Zebraheard

Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into a business

Recent Paper Suggests Bias Against Female Entrepreneurs


When the topic of entrepreneurship is discussed the elephant in the room is often the bias against women entrepreneurs from venture and angel investors. Personally, I have not seen this bias. However, I am not naive to believe this does not happen.  Venture and Angel investors are human and subject to the same frailties and biases we all fight against. The first step in resolving any bias is to admit there is one. Everyone who is in the in the entrepreneurial sandbox is responsible to become  hyper vigilant so this does not happen. Bias toward any group is detrimental to us all. The below article describes a recent experiment which, although not conclusive, leads to concern.

Below is a small excerpt from the article which hyperlinks to the abstract on this subject.

“…a recent paper by Lyda Bigelow and Robert Wuebker of the University of Utah provides some solid evidence that investors are biased against female entrepreneurs.”

Here is the link to the full article which will give the reader pause and perhaps start discussions on that elephant in the room.

http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/02/are-venture-capitalists-and-business-angels-biased-against-female-entrepreneurs.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SmallBusinessTrends+%28Small+Business+Trends%29

 

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAPITAL FUNDING OPTIONS FOR ENTREPRENEURS


  

 

Dollars

Funding Your Business

As they launch their business entities, entrepreneurs frequently have trouble grasping the various types of capital funding they may be able to secure to run their business operations. The following piece explores several of the more frequently utilized capital sources and discusses the positive and negative aspects of each type of funding.

After you have concluded that your business is in need of external funding, you must determine which kind of funding source to seek. There are several options available to business owners, and all of them come with good and bad elements. Let us now investigate the available choices as well as our impressions of the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Per usual, it is my suggestion that you consult with your accountant and attorney with regard to these kinds of matters.

Bank Lending

Many refer to this as debt financing. Under this type of arrangement, you will be indebted to the bank for money borrowed. The loan terms will determine the amount of interest which will attach to the principal amount you must repay to the bank. Debt financing can be used at various stages of a company’s evolution, from its earliest days to the time it reaches full capacity. Different phases of a company’s lifespan will call for different loan terms, based on several factors.

 Positives:

* The business will remain under your ownership and control.

* You will be able to deduct from your taxes the interest paid on this kind of borrowing.

Negatives:

* Collateral is likely to be a requirement for securing this kind of funding.

Factoring of Accounts Receivables

This is an alternative which many fail to consider. This is an option offering you instant cash availability, though it will require or strenuously recommend that you sell a portion of your accounts receivable to a factoring firm, which works to collect money from your customers.

Positives:

* This is perhaps the quickest method of obtaining funds.

Negatives:

* Should you have customers who are unwilling or unable to pay money owed, you will be responsible for paying their outstanding balance.

Friends, Family and Acquaintances

This is an alternative in which a business owner turns to friends and family to provide money for their business enterprise, ranging from a small amount to several thousands of dollars.

Positives:

* There is no trading of equity for funding.

Negatives:

* Possibility of harming relationships with friends and family members.

Revolving Credit Card Usage

While there are surely cases in which a business owner managed to succeed through funding his or her operations with credit cards, this is, to my mind, one of the last alternatives a business owner ought to select. However, the option does exist, and the fact that it is selected fairly often merits further exploration.

Positives:

* There is no security requirement.

Negatives:

* This type of borrowing can easily get out of hand.

Borrowing Against Home Equity

Prior to the recent economic downtown, this was an appealing possibility for many. But, in recent years, this type of solution has become far less available. That is not to say that you should forget about the possibility altogether, but banks are sure to have fairly stringent requirements in place. At the time this article is being produced, banks still require good to superior credit in order to grant credit to applicants. With that stated, we should examine the positive and negative aspects of this solution.

 Positives:

* If you can gain approval, you may secure a longer term loan at a more advantageous interest rate than several of the other alternatives discussed.

Negatives:

* Your home is at risk should the business fail.

* If you have a spouse, he or she will likely need to serve as a signatory on the loan as well. You may think this is not a problem at the present time, but what happens in the event of divorce? What would happen with the loan? It is my suggestion that you speak honestly about this possibility in advance in order to avoid potential difficulties in the future.

Assistance from Angel Investors

Angel investing is a funding method which is frequently misunderstood or overlooked by entrepreneurs. But, if you can show evidence of a great concept, a solid management group, the ability to endure, as well as a viable exit strategy, it is possible that you will be among the 1-3% to win funding.

 Positives:

* These investors are ready with the money necessary to launch or build your fledgling business. The total funding amount will be disbursed incrementally. Different angel groups prefer different levels of direct oversight. It is likely that they will require a position on the company’s Board of Directors.

Negatives:

* You will have to trade a portion of your business in exchange for the investment you receive. What proportion of the business you must trade will probably be determined by how much money you receive from the investors and the level of risk they have assumed. Keep in mind that investors are concerned with making money. You must conduct an appropriate amount of research in advance. It is vital that you seek the expertise of attorneys and accountants before you enter into any agreements.

The Bottom Line

 It can be difficult and taxing to obtain business funding. This article has explored several alternatives open to entrepreneurs. You must always conduct due diligence when considering possibilities. After you have narrowed the options a bit, talk things over with your lawyer, accounting, business acquaintances and professional contacts. Remember that you have various alternatives, and do not necessarily need to choose one to the exclusion of all others. You must always make decisions carefully, taking all of the negative and positive aspects into consideration.

Author Box

Brenda Collins is a seasoned business coach with vast experience helping entrepreneurs launch and nurture new business enterprises. Ms. Collins’ background includes collaborations with firms of all types and sizes all over the globe. Most recently, she worked with a successful launch within the internet technology business sector. Focusing on business strategies and marketing techniques, she has collaborated with politicians, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors to help fledgling business owners secure funding opportunities.

Her interest in aiding business owners began long ago. She started as an employee in her father’s business while still quite young. “My background is almost entirely based on my experiences with business owners,” says Ms. Collins. She believes that the education she received while earning a teaching degree from the University of Cincinnati has been tremendously helpful in her work with entrepreneurs. Ms. Collins’ most recent project involves serving as an owner and founder of a web-based group named Zebraheard –Turning ideas into businesses. The Zebraheard group is an extremely valuable outlet for anyone contemplating launching a business. She is always accessible through the main social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Anyone desiring to connect with Ms. Collins to discuss business issues can write to her at bcollins@zebraheard.com.
 

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blown Calls Happen To Entrepreneurs Too!


Baseball - Great Game

 

For baseball fans, and especially Detroit Pitcher Amando Gaiarraga, a blown call can hurt. In his case it kept him from having the record book show he pitched a perfect game.  For entrepreneurs looking for funding a blown call by potential investors can be discouraging.  

If we are on this earth for any length of time we have experienced a blown call which may have kept us momentarily from achieving something spectacular. Notice I said momentarily.  A blown call can take you to your knees but only momentarily. It is how we choose to react to the blown call and the belief in our dream that determines if we go forward or stand still.  

Entrepreneurs must remember that very few of the businesses presented to investors receive funding.  On occasion investors can blow a call and turn down a business that turns around and becomes successful. Just as Jim Joyce is human so are investors. The key for the entrepreneur is to take what they have had to say, filter out the good and throw away the bad. Then you need to move on.  

 If your business idea is good and you have done the necessary due diligence there is an investor who will fund you. It might take some time to locate that investor or investors but persistence is the key.  

 If you quit after an investors group turns you down then, in my opinion, you were not cut from the entrepreneur ‘cloth’ to start.  Entrepreneurs I know are not quitters, but keep moving forward no matter how incremental.  

 Always…always move forward.                                                                                                                                                           

Shocked Entrepreneur - Turned down

 

I am just saying:  

After this was written Bud Selig ruled that the Jim Joyce call would stand depriving a young man of a place in history and sentencing Jim Joyce to a lifetime of second guesses. Rarely do we get a chance to rectify a blatent wrong. When we have an opportunity to do so we should step up and do the right thing.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kick Coffee- Write a Business Plan!


Every entrepreneur understands that the best way to deprive yourself of any meaningful sleep is to just think about writing a business plan.    

Entrepreneur Sustenance

 

You want to quit caffeine, then try writing a business plan. It makes grown men cry and the bravest among us to run for the hills.    

Business plans do not have to cause such discomfort. I believe they do because so often the emphasis is in the wrong place.    

One of the first questions out of a prospective entrepreneur is, “Do I need a business plan?” The better question to ask is,“ Why do you need a business plan?”    

Experts often cite the need for a business plan as necessary to present to potential funding sources.  And yes, they will require a business plan.  However, I strongly believe it is not the ‘end product’ that is your goal but the rigorous process in creating the business plan that is most important.  If you do the process the product will come.  However, I have seen prospective entrepreneurs focus narrowly on creating just the business plan and forget completely about the process.  The result is a sub-par business plan, and an entrepreneur that is far less prepared to begin a business then if he had invested the necessary time in research.      

If you do the proper research necessary, the result will take care of itself. You will have a good document, but you will be a better entrepreneur.  When preparing the business plan, always focus on how it can  help you become a better entrepreneur.    

By doing that, the rest will take care of itself.    

This topic could become a whole other blog, but for now I want to focus on this topic for the next couple of days.  Since it is a critical tool to the entrepreneur, I feel a few days devoted to this topic is warranted.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , | 4 Comments