Tag Archives: Entrepreneur
Fundraising has always been, and will remain one of the most challenging elements of building a startup for a first time entrepreneur. We have already covered how to answer some of the most common investor questions.
Communicating effectively throughout the process with an investor is also imperative to your success, even when communicating digitally. There are also many things entrepreneurs should never say to anyone, but there are certain phrases that people say to investors all the time, that upon those words being uttered, the meeting is instantly over, even if it officially continues for an hour.
Here are three things entrepreneurs should never, under any circumstances, say to an investor:
“Can you sign an NDA?”
How does anyone, in their right mind, think it is ok to ask an investor, or for that matter, anyone they are going to for advice or assistance, to sign an NDA? I can tell you as someone who meets and helps entrepreneurs a few times a day, that if someone asks me to sign an NDA, all I hear is “Listen, I want your help, but really, I don’t trust you enough to tell you what I am building so please waste your time helping me, even though I am not paying you, and even though I think you are a dishonest person who is going to steal my idea or give it to my competitor.”
In other words, asking me, or an investor to sign an NDA, is not only ineffective, it is highly offensive, not to mention, a waste of your time, but more on that later.
“I have no competitors.”
Any entrepreneur who says they have no competitors says it because they think it will make a positive impression that the whole market is sitting and waiting for their solution while everyone else missed the opportunity. The reality? Quite the opposite.
If you tell an investor that you have no competitors, you are either not prepared for the meeting and didn’t do competitive analysis or you don’t understand the meaning of a competitor. Alternatively, if you say you have no competitors, you might actually be lying to the investor and even worse, to yourself.
No matter which one of those reasons is true, saying you have no competitors is about the dumbest thing you can say to an investor and makes the worst possible impression.
Why? If you have competitors, if you have many competitors, other companies trying to solve the same problem as you, that means one thing. There is a real problem that people want a solution to, which means there is a huge opportunity. Others are trying to solve it? So what? Many are trying to cure cancer. The problem still exists and whoever solves it will get a Nobel prize.
“No one can steal my tech because I have patents.”
Oh man, when I hear these words mentioned by an entrepreneur, I genuinely do not know whether to laugh or cry. This is similar to the NDA question in that, even if you have patents or an NDA, neither of them will really protect you in the wild jungle that is startup life.
Think about it. Imagine you have a signed NDA or a patent for your technology, and a huge multi national corporation who you showed it to, steals it. Now what? You are going to spend the next 5 years of your life and the 30 cents you have in the bank to litigate and sue this company? Really? That is what you think is the most effective use of your time and money? News flash: It isn’t.
I know that patent attorneys might take offense to this, but in 2019, your defense or your barrier is not a patent or an NDA, it is execution. You don’t have to be the first to do it, and if others try to do what you’re doing, you need to beat them not on timing, but on building the best version of your vision.
Apple wasn’t first. In fact, Apple was told they don’t stand a chance because Nokia and Blackberry own the market. Facebook wasn’t first or last and Zuck was told he has no chance because MySpace has market dominance. And the list goes on.
Don’t be first and try to prevent others from entering the market. Instead, focus your time and resources on executing in a way that no one else can copy. That beats your patents and NDAs any day of the week.
As any entrepreneur should know, good sleep is essential to good business.
High-quality sleep sustains the energy levels you need to grow a company. It enhances cognitive function so your brain operates at its best. It helps you recover from grueling days so you don’t burn out . And it’s consistently linked to improved performance and productivity in the workplace.
On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation degrades your ability to think clearly, make sound decisions, perform at your best, avoid illness, and get things done without running yourself into the ground. Nevertheless, too many entrepreneurs sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity.
So what’s the antidote to this productivity-killing sleep deprivation? One of the best strategies for ensuring you consistently get a good night’s sleep is to create a sleep log. While that might sound like one more thing to add to your already-overwhelming to-do list, the effort pays for itself. Here’s why every entrepreneur should keep a sleep diary–plus how to do it right.
The Benefits of Keeping a Sleep Diary
It holds you accountable to getting enough sleep
If you don’t track how many hours you’ve slept each night, then it’s easy to start cutting back on sleep without even realizing it. Before you know it, you’re catching only four or five hours of shut eye in the pursuit of more working hours. You may be vaguely aware of the fact that you’re feeling awfully tired lately, but you won’t realize the full scope of your sleep deprivation unless you actually count how much time you spend sleeping.
Bottom line? Tracking your sleep lets you quickly identify when you’re not getting enough of it. This gives you the opportunity to course correct before things get dire.
It helps you identify obstacles to quality sleep
Speaking of course correction: Keeping a detailed sleep log enables you to identify the behavioral or environmental patterns that might be interfering with your ability to sleep well each night.
For instance, if you keep track of your caffeine consumption habits along with your sleep quality, you might notice that consuming caffeine after 6 pm consistently disrupts your sleep, while consuming caffeine earlier in the day keeps you in the clear. This allows you to curate your daily habits so they serve your nighttime sleep quality.
It provides valuable info to your doctor (if necessary)
If you tweak your habits to facilitate high-quality sleep but still struggle to fall and stay asleep each night, there’s a chance you’re dealing with a sleep disorder. In that event, having a written record of your sleep habits will be enormously helpful to a medical professional.
Handing over this written log not only saves your doctor time; it may also save you money that would otherwise be spent on diagnostic questions that were already answered by your diary. And if you do start treatment for a sleep disorder, the sleep log will let you keep track of whether the treatment is working.
All told, keeping a sleep diary can help you improve your sleep quality in a number of ways. And that has major ramifications for your cognitive function, learning capacities, energy levels, and productivity.
How to Keep a Sleep Diary
Ready to create a sleep diary? Keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Track how much you slept each night. Write down when you got in bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, when you woke up to start your day, and whether (and why) you woke up at all during the night.
- Track quality in addition to quality. Each morning, rate how well you slept the night before. You can use a simple scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing poor quality sleep and 5 representing very good quality sleep.
- Track lifestyle factors. What you do during your day can have a major impact on the sleep you get at night. Jot down how much caffeine and alcohol you consumed (and when you consumed it), what and when you ate, if and when you exercised, whether you’re experiencing any emotional stressors, if and when you napped, your daily activities, and any drugs or medication you may have taken.
- Track environmental factors. Note the temperature of your bedroom, the bedding you used, whether the room was dark or light, whether the room was quiet or loud, and so on.
If all that sounds daunting, don’t worry. There are plenty of sleep diary templates available, and they make it easy to track these factors in one place. (Not sure where to start? Give this template from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine a try.)
Keeping a sleep diary is one of the best ways to ensure you’re consistently getting high-quality sleep. And that is one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re trying to make it big.
PARIS (Reuters) – When Rob Spiro left San Francisco to settle in France with his wife and kid in 2016, the family chose a mid-sized city on France’s west coast over Paris’ burgeoning start-up scene.
At 32, the Yale-educated entrepreneur and former Google product manager had already co-founded two start-ups, including one sold to Google for $ 50 million in 2010.
In Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, known for its mediaeval castle and whimsical mechanical creatures, he sees the potential for a smaller version of America’s Silicon Valley, home to tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google.
Quality of life, not money, is the key, he says.
“What everybody in Nantes sees and experiences is that there are thousands of people who move here from Paris,” he said at his start-up accelerator, Imagination Machine.
“They’re looking for a better quality of life, but they want to remain in a city that is active and dynamic.”
His “incubator”, financially backed by the region’s biggest companies, opened its doors in June to support the launch of selected start-ups with seed funding and mentoring.
Nantes itself is part of the promotional picture. The city was ranked second after Bordeaux among cities where Parisian executives would wish to move, according to an August poll for recruiting website Cadremploi.fr.
“Here’s the strategy to become the next Silicon Valley: become a place where people, especially young people, want to live,” Spiro said.
With venture capital investments reaching new records in Europe, the competition to lure new tech companies goes beyond the three usual metropolises – London, Paris, Berlin – and now includes smaller cities that bet on their own mix of schools, research centers, investors and culture to lure hotshots.
Venture capital firms invested 8.7 billion euros ($ 10.3 billion) in European tech companies in the first half of 2017, up 21 percent from the year before, according to Dealroom. Such investments jumped 18 percent to 1.3 billion over the same period in France, putting it third after Britain and Germany.
The trend is now gaining further momentum, driven by high expectations for business-friendly policies under new President Emmanuel Macron and the uncertainties caused by the British vote to leave the European Union.
Nantes-based iAdvize has benefited from the boom. The company, which offers a marketing platform connecting customers to experts, closed a 32-million-euro fundraising in October.
It is one of the prime examples of Nantes’ success in the tech field, along with Akeneo, which makes software for retailers, and Lengow, which does the same for e-commerce sites.
French venture capital fund Alven has shares in all three.
Part of Spiro’s plan for boosting Nantes’ profile is inviting former U.S. colleagues to come and check it out. Julian Nachtigal, who worked as head of Spiro’s second start-up, signed up for the “French tech visa” available since January.
“I never imagined it would be so easy to get a four-year residential visa to the EU,” Nachtigal said, comparing Europe favorably to the U.S. approach under President Donald Trump.
“There’s a growing trend of people leaving Silicon Valley to live elsewhere,” he added, citing the high cost of living.
Within France, too, a similar trend can be seen. Gregoire Monconduit, co-founder of Atelier Rosemood, an online maker of personalized birth announcements and wedding invitations, chose to move to Nantes years ago from Paris.
“We hesitated between three cities: Lyon, Aix and Nantes,” he said. “We thought we’d be out of Paris for three years, it’s been six years already and it’s the best decision we made.”
A long road lies ahead, however, if Nantes is to catch up with Paris, where a 34,000-square-metre megacampus for start-ups, called Station F, opened in June.
The Parisian region drew three quarters of all venture capital investments in the first half of this year, according to accounting firm EY. The region that includes Nantes got less than 3 percent of the total.
Editing by Luke Baker and Gareth Jones
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Kahn became founder and CEO of The First Street Corporation, which offered web hosting, dialup service, circuits and support to clients. Kahn serviced the servers himself, developed the company website himself, managed and maintained the equipment …