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For aspiring and active entrepreneurs, financing growth isn't always a matter of taking readily available funding. In this article, Jeff Gordon, who founded two companies in the decade since graduating from college, says the entrepreneur really seeks the best "engine" for fueling growth, which isn't necessarily money. He offers tips for choosing from an array of monetary and nonmonetary options.
Entrepreneurs should cultivate relationships with outsiders who can offer support and advice, even though "mentoring," as it's often called, is typically considered an instrument of corporate career-building. In this insightful article by an entrepreneur who founded a non-profit organization to pair owners of young companies with seasoned business owners, the author advises entrepreneurs to seek help from peers as well as superiors and from several outsiders rather than a single guru.
Entrepreneurs need a "just-right" business plan, one that provides a measuring stick for fast growth without overtaking performance, writes this computer-consulting entrepreneur.
A formal business plan, often considered an anathema to entrepreneurs who fancy themselves "do-ers" rather than thinkers, enables clear thinking, clarity of purpose and a benchmark against which ventures can measure success. Included are a list of do's and don'ts for entrepreneurs new to (or bewildered by) the essential planning process.
When you get out there thinking you're the most important member of the team, you're headed for failure, says Wally Amos. The founder of Famous Amos Cookies found out the hard way that you can't just indulge your whims and let the chocolate chips fall where they may. How he developed a spiritual understanding, recovered his good name and started a new, more successful company serves as a great recipe for other entrepreneurs.
Businesses become more valuable when they have certain characteristics that add up to strategic advantages in the marketplace. Regardless of a company's ultimate objective--growth, acquisition or IPO--its owners can create, maximize and sustain value by driving it toward those characteristics. A management consultant explains the tools of his trade and reminds readers that price and value are not identical. Some factors, such as growth, are industry-specific, which is why new-economy companies and their stocks are fetching such extraordinary prices.
Founding a business was so much fun for three Harvard juniors that they did it several times--until they found something that worked. They begged, bartered and borrowed resources, with a little help from their folks. And, because they knew their industry and added value as managers, they grew their temp agency for Web professionals into a permanent, international leader.
When cash flow turned positive and profits started coming in, the co-founder of an Internet start-up sought his advisory board's approval for new expenses. What he got was a barrage of questions: "Where are next year's projections? What's your mission statement?" As the business grew, the board made sure it stayed on track financially, raising prices as well as morale. And when the company was acquired, everybody cashed in.
Financiers decode business plans, looking for the secrets of probable success. If yours shows a customer-driven opportunity that your company's talent, passion and skin in the game can actually pull off, they're more likely to be impressed.
Two hardworking entrepreneurs start an online publishing venture as a virtual company. They think they can communicate because they're wired. So, why are they always meeting at the local coffee shop? Profitable but inefficient, their business needs office space in order to grow beyond the launch phase--and, like parents, the founders have to get out of its way.
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