Today’s business climate revolves around innovation and new product development, so entrepreneurs increasingly need support from venture capitalists. The individual entrepreneur’s problem is determining how to stand out in a sea of other impassioned visionaries.
The flipside of the growth in entrepreneurship is an unprecedented increase in the competition for funding. So, to catch a VC’s attention you need more than just a good idea. But how do you hook and reel in bankers and other investors, and convince them in to fund your venture when the competition is so steep? Your edge may simply come down to your pitch. Its content and its delivery may matter even more than your product or service itself.
Of course, a strong “advanced elevator pitch” requires a working prototype and a strong presentation,” but what else do you need?
First, make sure your PowerPoint presentation follows author Guy Kawasaki’s oft-quoted 10/20/30 rule? (that is, 10 slides, lasting no more than 20 minutes, and containing no font smaller than 30 points.)
To get the scoop on pitching to VC’s, we turned to two well-regarded speakers, both leading authorities on gaining start-up funding. Kawasaki himself and David S. Rose, who offer their top tips on pitching a VC:
BusinessWeek calls David S. Rose a “world conquering entrepreneur;” he calls himself the “pitch coach.” He’s an investor who has raised millions in venture capital and invested millions in more than 75 pioneering tech start-ups. His top tips on how to pitch venture capitalists successfully include:
Top Tip # 1: Entrepreneurs themselves are the most important aspect of any business investment. They must display as many of the following characteristics as possible: integrity, enthusiasm, experience, expertise, skillfulness, leadership, commitment, vision, realism, and willingness to learn.
We’ve scoured the web – starting with our library from 2013, and then turning to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, and other best-seller lists and more – to uncover the leading business page-turners of 2013. We found some great contenders, so compiling a top-5 list was pretty tricky. We wound up putting it to a good, old-fashioned in-office vote. So, here, the getAbstract office team’s top reads from last year:
Jonah Berger’s Contagious itself became, well, contagious during the warmer months of 2013. The best-selling, easy-to-read sales and marketing manual takes a look at why some products and ideas catch on and others don’t. Using a plethora of entertaining stories, Berger explains and demonstrates the how and why of a very modern concept: viral marketing.
Sandberg’s Lean In was the other much-hyped business book of 2013. As COO of Facebook, Sandberg explores the role of women in the workplace. Using anecdotes, exploration and factual information, Sandberg lays out the case for professional women, helping them make their voices heard and achieve their career goals. At its very core, Lean In explains that women need to break down societal and personal barriers to strive for – and lean into – leadership roles and to create more equitable opportunities for everyone. As Sandberg says, “A truly equal world would be one where woman ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”
It can be all too easy for leaders to settle into familiar patterns and habits over the years. But if you haven’t looked up from your hectic schedule and evaluated areas where you could stand to improve, you might be stuck in a leadership rut. So even if you’re wary of personal New Year’s resolutions, consider entering 2014 with a focus on leadership resolutions that can strengthen your entire organization.
Forbes shares four common pain points that leaders often struggle with: becoming more thoughtful, focusing on employee benefits, transforming talent recruitment and investing in continuing education. These measures not only address frequently overlooked areas, but they directly drive improvements in employee satisfaction and retention rates, which can, in turn, fuel organizational stability and long-term success. To learn more about these four leadership resolutions, read the full article here
How many meetings leave you feeling as if nothing was achieved? The meeting did not achieve its purpose; the people who attended did not meet their goals. In essence, it was just a time-wasting conversation and you would have rather been at your desk, answering the pile-up of emails and tending to your work.
If you find yourself trapped in the hamster wheel of hapless meetings, you’ll empathize with Jason Fried’s TED talk, Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work. He discusses the time wasted at meetings that don’t move projects along and that serve only to prevent people from working.
Given that such meetings are the traditional course of business, how do you get out of the rut and find a more effective vehicle for communication and project development? Turn to Martin Murphy’s book No More Pointless Meetings.
Murphy proposes a technique called Workflow Management. First, managers assign a facilitator to run meetings. Facilitators choreograph workflow sessions to assure that the group is collaborative, productive and efficient. The impartial facilitators assume responsibility only for process – not the meeting’s content. They do not join in the discussion, instead, they use separate content (the focus and purpose of the meeting) from process (the logistics of the meeting: place, seating layout, tone, energy level, numbers and types of attendees). Surprisingly, Murphy suggests that meetings are more effective when a junior ranking member officiates.
Clay Shirky author of the business book “Cognitive Surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age” and of the Ted Talk “How Cognitive Surplus will change the world” coined the term “Cognitive Surplus” to “describe the free time that people have…to engage in collaborative activities” particularly online. People worldwide are allocating their free time to connecting with each other instead of passively watching TV alone. Fueled by enthusiasm and passion, they are using their creative energy outside of work to fulfill social goals, not economic ones.
Shirky, a social media theorist and technology optimist, sees Cognitive Surplus as part of a positive evolution. “Now, we have technology that allows us to create, not just consume,” he says, urging former couch potatoes to take advantage of new opportunities to make a difference. “The wiring of humanity lets us treat free time as a shared global resource, and lets us design new kinds of participation and sharing that take advantage of that resource.” This new resource means that “every year there are a trillion hours of participatory value up for grabs.”
The trend toward online collaboration is emerging as the Internet shifts from “old technology“ to “new technology.” Old technology locked users within specific systems, while new technology embraces openness and chaos. As it matures, it lets its users develop their own rules and protocols. New technology is very effective at coordinating people with different skill sets and competencies in many different places. The Internet now lets individuals pool their Cognitive Surplus to accomplish major goals at minimal cost in a variety of areas, including software development, content creation, art, design, entertainment, crisis management, and much more.
Even though Cognitive Surplus has social ramifications, it doesn’t always focus on making the world a better place. Even the LOL Cats Shirky says represents a joint effort. “Even the stupidest collaboration still shows that they’ve tried something.” It’s all part of a selection and learning process, wherein “the gap between doing nothing and doing something often provides the freedom to experiment with the creation of junk.” Individual motives don’t always have to be noble. LOL Cats are just a stepping stone to better things. He likens LOL Cats to the events that followed the invention of the printing press, when erotic novels got published before scientific journals. So, don’t worry if your kids are addicted to LOL cats; in the grand scheme of things, it is for the greater good.
If you are looking for a solution to a problem, chances are that someone has already found it and might already be sharing it with the rest of the world. You might even be able to access an online tutorial detailing the steps to follow to implement that solution. And, if no one has looked for a solution yet, a community of experts awaits on line to research your problem for you. People online constantly ask, “How do I do this?” or “Is this possible?” Those who freely share their solutions are fueling a virtuous circle of improvements and building in an accumulation of knowledge.
You have already started a blog with the intent of making it your job. You provide relevant information and views on important topics. You blog frequently and people are returning to your site for information or entertainment. Your blog entries now rank in Search Engines and drive new visitors to your website. You can measure the results of your efforts with your blog’s PageRank and Domain Authority. Personally, you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your “community” or industry. In short, you have found your niche. You have successfully launched your own blog. So what’s the problem? Well, you can’t make a living with it, at least, not yet.
So, how do you monetize your blog, the traffic it draws and your blogging skills? How do earn money from your blog without compromising its content or your integrity? Charlie White and John Biggs, authors of “Blogger Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog” – offer some valuable insights that inspired the following tips:
The donate button is popular among bloggers whose site’s traffic volume is not sufficient to be monetized any other ways. PayPal, the most commonly utilized service for this purpose, may have been overused. Donations work only if your blog is connected to a charity or a worthy cause. Without that strong connection, asking for donations does not work. The online audience has gotten tired of seeing buttons that say “buy me a beer” or coffee, and that killed the random personal donation button.
One of the world’s most prestigious financial conferences, The Buttonwood Gathering brings together leaders in economics, finance, government and business. Thought leaders such as Alan Greenspan, Mohamed El-Erian and Robert Shiller discuss important developments surrounding global finance. The conference marked the perfect occasion for us to introduce this exciting new offering, in part because the getAbstract team began their initial stages of development for the product just one year ago at The Buttonwood Gathering 2012.
New York, NY, October 29, 2013: At today’s Buttonwood Conference, getAbstract AG and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) unveiled Compressed Finance, a new mobile knowledge platform that aims to curate and compress the world’s most salient economic reports and outlooks, as well as country and industry profiles.
The increasing complexity of today’s global economy makes access to the right information essential for finance experts who need to make intelligent decisions. However, these leaders are often confronted with information overload and time constraints.
Drawing on its 15 years’ experience as a leader in the compressed knowledge field, getAbstract fills business professionals’ need for current and accessible financial and economic knowledge. Working together to create Compressed Finance, getAbstract and The EIU curate the most relevant content from renowned institutions – such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum, the Brookings Institute, the European Central Bank, and many more. getAbstract then compresses the information into concise two- or five-page summaries, which customers can access online via their PCs and mobile devices (Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry). The new Compressed Finance platform is available to subscribers on www.getabstract.com.
Thomas Bergen, CEO of getAbstract AG says, “Providing managers worldwide with relevant and easy-to-access business knowledge has been getAbstract’s goal since its foundation 15 years ago. In the aftermath of the recent economic crisis, partnering with The Economist Intelligence Unit to provide decision makers with compressed financial reports, outlooks and profiles from experts was the next logical step and an excellent addition to our growing library of compressed business.”
“If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them” (Forbes.com)
Organizations implement leadership programs to expand their employees’ competencies, skills and abilities to execute current and future business objectives. A development program should teach leaders to drive performance effectively and to help their teams excel.
Your corporate goal is to build a pool of talented people who can lead your workforce and who can generate business improvement, innovation and profits.
Great leaders gain a lot of their knowledge by accumulating years of experience, but good organizations accelerate their leaders’ professional growth by investing in programs that develop their skills. Of course, human resource senior managers need to know how to plan their companies’ leadership development efforts and how to measure, track and evaluate how well each programming investment meets its goals.
In his book “Give and Take,” author Adam Grant makes the case that most successful people are Givers. He warns, however, that “knowing how to build on ‘the strength of giving won’t necessarily ensure success,” and provides techniques so that Givers can prosper without negatively impacting themselves. His underlying assumption is that Givers seek opportunities to help others unselfishly create meaning at work and in their life. They find satisfaction and recognition by sharing information and their expertise with their network. Their Archilles’ heel is their trusting nature, which exposes them.
What can individuals and corporations do to foster a culture of giving? What are five ways Givers can prosper while protecting themselves from issues such as disappointment and burnout?
Givers and corporations need to protect themselves from Takers. Takers have a disastrous impact on teamwork and collaboration. As Adam Grant explains, “Takers are fakers.” Takers communicate by dominating others. Typically, they want all the credit for someone else’s work or ideas. While their communication style, lack of openness and curiosity is not conducive to creativity or innovation, perhaps most damaging of all is that they deter others from contributing or sharing information by spoiling the reason why Givers decide to participate in the first place.