February 27, 2006

Entrepreneurs Need The Glue Guy

Every great NBA basketball team has a ”glue guy”.  The Pistons have Ben Wallace.  The T’wolves have Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg.  The Showtime Lakers had Kurt Rambis.  The glue guy is usually not the most talented player on the court, but he brings value to the team because he holds the team together with his hustle, passion, toughness, selfnessness, and – above all — endless energy.

A few weeks ago when I was at my favorite burrito joint, I noticed the effects of a manager who is obviously his team’s glue guy.

The guy never sat still.  He was a pure hustler.  In the time that it took me to place and receive my order, he had wiped up at least a football field’s worth of countertop space, greeted and thanked every customer who placed an order, helped fill every order, mopped the floor and took a couple phone calls.  It was unreal.

The coolest thing about it was the effect that this manager had on his team.  Every burrito in the place was folded and stuffed by hands moving faster than a Las Vegas card dealer’s; and every employee did it with a look on their face that made me believe that they LOVED doing it.  These people had obviously been infected by a glue guy, and had thus become glue guys themselves.

Start-ups need glue guys.  You know the type — they come into the office ridiculously happy every day, sincerely ask how everyone is doing, and spend most of their time trying to make everyone’s job easier.

Glue guys can make their impact from anywhere on the organizational chart.  Our glue gal at FundingUniverse.com is a part-timer named Sophie Barth who comes in for two hours a day.  She immediately infuses the office with a boost of energy that leaves everyone energized after she leaves.  Nice work Sophie!

Bottom line: Entrepreneurs, go find yourself a glue guy or gal.  When you’re up to your neck in debt, on the verge of making your first big sale, or trying to forget all of the times your friends/mom/husband/wife has told you to get a real job, you’ll be greatful that you have a little extra energy — thanks to your glue guy.

February 22, 2006

Business Plan Basics

Most entrepreneurs look forward to writing a business plan the way a vegetarian looks forward to a Big Mac.

Let’s face it: It’s obvously not a fun-filled task, but it is obviously not an optional one.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs post their business plans on FundingUniverse.com with proposals like this:

“I have a fantastic new product that I just received a patent for.  All I need is $2,000,000 for marketing and hiring and this thing goes through the roof!  Contact me a.s.a.p!”

Proposals like this will not attract investors — no way, no how.

If you want your business plan to catch the attention of investors, here are a few things you can do before your post your plan on FundingUniverse.com:

  1. Learn – If you don’t know what should be in a business plan, its going to be tough to pound one out.  Talk to your local SBA, university business school, or check out the FundingUniverse.com resource centerSCORE also provides a lot of great resources
  2. Ask for help — Never written a business plan before?  Don’t worry. there are alot of people out there who have.  Network with other entrepreneurs and find out what has worked with them.  FundingUniverse.com has a huge collection of free sample business plans from real, successful companies.  Download a few and see what other entrepreneurs have done to raise money.
  3. Edit, edit, edit — Once you have written your plan, have at least ten people that you respect review it for you.  Get as much feedback as you can.

There is obviously much more to writing a good business plan, but these three steps are a good start.

February 15, 2006

The Deal

If you are close to closing a deal with an angel investor, the book Term Sheets and Valuations is a must-read!  In this book, Alex Wilmerding goes through the details of how to value your company and what to look for in a term sheet.  Of course, legal counsel in recommended — but if you are interested in getting a quick overview of what to expect, this is a definite read.