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What to Keep in Mind When Looking for Investors

Congratulations, you’ve decided to launch your company! You have an exciting business idea; you’ve thought through all the necessary steps to start and run your enterprise. If your venture requires more money than you have, the next move will be finding investors. This part is the most challenging. Admit it; you don’t have a habit of speaking with 50+ investors who get dozens of pitches like yours every day. The investors want to know why they should trust you, so show them that your business is worth their hard-earned cash. Every investor has his/her own approach to the evaluation of pitches. “Some do substantial due diligence before meeting (reading a plan, talking to people they know) and others granting a meeting without even looking at the plan at all. Some investors rely on their intuition while others crunch a lot of numbers. Almost all of them source carefully, make good use of co-investors, and focus on the entrepreneur and team” [1]. But, if you are a first-time entrepreneur and never dealt with investors, you may not know some factors that can be decisive for them. Let’s enlarge upon that point, following ideas of John Rampton [2].

1. The first factor that can discourage investors to give you money is a lack of potential success. Investors will be interested in your previous business experience such as launching a startup and whether it was a success, or not.

2. Trust is a must-have between you and investors. If they don’t trust your character, judgment, or leadership skills, it’s better not to start any mutual business at all. As the entrepreneur, be open to discussing issues and concerns regarding the company with investors. They want to know everything about your startup. Don’t worry; nobody is going to steal your business idea!

3. Character and professional skills of the members of your team play an important role in the business growth. Every investor will pay close attention to the team personnel.

4. A good business plan is crucial. An investor has to be impressed with it to invest.

5. A company that creates something new or has a new business model can easily attract investment.

6. Make sure you’ve chosen the right investors. Do research and locate those who are involved in your field before contacting them.

7. It is important for an investor to see that other investors are also interested in supporting your business and believe in your startup’s potential.

8. You’ve got “No” from an investor. Handle it properly. Think, what went wrong and make adjustments. Even after refusal, investors are watching you.

Remember, investors invest in people, not the idea. So, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Know your weaknesses and work on them. For example, if you’re afraid of speaking in front of people – learn the skill! You’ll need to present an interesting and clear presentation to attract capital investment. A denial from an investor doesn’t mean you’re a loser; this is just a temporary hitch. If an investor tells you: “Come back when you have more traction” he means exactly that. But, before you decide to come back to the same investor, know that there are 250,000 others in the United States alone.

Making Way for Community Entrepreneurs

Community entrepreneurs are typically groups or organisations that seek out and act upon opportunities to transform communities and create a positive impact on community values.

Why this is different to social entrepreneurship is that many social entrepreneurship models focus on individuals and disadvantage.

Community entrepreneurship focuses on the community as a whole and creates a sense of abundance for all.

Examples of activities can include:

• A new indoor-outdoor community facility in a built up neighbourhood

• A community focus on activities that reduce the carbon footprint

• Business attraction in rural communities

• Making strategic use of IT to connect communities

• Creating community identities through music and the arts

What does a Community Entrepreneur look like?

They’re in your community. They have a story to tell – a story that has transformed your community. Or they probably haven’t stepped forward to make their mark yet? Maybe it’s you. Here are some ways to spot your local community entrepreneur or even one in the making.

The anatomy of a Community Entrepreneur

1. Laser sharp vision

Community entrepreneurs have a clear idea of what they want to achieve – both physically and in terms of impact on the community. Their vision is ambitious and ground breaking by anybody’s standard. Their challenge is not just to get the interest and support of the community, but to keep the community patient as all good things take time to build.

2. Mind over matter

Bringing a new idea to fruition requires strategic thinking. People can be suspicious of anything new. New ideas challenge those who are slower to accept change. From the start community entrepreneurs think and plan above the fray.

Conserving energy to focus on achieving results, community entrepreneurs focus on big picture thinking. Don’t try to bog them down, they will find a way to move ahead no matter what the obstacle.

3. The language of change

To be effective, they must be able to understand and communicate well to influence change. These groups operate within the community so the change they are influencing impacts on them as well. They are already talking the language of the community.

Their role is to motivate and lead through dialogue within the community and get the support of stakeholders and other agents of change to achieve the desired results. Failure is not in their vocabulary.

4. Shouldering responsibility

Leadership is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Along the way others may want more control or will fade into the background when things are not going to plan. Individual personalities can make or break a community venture. At some point the group leading the project must step forward and own its responsibility, especially when it comes to finances, resources and process.

5. Maintaining a steady balance

They leave the knee jerk reactions to others. Negotiations require a steady nerve as they walk the tightrope of change. Navigating obstacles, ducking the slings and arrows of opposition, community entrepreneurs harness their vision and start with a goal and use a plan to get there.

6. Forward momentum

Community entrepreneurs are going places. No looking backwards for them. Propelled by positive energy that permeates throughout the community, they will succeed.

The only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt. Group think can get bogged down in dogma. Smash the chains once and for all and bring the dream to life.

Is your group the next generation community entrepreneur? Congratulations. There’s no better time to start than now. Don’t let self-doubt win before you begin.

The Community Entrepreneur is a company set up to support aspiring community entrepreneurs through the challenges and opportunities that must be addressed in order to achieve long term success.

We do this through our Entrepreneurial Thinking Coaching and Mentoring Program. We work with change agents within organisations as well as the whole organisation and support them through the ideas generation, planning and implementation of their vision or project.

The Entrepreneurial Benefits of Failure

The word “failure” has many negative connotations. As an entrepreneur, you have to get used to the word and to the idea that sometimes an idea simply doesn’t work. But this does not mean that a goal is not worth chasing, only that there must be another way of achieving it.

It is important that entrepreneurs learn to see the benefits of failure and learn to identify the lessons that can be learnt from it.

Further, it is important that we learn to be resilient: it is easy to be disheartened by a defeat and to become convinced that the idea is not worth pursuing. But no experience should be disregarded, no matter how unsuccessful the outcome.

Failure, in one form or another, is inevitable for everyone, but particularly entrepreneurs. The first thing to do when facing disappointment is to take account of the facts – don’t ignore what’s happened or try to put a too-positive spin on it. Be honest about what’s gone wrong so that you can you accurately identify the lessons and take action.

For entrepreneurs, not knowing whether or not something would have worked can be worse than failure. Thomas Edison is claimed to have said of inventing the lightbulb,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Whether or not Edison actually said this doesn’t really matter. The point is that someone did and they were right: when an attempt fails, we do not have the result we were looking for but we do have a result. We know how not to achieve something and that is in itself a lesson.

Failure has its benefits

For one, in crisis we find clarity.

When something is going wrong we are often at our most clear-headed and decisive. We are able to think critically and thereby better isolate problems and find solutions.

Furthermore, crisis tends to have the result of polarising employees. When things are going wrong, the strongest members of the team will be the ones helping in whatever way they can and coming up with innovative solutions. Those that are ambivalent, defeatist (not to be confused with realistic), or simply unwilling to help, may not be employees for long.

Defeat is an opportunity to be creative. Now you know what doesn’t work, you can approach it from a different angle. Most entrepreneurs are creative and resourceful thinkers who thrive on challenge and risk, and are always keen to learn.

Not only does failure tell us what not to do but it gives us an opportunity to start fresh, imagine new ways of tackling a problem, and acquire new knowledge.

Finding success in defeat

Although failure is not ideal it should not be seen as a black mark. Instead, consider defeat as an experience. Experience is what makes us capable in life, hireable on a CV, useful in a crisis. We need experience in order to succeed; thus we need failure in order to succeed.

Indeed, we could argue that an entrepreneur that has failed more has simply taken more risks. Indeed, Elon Musk said, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

We can see failed attempts as simply part of the process of iteration. In attempting to achieve a goal, we must assume that we will at some point fail. But failure is just part of the process. This is particularly true for serial entrepreneurs who, I would go so far as to say, would not be serial entrepreneurs were success always guaranteed.

Because failure can be so devastating, we often attribute that which is beyond our control to some individual flaw. The tendency is to take it personally.

Rather than being disheartened and discouraged, consider these questions:

• What were we trying to achieve?
• How much preparation was done? Was this enough?
• What was the approach?
• What were the problems with the approach?
• Of those problems, which are in my power to change, and will doing so change the outcome?

The answers to these questions will help you to construct your next, more successful approach.

In conclusion

Failure is only truly failure if we do not learn from the experience or if we choose to give up before extinguishing all other options.

Basic Tips When Starting an Event Planning Business

Is your entrepreneurial spirit kicking in? Do you want to engage yourself in the events planning industry? If you are, then this post is definitely for you. We will give you a quick overview of what you need to consider should you want to make this your serious business.

Know your Target

You might think that being the ‘jack of all trades’ is a good idea when you are starting your own events planning business. While it is important to know a lot of things, it is also vital to have focus. You have to remember that there are different events. We have the celebrations, education, promotions to name a few. Each celebration calls for different planning. You must know which one would be your forte so you can do more research on that, making you stand out from the rest of events planning companies. Engage in a specific niche that you enjoy doing before extending your network to other type of occasions.

Make Your Business Legal

Secure the necessary permits required for your business to be able to release official receipts to your customers. Being a legal business also increases your credibility as a service company to your clients. Registering business also protects you and your clients as well.

Building Contacts

Quite frankly, building contacts is never easy. And we believe one should be able to invest a lot of time building network. You should start from your family and friends. Tell them that you are starting up a business and would appreciate if they could refer you to their friends. From there, you can build your own potential clients. Just make sure your services are always the best so you can get the best advertising out there – word of mouth.

Creating Portfolio

Now that you have clients, never forget to document your events. Always have your camera ready to take snapshots of even the littlest details. Create your social media accounts so you can have a wider reach. And of course, always ask for testimonial from your clients and politely ask if you could quote them on your pages. Have a media kit as well that can be easily distributed as flyers to extend your services to potential customers.

Get Certificates

It would also be great for your business to get certificates. This is going to look good and of course, big companies would be more comfortable in dealing with you. So while you can, get certified.

An event planning business is a big business and opportunity you can explore. With the right foot forward in starting the business, success is quite easy to achieve.

Actionable Tips To Remain Positive As An Entrepreneur

Many people believe the main issue in their life is their income and that by changing their income they will change their life in such a way they will be happy. But first, you must change your mindset, while will then change your income and ultimately your life. It must be done in this particular order, much like planting a garden, to get the results you want.

As an entrepreneur, there will always be setbacks, so you must re-visit these steps on a regular basis.

1. Get Ride Of Your Addiction To The Outcome:
This is probably the most important mindset change you can make. It doesn’t matter what kind of business strategy you are using, when you are no longer dependent on the outcome, you can become more positive. This gives you the appearance of a leader in the eyes of your prospects and is exactly what other people are looking for.

2. Actively Work On Your MindSet:
How you do this is personal to you. You may find it by reading or listening to motivational books, meditating, yoga or exercise. Maybe you feel more positive when you talk to certain people in your life on a regular basis, or it may be a combination of many things. Whatever helps you remain positive, do it on a consistent, regular basis. This is something every successful leader works on all the time.

3. Stop Comparing:
Most everyone is guilty of this. Remember that everyone starts from the beginning. Every successful person goes through their own struggles. If you compare yourself with others, it will hold you back.

4. Keep Focused On Who You Want To Become:
This is slightly different from your why. Keep doing the daily activities that will get you where you want to go.

5. Learn How To Become A Happier Person:
No matter what, if you are generally feeling unhappy, it is impossible to have that positive feeling. You actually can become a happier person in general by developing strategies to overcome this. Learn to see things from another point of view and give up the need to be right all the time.

6. Quit Holding On To The Past:
Accept what has happened in your life and move on. Move forward. Things are going to happen and you must learn to simply move on. Learn to separate your business success from whatever is holding you back.

7. Smile! Laugh! Relax!
Give yourself a much-needed break from time to time. Have some down time and reward yourself when you reach small goals you have set for yourself.

These are actionable tips you can start today.

To become successful as an entrepreneur, you must first change your mindset before you change your income, which will have an impact on your life. Trying to go through these steps out-of-order simply doesn’t work. Once you change your mindset, the rest will follow.

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