Search Results for "venture capitalist"

Apr 19 2011

Business Hockey?

Is your business on thin ice, 


racing around in circles,


bashing competitors in the


teeth, and getting nowhere?



If your answer to the headline question above is “YES,” then it’s probably time to pack up your puck and hang up your skates, or look for a different sport for your business.

The problem is not how you got where you are, nor is it –at this point– knowing where you’re going. Like extracting an accident victim from under a car or caved-in roof, concern one needs to be: How to get yourself out.

Entrepreneurs often dig themselves into holes (especially financial ones) while they have their heads down and are charging forward trying to make their ideas work.


The tendency is to grasp desperately at the first straws offered by the first investor who comes along and seems willing to plunk down enough rolls of quarters to post bail and get the new business venture out of the penalty box. Oh, sorry, back to hockey. (I never did like fighting with sticks, and on skates no less.)

The point is that jumping at an expression of interest from a venture capitalist, who may want to own 51-75% of your business is never a good idea . . . unless you’re a serial entrepreneur and looking to get in, make a quick killing, and then get out. And even then, it may not be a wise move. S~L~O~W yourself down. This is marriage.  

Venture capital (VC) deals are particularly risky if you know down deep that the business is teetering (no, not Twitter Tweeting) on the brink of bankruptcy (which is not always evident on the surface . . . and which many entrepreneurs refuse to accept or think about even when it’s staring them in the face!). 

First off, most VC professionals don’t make a practice of investing in incipient bankruptcies, so –even though our unprofessional federal government has proven that it thinks nothing of throwing good tax-dollars after bad business operations– a floundering business startup is not likely to see any real bailout options come along.

Unless money comes from an “Angel Investor.”


An Angel Investor might be Uncle Louie or Auntie Oprah or some recently re-acquainted long-lost college or Army buddy, or a wealthy next door neighbor who’s been watching the business take over the garage and who figures he can always foreclose on your property if a loan isn’t paid, and become a serious land-owner.

Before a struggling venture surfaces long enough to search for financial relief of any kind, it makes the most sense to look first INSIDE to see if overhead and/or operations can be trimmed or scaled back first without sacrificing the essence of the business’s product or service offerings. Note the word “essence.” (“Quality” and “Value” are variables.)


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Dec 01 2010

The Entrepreneurial Mind

If you think you have an 


entrepreneurial mind,


it’s probably because


you have no mind left!


Anyone in their right mind would hardly choose an entrepreneurial career path if, indeed, any sense of logic was to prevail on the ultimate decision.

Those who go to college and major in entrepreneurship, imagining themselves as the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Mary Kay Ash or Henry Ford should instead imagine themselves as job candidates for Disney World.


Entrepreneurship is not an academic pursuit, and any college that offers it, pretending that it will produce graduates capable of changing the world should have its legs kicked out from under it.

I graduated from The New School for Entrepreneurs. I have taught entrepreneurship in college and university classrooms, and in private training facilities. I’ve written books and articles on it.

Entrepreneurship is an instinctive, gut, behavioral attitude that is more often inherited than learned.


It comes with the territory of growing up in a family or home where some influential person (father? mother? uncle? brother? next door neighbor?) has made a living by exercising an innovative spirit and taking reasonable risks in pursuit of a burning desire to make an idea succeed.

People can learn ABOUT entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ventures and enterprises and mindsets, but people cannot be transformed into entrepreneurs out of thin air simply because they can complete some egotistical business flunkie professor’s course outline with flying colors.

Wouldn’t that professor be a successful entrepreneur instead of a has-been academic?

At one weak point in my corporate life and academic existence that followed, I actually bought the theory that entrepreneurs could be made as well as born. It’s not true.

Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs, and those of us who are not entrepreneurs should stop pretending we are.

The pathway to independent business success is becoming irrevocably clogged and impassable. Legitimate entrepreneurs are being denied access to big-time success by the tsunami of incompetence being churned out by so-called “higher education.”

Hey, who can blame those struggling academic administrator types? After all, the promise of delivering entrepreneurial graduates sounds delicious to the communities-at-large.


The implied promises of happiness that accompany the freedom of working for oneself are expounded upon.

The local media rise to the occasion of making it all look like an admirable life pursuit, and even sponsor entrepreneur award programs (no doubt as investments in future media advertising paybacks from the soon-to-be business successes).

The saddest fallout is that naive parents –who want to see Susie and Charlie Jr. succeed at any cost– swallow the whole enchilada.

Their kids see a clear opening all the way to the fifty-yard line without interference, and four years of partytime capped by an office or store with their names in lights and lots of free time.

They see themselves reporting to no one, and having the wherewithal to pursue other life challenges, like travel and sports and surfing the Net and dating and all that other stuff that respected well-to-do business owners do.

And all the time, they are with dollar signs in their eyeballs.

The trouble is no one thinks about the surprises of needing collateral to get a bank loan or the realities of venture capitalists offering only a sliver of interest in a highly narrow field of business interests . . . and then wanting 65% ownership plus immediate return of their investments.

Little if any thought is given to who’s going to support whom during the years of startup or of (ahem!) unexpected parenting realities (Hmmm, some do manage to make time for some non-business endeavors). 

Not a pretty picture. Nine out of eleven businesses fail in the first five years. It takes six years just to break even. It’s no wonder that people opt for thirty years of brain-dead government work, at higher pay than any comparable position in the private sector. You think some thing’s wrong with this picture? Maybe you should think about voting for a government with business experience next go-round?


302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Dec 05 2009

Startup Funding

Money money everywhere,


and not a cent to start with!


     Sure there are all kinds of venture capital dollars and small business loans out there. There are also slot machine, blackjack, horse race, football pool and lottery winnings to be had.

     Forget ’em all! REAL entrepreneurs don’t gamble. They’ve also probably learned the hard way to not trust outside funding sources.

     Don’t believe — for even one minute — that you can waltz into a small business loan package deal, government SBA, bank or credit union, and waltz back out of it.

     First off, unless you really enjoy building productive partner-type relationships with the IRS or motor vehicle bureau (and those examples are just for openers), reality is any government -affiliated loan arrangement will leave you so tangled up in your underwear that your business will probably fold while you’re struggling to get through the mumbo-jumbo paperwork, acronyms and legalities.

     And don’t you just love that the daily lineup of eager-to-please loan officers require only that you put up enough collateral to cover the amount of the loan … like your home, your sister and your oldest child? Duh, if you had all that net worth in your closet, why would you need a loan?

     If you think it doesn’t seem fair, it’s because it’s not. Business is not fair. Neither is life, so say those who have failed because they couldn’t get the loans they needed to avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure.

“Yeah, but I’ve got a great, earth-shattering

idea that will make millions, billions even!”

     Good luck!     

     Of course there’s always the mafia. Can’t find any around? Drive to New Jersey (apologies to my former neighbors) and just ask. You could maybe even Mapquest it. Then, you need only be willing to give up your life in return. Hmmm, not a bad deal: business survives; you die. Oh well.

     Venture capitalists want 45-60% control ownership and immediate return on their investment. You’ll be amazed how fast 180 days go by, and wait to see how much fun it can be having to get approval for a printer cartridge purchase.

     Uncle Charlie? Maybe, but probably not a good thing unless everyone else in your family is already dead.

     So, what’s a bright up-an-coming entrepreneur to do?

     Sweat. Work hard long hours. Believe in yourself and your ideas. Be passionate about them. Have a burning desire to achieve them and be willing to pursue your goals at all costs. Keep your head down and charge.

     Never give up. And when you stumble, get up! Be the posterboy or girl for TRUST and AUTHENTICITY and INTEGRITY, and don’t let anything or anybody get in the way of that! 

     Be single-minded enough to not be side-tracked, but stay flexible and resilient enough to make adjustments along the way. Surround yourself with positive people and cultivate positive thoughts and attitudes. Take lots of deep breaths. Don’t take anything for granted. Work it yourself. Sell yourself, and earn enough to fund yourself!

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Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS email OR $.99/mo Amazon Kindle. Branding Line Exercise: 7Word Story (under RSS). GREAT GIFT: new Nightengale Press book THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING

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Feb 28 2009

ENTREPRENEURS: This is war! Arm yourselves and speak out!

What ARE you smoking,


Mr. Woodward?


     Yesterday, an Associated Press writer named Calvin Woodward naively proclaimed that “Small businesses don’t create jobs!” What are you smoking, Mr. Woodward?

     In his astonishingly unprofessional, biased, gushing diatribe, he attempted to influence readers to join him in blindly supporting the terribly misdirected, partison-political “stimulus package” that takes direct aim at entrepreneurs…that seeks to cripple America’s small business owners and operators who account for the vast majority of U.S. job creation.

     As if that wasn’t insulting enough, Woodward went on to note that there are twenty million (20,000,000!) small businesses in this country that don’t even have employees. What an utterly ridiculous and misleading statement!


  1. What, Mr. Woodward, do you think the twenty million small business owner/operators DO if they are not “employees”?
  2. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  3. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  4. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  5. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  6. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  7. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  8. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  9. Where do you think new jobs come from?
  10. Didn’t Apple and Microsoft, as just two quick examples) come from one-person businesses that started in garages? 

     The United States of America would not even EXIST without entrepreneurs and small business growth to create jobs.

     It’s called Capitalism, Mr. Woodward. It works. It’s been proven. It’s called being careful with spending. It works. It’s been proven. Show us a Socialist agenda that works, Mr. Woodward! Show us that the doomed-to-failure stimulus plan is not a socialist tool to create deepening dependency on government. Of course it is. Every entrepreneur knows that. 

     And don’t you think the coming $13 a week more in every paycheck will be the height of disillusionment when a year down the road the unchanged tax laws will require employees to cough all that money (and more!) back up, plus re-tax small businesses to boot?

     I heard The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore (WSJ Editorial Board and Senior Economics Writer) comment today on WABC New York Radio that “entrepreneurs are capitalists and capitalists cannot exist without capital.”

     He explained for the public what all of us already know who run our own businesses: that entrepreneurs start new businesses and expand existing ones, and need capital investments in order to do those things. While some of these ventures fail, many (like the two examples above) succeed and create jobs as they grow.

     The so-called stimulus package does everything possible to put a chokehold on small business owners and entrepreneurs. Where does that leave us? Isn’t it jobs that ultimately stimulate the economy? Well, maybe not. Maybe jobs are not as important as many of us believe.

     Maybe we who own and run small businesses should all just throw our hands up and quit, and file for unemployment and foodstamps and welfare and other “stimulus” plan handouts. Hey, life would be easier, wouldn’t it?

     Oh, wait, I forgot, we can’t all do that because there wouldn’t be enough businesses around to pay the taxes to support these “spread the wealth” programs. And we surely wouldn’t want to prevent needy folks who choose not to work from having a chunk of change from all that wealth spreading.    Halalpiar

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