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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One Day at a Time

Each day I review what I am doing and trying to decide if it is working!  The questioning is important because it is hard to improve if you have no clear vision of what needs to be better.  Layering this questioning on top of any ups and downs one may have can make some days a real challenge.  During the down days, it seems like everything is all wrong.  On the up days, why should I change anything, it is great.  Somewhere in the middle is where the real issues reside.  Identifying those can be most important. 

Yesterday, a colleague commented that he had received a note from someone following him on Twitter.  The note was a positive affirmation of the contribution the colleague has been making in the life of those following him.  This type of information can be helpful as much as the info regarding what is not helping people.  Both self-assessments and outside input are great aids when seeking ways to improve.

By now you know that I have a Blog and am on Twitter.  Just this morning, I read a note which described why a writer blogged and analyzed whether it was worth the effort. I would like to thank Liz Strauss ( @lizstrauss ) for sending the link out for the blog posted by Mitch Joel.  His conclusions were interesting:

1)     It was worth while

2)     It improved his critical thinking

3)     He met people

4)     He stayed connected

5)     He paced himself

6)     It keeps him regular (committed to a timeline)

Oddly enough, it was this morning that I was questioning why do I Blog?  I have posted a fair number of articles in Startup Blog and in the Examiner.com.  I have made new friends and have had comments from several that have benefited from the posts.  I am often asked what I want and where I am going.  The answer is that I have no real plan other than trying to help those entrepreneurs starting companies.  I believe creating startups is an excellent way to stimulate a real growth economy.  Apparently the CEO and Founder of Starbucks believes this as well.   This is why he started a special program to stimulate growth of startups via loans which the American people can contribute to.  Actually, I like his plan a lot; since the banks won’t loan money, people can do it.

Coming back to my day job of helping startups, I have questioned how to get them funded. Many of the startups I work with need much more cash than can be obtained from Angels, Crowdfunding, or typical loans.  The funds and criteria for funds willing to participate in financing rounds in excess of $10MM for companies needing in excess of $50MM to launch a first product has changed.  The diligence needed has increased, the lower risk levels are needed, and the number of companies to choose from makes it a buyers’ market for the funding sources. The landscape is constantly changing along with the economic conditions requiring a continual questioning of what can be done next to be able to best assist clients.

The economy has changed rather dramatically over the last 10 years.  Nearly all startups are seeking funding and are having to work extra hard to find it.  I suspect you have figured this out by now.”  There are a wide range of avenues one can explore for funding and you really need to travel all of them.  The economic conditions will eventually improve. Until it does, you will need to get up each day and ask, “What can I do different today?” 

·       Determine if there is something you can do to make the business stronger and more attractive to an investor.

·       Look for those funding sources you have been ignoring.

·       Try to find corporate partners that may have interest in your business.  Maybe there is a deal that will help.

·       Possibly a manufacturing partner is willing to become a partner.  Or, a service provider.

The point is:  Each day, you should explore what you can do that day to maintain your positive attitude and determine those steps that can advance your business. 
  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon