

Lastly, be sure to follow up with your execution of action items along with any key findings or results. This information can be included as a part of your regular, scheduled newsletter updates discussed above.

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

How To Identify a Startup Co-Founder

Identifying a Startup Co-Founder from The Startup Garage

How To Identify a Startup Co-Founder

It is all too common that a business savvy entrepreneur comes up with a good idea but cannot build the product.

Conversely, there are many tech founders that lack the business and interpersonal skills
necessary to take the product to market, develop partnerships, and liaise with potential investors.

Many founders of early stage startups struggle with assembling a well rounded founding team as they don’t know how or where to find the right co-founder.

This blog post is intended to help such entrepreneurs through the process of identifying the right co-founder for their business.

What: Hire Someone With Complementary Skills

While this seems obvious in theory it is a common mistake made by many first time entrepreneurs. It is our human nature to gravitate towards people that have similar skills, personalities, and approaches as ourselves. However, this defense mechanism does not overlap with identifying a good co-founder.

Clearly, you need to be able to work well with your co-founder, but you also need to challenge each other’s ideas and ways of thinking, not to mention balance each other’s shortcomings. Start by identifying the job description or the scope of your needs. What are the major gaps in your skill sets?

What departmental roles are currently underserved or would add the most value to your business?

Who: Hire Someone That is Sufficiently Qualified

Now that you’ve identified ‘what’ you need you’ll want to begin thinking about ‘who’ would be the right person to fill this roll. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions. What are the skill sets and expertise required to execute this roll? What are the attributes that would help attract potential investors (i.e. experience growing early-stage startups, direct industry knowledge, credibility and track record, passion and dedication, and personality fit)?

What is the pay structure that will entice this person (i.e. salary, equity, a combination of the two)?

Where: Start With Your Network

Lastly, now that you know what and who you need, we just have to figure out ‘where’ to find this person. The best place to begin is your own personal network. Start by identifying any people you may know personally that fits the ‘what’ and ‘who’ criteria that you’ve come up with. If this falls short, identify people in your network you trust that may have access to candidates whom fit your criteria.

Clearly describe ‘what’ and ‘who’ you are looking for and ask for warm introductions. If your network or extended network does not pan out there are several websites and events intended to help startup co-founders meet one-another.

These sites include TechCofounder, Founder2Be, FounderDating, and CofoundersLab. LinkedIn can also be an excellent resource for identifying potential co-founders.

Finally, you can also work with recruiters that specialize in your industry or that do startup placement; however, these services are not for free.

Prepare Your Terms

It is important that you draft up a Founder’s Agreement that outlines the terms of your partnership with a potential co-founder. While you will certainly want to remain flexible and open to negotiating these terms, it is helpful to come to the table with some basic ideas surrounding roles and responsibilities, pay structure, ownership splits, vesting schedules, etc.

This not only shows the candidate you are serious but it also gives him/her the information needed to take the conversation from pitching the opportunity to negotiating the terms.

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

The Femaleprenuer: Exclusive Q& A with Four Influential Female Founders

The Femaleprenuer: Exclusive Q& A with Four Influential Female Founders

1975 may have been the year in the United Nations declared “International Women’s Year.”

Now 40 years later 2015 is shaping up to be momentous year for female founders, with over 9 million women-owned companies in the United States.

The Startup Garage interviewed 4 diverse femaleprenuers on the state of entrepreneurship today, practical advice, and what they believe the future holds for entrepreneurs.

Do you Feel the business world is shifting for female entrepreneurs?

Travis Loring Co-Founder ofMonthly Express:

I believe the world is shifting in general and gearing up for a major adjustment in the rise of female entrepreneurs. I feel that in this area of business it is more acceptable for a woman to start her own company rather than rise to the top of a corporation. Even though we have seen a dramatic increase in women occupying the c suite level. When a woman decides to start their own company, they are paving their own road, not conforming to a more traditional route with traditional ideals. This is true however for all entrepreneurs, so I believe it is only natural for women to take this path as well.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit:

Absolutely! In the past 10-years, there have been many successful female-focused businesses like Hera Hub, Chic CEO, and Geek Girl who empower, educate, and provide resources for female entrepreneurs.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech:

While there is still a huge discrepancy in the number of women vs men actively involved in business and entrepreneurship, I think that the increasing number of women in influential roles, like Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Lori Greiner on Shark Tank, or even Jessica Alba who co-founded The Honest Company, are role models who are challenging the status quo of a male-dominated business world. Because of these role models and the Female Entrepreneur support networks more and more women are seeing the opportunity in pursuing entrepreneurship. I think that the business ecosystem is changing as is the entrepreneurial culture, which is indiscriminately focused on achieving results , rather than following an existing business structure. Revolutionizing how the general public sees business, and I making it more enticing for women to jump in.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

Yes, I do feel that the world is shifting for female entrepreneurs slowly but surely. Regardless of gender it’s all about who you know. Networking is key.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

Success means travel. My wife and I became entrepreneurs to be able to provide for our family and travel. We wanted no restraints and no bosses. Both of us dreamt up our company on our honeymoon in Capri and right then and there decided we could do this. Like a Doctor or a Lawyer goes to school for years, we decided to put in time to grow our company for the freedom it could provide.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit:

Success is subjective to a person’s personality, and I believe a successful person is one that finds joy in what they do.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech
:

Success to me is creating something that improves society or helps people live happier and healthier lives, and being able to see the project from start to finish.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

Success to me isn’t the amount of money you have in your bank account, but it’s the knowledge you have gained. It’s cliche to say but it’s all about the journey.

Who’s your go to source for business advice and inspiration?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

My aunt Laura Slatkin, founder of NEST Fragrances in NYC. She has always been my source of inspiration, but now serving on the board of directors of MonthlyExpress she has provided me with guidance and invaluable advice. Being a successful entrepreneur herself is incredibly inspirational and makes me think less of the gender gap and more about just working hard. I believe that to be successful and or woman you have to want it. Also having like minded people around you for support and advice is necessary, no matter who you are.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit
:

Family, friends, mentors, and former business partners have become my pillars of advice and inspiration as I trek through this entrepreneurial journey. Different entrepreneurs have different personalities and styles. I enjoy surrounding myself with people who challenge me, provide a different perspective, and aren’t afraid to tell me the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular the truth may be.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech:

I don’t have a single person or source I go to for business advice; I like getting multiple opinions and extracting my own conclusions. With regards to my current startup, Meego, which is a simple motion-based security alarm to prevent laptop theft, I have been getting a lot of advice about how to from seasoned entrepreneurs and individuals, who have manufacturing experience from large tech companies. For more general advice and inspiration, I enjoy listening to Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast and watching ABC’s Shark Tank.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap
:

I have several female mentors around me. One is a good friend of mine and business associate Suzanne Abate, who is the Founder of MyTimeBlocks, she gives me the straightforward no BS advice that always seems to hit the nail on the head when I need input. I also am the director of a women tech organization here in LA that has also been invaluable.

What female would you like to see on the $10 bill in 2020?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

First let me say that there are many women who belong our currency. I do wish that it was the $20 dollar bill because it is a much more common denomination. Who really has $10’s in their wallet? Harriet Tubman comes to mind as well as Wilma Mankiller. I think often we loose sight of our countries history. Both Native American suffrage and Slavery (suffrage). We see our founding fathers all the time but we are hardly reminded of the very real struggles of our nation. I think it makes us forget our founding principles and keeps us hostile in many ways. A reminder of the fight will humble most of us.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit:

Any female! The U.S. is the largest economy in the world, and it didn’t reach that coveted position with a single gender, race, culture, belief-system, etc. Our currency should reflect the melting-pot that founded, and continues to push the U.S. economy forward.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech
:

While currency typically features political figures, I would love to see a female scientist like Barbara McClintock on the $10 bill. Her discoveries of mobile genes in maize were foundational to modern genetic engineering, which is hugely important in today’s most cutting-edge medical advancements. I believe that honoring a scientist on our currency will also show how important STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are in the advancement of our country.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

Marrisa Mayer of course! Favorite quote by her, “Search is an unsolved problem.”

What Is A Must read book or movie for entrepreneurs?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

“The Art of the Deal” this is not because of the author, but because of his relentless nature. I also read a lot of leadership books. Entrepreneurs are leaders, they are not bosses, or managers. Leaders have the ability to inspire and build confidence, it’s a trait I believe is within everyone but needs to be refined. My favorite book is George Washington,” Lessons in Leadership.” In this book Washington teaches us how to build relationships, think outside of the box, and not be afraid to fail. The book is not as straight forward as the Entrepreneur books that are out on the market today, but his lessons are practical and easier than you think to put into practice.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit:

I have read many books throughout my career that have inspired me to be a better student, leader, business executive, and entrepreneur. I encourage entrepreneurs to always read, and to read diverse material. Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, is a popular, highly-inspirational, and easy read.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech
:

“inGenius: A Crash Course in Creativity” by Tina Seelig–This book isn’t the typical ‘how to be successful in business’ text, but I believe creating something memorable, or being someone irreplaceable requires you to be different, and that’s where creativity comes in. This book helped open my eyes to concrete ways to encourage myself to be more creative.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

“Thinker Toys” by Michael Michalko, an amazing book that teaches you how to think about creativity and how to apply it in your daily life! Such a good book when you are in a rut and you need some inspiration! There are a lot of Aha moments as you turn each page!

Who’s in your business network?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

My network consists of a variety of people from tech geeks to beauty founders. Being from NY helps open my network and quickly, but living in Florida helps me make a difference on a local level. I am a past president of South Florida Interactive Marketing Association and that has absolutely helped MonthlyExpress get the right vendors in place to make our company successful.

Ana Bermudez Founder of TAGit:

Only the most amazing people, of course! Businesses rely on relationships (customers, investors, partners, etc.), and I enjoy growing my business network by becoming friends with individuals who are as motivated, driven, and trustworthy as I am.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech:

Dr. Jay Kunin and Kim Davis-King who I met through startup accelerators at the University of California, San Diego are my primary business strategy advisors. I also communicate with Mike Krenn, President of the San Diego Venture Group, for financial advice. I also have met with Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro and UCSD alumni, for marketing advice, and he has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about our laptop security product.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

Great question, in my business network are some of the most talented web developers, VC’s and entrepreneurs. I never separate work and play because I find it important to align all areas of my life with people that will stimulate growth. I never put my pencil down if that makes sense.



What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to other female founders?

Travis Loring Co-Founder of Monthly Express:

Be confident and know you can do it. You will fail a lot, and you will feel like the world is caving in, but keep going because it’s worth it. Be yourself too. Don’t think that its a mans world…it isn’t, its just the world. You may come across some adversity but chances are you won’t. And if you do, push through because thats the struggle everyone has. Also, be a woman. Don’t be a man. And don’t let anyone tell you to “man up” or “think like a man”. You are a woman so be one and be proud. You got this!

Ana Bermudez Founder of GetTagit:

Prepare yourself for one of the most arduous, challenging, and most rewarding journeys of your life! Commit to the process that it takes to reach your goals, and surround yourself with people who care about your success. Most importantly, enjoy every step and every milestone in your journey.

Delara Fadavi CEO and Co-Founder of MeegoTech:

I don’t think that female entrepreneurs need different advice than men; in order to be successful as a founder, you need to be working on something that you 100% believe in. Money should not be a driving factor in why a founder pursues a project; rather, I think that financial success will come as a result of creating something that betters society, and that can be scaled to make a sustainable profit.  However, as a woman walking into a male-dominated meeting or conference, it can be intimidating at times, and my best advice for these situations is to stand tall and be confident in yourself and your knowledge. I have sensed that it can sometimes be more challenging to gain credibility in these types of situations, but that’s why I think it is always important to carry yourself like you mean business.

Natacha Gaymer-Jones Founder of LegalTap:

Finish what you’ve started! So many people I’ve come across have amazing ideas but their execution is poor. If you really want to move up in the world and compete side by side it takes diligence, patience and above all heart.

Thank you to all the female founders above, as well as those unmentioned. We applaud you for your courage, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit..

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

4 Reasons Why Startup Week San Diego Is Good For Your Life & Your Business

4 Reasons Why Startup Week San Diego Is From The Startup Garage

4 Reasons Why Startup Week San Diego Is Good For Your Life & Your Business

Celebrating and participating in local innovation has never been cooler for San Diegans, thanks to Startup Week San Diego.

Located in the heart of downtown SD June 14th-20th.

This action packed 6 day event is designed to be the premier catalyst for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism.

If you haven’t decided to attend, volunteer, or showcase at the event yet, here’s 4 solid reasons why doing so is good for your life and business.

1.Cutting Edge Information and Education Resource:

Have you ever wanted to be in the know, while helping to create the future? Welcome to the innovation and information highway. #SDSW is the ultimate platform to learn from leaders in Software as a Service (SaaS) including mobile tech, consumer internet, hardware, and defense technology.

Here’s a sneak peak of a few speaker’s topics you won’t find elsewhere:

    “$h!T Founders Don’t Talk About” speakers Mel Gordon Co-founder of TapHunter along with Bryan Hall Co-Founded his own engineering services company, and David Warren CEO of the mobile app LIA, share honest, raw, and insightful stories from the front lines as a Startup Founders.
    “How to Launch A Product on Kickstarter” crowdfunding your business has never been easier and in some cases more complicated. 3 San Diego Startups share with you their journey and the how to’s of launching and successfully getting funded on Kickstarter.

2. Explore & Enjoy San Diego Venues Like Never Before:

San Diego Startup Week doesn’t believe in stuffy conference rooms or returning to the same boring location day after day.

The roster of venues includes: the newly constructed $185 million library, the Broadway Pier which is located directly on the harbor, Mission Brewery where craft beer is their passion, and a handful of cool Startup incubators and accelerators where you’ll experience startup work culture firsthand.

If you’re ready for a real adventure we recommend the “Startup Crawl” on Weds June 17th from 7-9pm.
Groups will trek or crawl to various San Diego Startup and Tech companies for office tours, product showcases, and samplings of local craft beers.

3.Exceptional Networking Opportunities

You’ve heard it before “Your Network is your Net Worth” Startup week promises to infuse a community of thriving business and creative minds together with fun relationship building
activities.

The Startup Garage Team recommends showing off your stellar networking skills at Startup Week Launch Fest on Sunday June 14th from 3-6pm outside on the Broadway Pier, featuring food, live music, and even LED hula-hooping!

4. Great Way To Invest in your Education, Yourself, and San Diego Businesses

Whether you’re an SD local or visiting for your first time there’s no denying the entrepreneurial spirit is thriving with in this beach city. There’s never been a better time to invest in those things that matter most.

All access passes for the entire WEEK tickets are only $50 per person, and current students can attend free of charge. And if you find yourself wanting to assist, and gain a more behind the scenes perspective, sign up to get involved as a volunteer here>> Volunteer

Now that we’ve giving you our Top 4 for Reasons to check out #SDSW, we hope you have the opportunity to enjoy San Diego Startup Week and all it’s unique offerings.


The Startup Garage Team looks forward to hearing about your experience at #SDSW tag us in your social media posts #TheStartupGarage and share with us any tips or lessons you may have learned throughout the week. Enjoy!

Building Online Brand Presence as a Startup

How to Build Your Online Brand From The Startup Garage

Building Online Brand Presence as a Startup

Launching a new high growth startup is a way to build a business from the ground up.

Whether you are providing content, products or even services to potential customers.

Knowing how to build an online brand presence when getting a startup up and running is essential.

Especially when working in competitive fields and making a professional name and reputation for your brand.

Build a Creative Team

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when building an online presence for a startup company is the ability to cultivate a creative team to work with each day. Having a creative group of individuals who are dedicated to the vision you have for your startup helps with streamlining plans and moving forward in the right direction in any industry or field.

Get Engaged With Social Media

In order to ensure customer retention putting social media and social media marketing to use effectively is essential. Not only is it important to share updates on various platforms but it is also vital to communicate and get engaged with users who are also potential customers. Ask questions, request input and be sure to speak directly to those who want to know more about your startup to build a proper reputation while getting noticed in the industry you represent.

Use the Power of Influence

Using the power of influence both online and off is another way to spread the word regarding your startup business. When you have team members who engage with their online fans and followers it is much easier to share news, information and even product releases with hundreds and thousands of users simultaneously. Utilizing the power of influence is also a way to establish a professional reputation, helping others to gain trust in your business and brand, boosting sales and increasing generated revenue and profit.

Host Contests and Giveaways

One way to help build an online brand presence for a startup you are launching is to do so by hosting contests and giveaways. Giving away free branded merchandise and relevant gifts gives you the ability to spread your company’s name to promote loyalty and to keep customers coming back for more.

Using social media to host contests and giveaways is another way to build momentum for your brand with the use of sharing and spreading the word with other family members and friends of the current fans, followers and customer base you have. Giveaways and contests also showcase your dedication to delivering high-quality products and services to those who want to know more about your brand and business model, ultimately generating sales and additional income.

Consider Fundraisers and Crowdfunding

Getting a startup company off and running with success requires a bit of capital, which is not always easy to obtain based on your history as an entrepreneur and any experience you have in the field you represent.

Consider the option of launching an online fundraiser or working to create a crowdfunding campaign to spread the idea of your startup while gaining loyal fans and supporters of your business and its plan altogether.

Crowdfunding could be an option if you are not familiar with taking out business loans or seeking additional assistance from venture capitalists. Using a crowdfunding campaign is often free of charge and provides you with total control of the amount you need to raise and what the money invested is likely to be used for in order to continuously build the products you want to sell and share with the world. It also acts as a source for social validation. If consumers are unwilling to buy into your big idea then it may be a sign to rethink your business plan.

Get Creative with Press Releases

Any time you have a startup you want to promote gathering the interest of the media and press is stressful and at times, nearly impossible. Crafting creative press releases gives you the ability to appeal to local news, international news stations and even online blogs and communities who follow startups and products that are relevant to your own.

Understanding all aspects of building a brand presence for a startup is a way for you to get more out of the potential exposure required to continue experiencing success. With the use of the right tools, marketing and communication it has never been easier to garnish interest while attracting potential customers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Guest Blogger
Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and entrepreneur.
Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international business conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.