What Not to Do When Pitching to Investors

You only get one chance to pitch your company to an investor.

Keep these things in mind as “WHAT NOT TO DO” when talking to a potential investor:

1.) Not have a business plan: If you don’t have a business plan, an investor is not going to believe that you are serious about your company.
2.) Saying you have NO competitors: Everyone has competitors. If you don’t have competitors, there may not be a need for your product or service. Keep in mind that competitors may not be direct competitors so look at indirect ones.
3.) Give a “Hearts and Flowers” pitch: Hearts and flowers talks only about the positive aspects of your plan. Remember to bring up the negatives too.
4.) Not being able to support your financial projections: Investors want to know how realistic your projections are and what research you have done to get to your numbers.
5.) Read your slides: There is nothing more boring to an investor than someone who reads directly from their slides.


Angel and VC Questions to Expect: Part 3

Management is KEY to any investment.

A “C+” project with “A+” leadership is often viewed as a less risky investment than an “A+” project with “C+” leadership.

Be prepared to answer these type of questions:
Who is the management team?
What is the experience of each person on the team within the industry?
What is each person’s success with projects/companies at this stage?
What key positions are empty and what are the plans to fill those positions?

Keep in mind that it is critical to carefully consider the team you are building to fill in the key management skills that are lacking. Friends and family may not be a fit.

Leadership experience matters!


Angel and VC Questions to Expect: Part 2

Of key importance to Angel Investors and Venture Capital firms is the size of the opportunity your organization/invention/service offers. An organization that is disruptive to an industry may be viewed as one with a greater opportunity potential. Of course, the disruptive technology/service will need to be proven before meeting with early stage investors. But keep the following questions at the forefront when considering the opportunity your organization can offer an investor:

How established is the market you are targeting?
In dollars, how big is the opportunity for your organization?
How fast is your industry growing?
Realistically, is your organization capable of being one of the top three players in the market?

Critical documents will consist of proof of concept and financial computations that support the claims you make with regard to the opportunity your organization presents.


Angel and VC Questions to Expect: Part 1

When seeking funding from Angel Investors or Venture Capital Groups, there are questions you must be prepared to answer on the spot. Keep in mind that some of these questions may be included in your business plan but others may not.

What problem are you solving?
How does your product/service solve this problem?
How much money are you seeking and what are you going to use it for?
Where do you believe the company will be in 5 years?
What is the benefit to us if we invest in you?

Next we will look at specific areas and other questions investors may pose.


Venture Capital Funding: What’s Important

Venture Capital (VCs) sources evaluate a number of factors with regard to investing in a start-up. Three of the most important factors are: Founders Experience, Market Readiness, and Potential Return. If any of these factors are lacking, it becomes increasingly difficult to raise capital through a VC. VCs expect to have the ability to review a well-executed business plan that addresses these factors. available domain names

Additionally, cold-calling on VCs is usually a non-starter. It is far better to have a referral or other social connection with a VC.

Other sources that may be considered if you are not ready for the world of VC investors are: crowd-funding and personal sources such as friends and family.


Entrepreneurship is…..

Came across this anonymous quote which is worth sharing:
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

Says is all!!


Starting a Business in Nevada

Thanks to Gina Bongiovi of Bongiovi Law

Starting a Business in Nevada
By popular demand, here is the checklist for starting a business in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City and Clark County.

1. Choose a name.
Make sure no one else has it. When you’ve chosen a name, move on to step 2.

2. Figure out your business address.
Whether you use your home address, a virtual office, or an actual office, you’ll need a business address for almost all the paperwork you fill out to open your business. It’s much easier to have this address from the start than to change it down the road. The Nevada Secretary of State alone charges $175 for an address change, not to mention the paperwork involved.
You can have a separate mailing address for most applications, which is handy if you want to use a PO box or your home address, but the business address is what will be public record, so choose wisely.
One final word on a business address. Many businesses somehow get away with a box at a mail store as their business address. Be warned that the city licensing bureaus don’t like to license businesses that just hang their licenses in a mail store. You may get away with it; you may not. Have a backup plan just in case.

3. Get an EIN number.
The EIN number is like a social security number for your business. With rampant identity theft concerns, it isn’t wise to use your social security number for your business, which is what you have to do if you don’t have an EIN. I’ve written an article on why you should have an EIN. It’s free to apply and takes only a few minutes on the IRS website.

4. Form your entity and get your state business license.
You may want to consult with an attorney as to the best choice of entity for your business, but here are the basics. You file the documents to form your entity, whether it’s an LLC, a corporation, or a limited partnership, with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.
You certainly can apply for a business license as a sole proprietor, but without a separate entity, you will personally be on the hook for all of the business’ debts and obligations. Maintaining an entity costs a few hundred dollars a year, but the peace of mind is well worth the price.
You’ll first fill out and submit your Articles of Organization (LLC), Articles of Incorporation (corporation) or Certificate of Limited Partnership with a filing fee. Then, once the Secretary of State has processed that filing, they’ll send you a form asking for your Initial List of Managers/Members/Officers/Partners. Fill that out and send it back with another filing fee and your state business license fee of $200. Once those documents are processed, you’ll receive your corporate charter, the official looking document with the foil seal that says you’re incorporated.
Now that the Secretary of State has taken over processing of state business licenses, you will receive your state business license with your corporate charter.
The Secretary of State usually takes a few weeks to turn around an application. For an additional $125 you can opt for a 24-hour expedited application. Because you need this before you can proceed, it’s usually worth the extra money.

5. Register with the Nevada Department of Taxation.
To apply for a business license, you must provide proof that you’re registered with the Nevada Department of Taxation. What license you need will depend on whether you’re a retailer, a service provider, or whether you purchase items for consumption from companies that didn’t charge you sales tax. The Taxpayer Information Packet contains all the information you need to get started.

6. Apply for your city business licenses.
Registering with the taxation department can be tricky, and so can getting city business licenses. First, where is your business located? If you’re in the City of Henderson, you’ll go to their licensing bureau. Same with Boulder City. The City of North Las Vegas doesn’t currently post business license applications online. Instead, you must request an application for your specific business online.
What if you’re in the City of Las Vegas? Are you sure? The lines that separate the City of Las Vegas from Clark County aren’t anything close to straight and make no logical sense. To be sure which license you need, check the Jurisdiction Locater. Look only at the Jurisdiction field, NOT the “Minor Civil Division” field which usually says “Las Vegas Township.” The Jurisdiction field will show you whether you need a license from the City of Las Vegas or Clark County.
What if your business is mobile? If you’re a plumber, carpet cleaner, mobile detailer or other business that services the entire valley, you’ll need a license from every jurisdiction in which you plan to do business. This can be cumbersome, time consuming, and expensive. I sometimes stare out the window, envisioning a world in which you can apply for all your licenses in one location with one application, but until that day, be prepared to do some paperwork.
Have a home based business? Most jurisdictions will require you to fill out a Home Occupation Permit which requires you to acknowledge that you’re either the owner of the home or someone allowed to do business there. Because residential zoning is, well, residential, you’ll have to promise that you won’t create a traffic jam having people park in front of your house and you won’t start hanging neon signs outside your front door advertising your business. Your neighbors would NOT be happy. If you live in a homeowner’s association, be sure to check your CC&Rs to make sure you can list your home address as a business.
The cost of your business license varies with the jurisdiction and the type of business it is. Some businesses even require background checks and those licenses are usually far more expensive.
Don’t forget that it’s your entity that’s applying for the business license, not you as an individual. So, it’s ABC, LLC applying for the license, not Joe Jones. It’s very important that you remain consistent with your business name. Don’t get lazy and leave off the LLC when listing your business name. On ALL official documents, you must list the entire name of your business, INCLUDING the entity. The entity is part of the official name of your business. Be sure you use it, otherwise you will create a snafu across agencies that is a real chore to untangle.

7. Do you need a fictitious firm name?
A fictitious firm name, or a DBA, is required if you’re doing business in a name other than the one registered with the Secretary of State. So if you’re ABC, LLC but the name of your company is Joe’s Lawn and Pool Service, you’ll need to file a fictitious name form with Clark County. Then, whenever you’re asked for the name of your company on an official form, like a contract, you’ll want to list it as “ABC, LLC dba Joe’s Lawn and Pool Service.”

Are you exhausted yet? Great, because now that you’ve jumped through all the hoops, it’s time to actually DO some business! Good luck!