How to Know Your Startup Idea Is Lousy

Sometimes Your Experience Does Not Matter

“We quit our jobs and started this company, and we would like your help,” said the entrepreneur and his partner. They are not recent college graduates. They are both smart, well educated, and about 40 years of age. They are married with kids, which includes houses, cars, and future education expenses. They left high paying […]

4 Questions That Reveal What’s Important To You

What kind of entrepreneur are you?

“The first thing I do with someone who asks me to mentor them is ask four questions,” said Alan Urech, one of the most dedicated and experienced mentors in the Atlanta startup community. Learning from Alan I was just leaving the Grace@Work Bible Study that met in the Atlanta Tech Village Speakeasy room off the […]

Why Communicating with Your Investors Is Essential

I haven’t heard a peep since we closed, I thought. There is always a flurry of activity associated with fundraising. The entrepreneur starts the process by putting together a presentation which shows just how amazing the investment opportunity might be for the investor. Dissolving Abandonment Fears The investors who are interested are then filled with […]

10 Critical Lessons Before Writing the Check

Blake Patton’s Insights for Early Stage Investors

I am a fan of Blake Patton. I respect him as a husband, father, community leader and friend. He is also this year’s local keynote speaker for the October 6th Atlanta High Tech Prayer Breakfast. Blake started Tech Square Ventures three years ago. In this short time he has: Raised Tech Square’s initial fund Tapped […]

The Single Most Important Factor in Choosing Investors

I was talking to Michael (not his real name), an entrepreneur who is interested in raising money. He is likable and capable, and people with money are recognizing him for it. He has recently been letting people know he is interested in expanding his business and will need to raise money. He is surprised by […]

One Thing That Could Radically Impact Your Business Success

“Whose office is that?” I asked the secretary. “That is Don Thompson’s office,” she answered. “Who is Don Thompson?” I asked. Sterling Software, led by Sterling Williams, had just completed the unfriendly takeover of Informatics General Corporation. Sterling was a $20mm public company, and they completed a leveraged buy-out of a $140mm public software company. […]

5 Critical Steps to Securing Angel Investment

“If we land this one customer, we will be cash flow positive this year,” Robert told me. Robert is a smart, experienced executive who started a business which solves a costly customer service problem. He is selling to the industry he worked in for the last twenty years. He has a great idea and knows his market. The […]

5 Essential Elements for a Winning Investor Presentation

“The idea is the most important element of a startup.” “Your product is the 3D representation of your idea.” “You should work day and night building your product.” These are a few of the statements by Sam Altman of Y Combinator. He was the first speaker in last year’s Startup School. (They are about to […]

Why Being a Successful Entrepreneur Is About Knowing Your Stage in Life

“We are bootstrapping this venture, and it is hard to do,”said a 24-year-old financial technology entrepreneur recently over coffee. “I can only imagine. The FinTech economic model is rooted in taking a tiny slice of millions of transactions. It is a great model but needs millions of transactions to work,” I said. Outside Capital Needed […]

How Do You Fire Innocent Employees?

And Get Those Left to Trust You

This is the second in a three part series on trust. “You have to do a layoff,” said Jim Porter. We were a fast growing company and an icon of success. In fact our byline was “We are success.” Cracking the market was exciting. We experienced amazing growth through market acceptance. When a market is buying, there […]