Are Entrepreneurs Picasso’s?

Are we all Picasso’s at heart? An artist has a vision and then takes to the canvas. They put their emotions and heart into the pieces they create. Artists allow themselves to be vulnerable. They take risks. Entrepreneurs take risks as well. So, are we too artists? In this video, best selling author, Seth Godin challenges us to go outside our comfort zone and become vulnerable in business.

The Wise Willow

20131105-233924.jpg Pocahontas talked to a wise old willow tree for advice. Should she choose the smoothest course or the one with twists and turns? She didn’t know so she sought the advice of someone more experienced. Wisdom is priceless. It’s always a great opportunity when we can listen to the advice of those who have succeeded down the road we’re traveling on. This blog post is an add on to my previous one. I found a great video on Stanford University’s website. They have a section called ECorner, Stanford University’s Entrepreneur Corner @ http://ecorner.stanford.edu. It’s an hour long video but it’s filled with great information on angel investors. In the video, experienced angel investors, Ron Conway and Mike Maples talk about the ins and outs of angel investors. Ron Conway is the founder of Angel Investors LP. Mike Maples is the founder of Maples Investments. The two discuss how angel investors determine which opportunities they’ll take. They talk about how they provide assistance to entrepreneurs and turn new businesses into bigger ones. A great topic they look into to is how to manage your money after you have it. The video is about an hour long. It’s priceless information from real investors. Hope it helps. Video Link: http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1902 photo credit: Stephh922 via photopin cc

Bibbidi-Bobbidi… Investor?

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Wouldn’t it be grand if we all had fairy godmothers?  All our worries would be wiped away with a flick of her wrist.  Cinderella was a girl down on her luck.  She ‘d lost everything.  She had no income to invest in the business of “herself”.  She worked odd jobs scrubbing floors here and there but found herself in a one bedroom apartment with a view of everything she wished she had. Then one day an opportunity presented itself and she thought, “If I could just get there, I could network with the right people.” Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned and she found herself back on the inside looking out of her rodent (albeit helpful as they were) infested abode. Not everyone has the means to invest in their own business or wants to risk taking out a business loan. Sometimes it seems that we continue to meet dead ends. However, like Cinderella there’s hope for those who continue to dream on a tin can budget. Angel investors are individuals who have the start up capital to help new businesses. They do so typically in exchange for some level of ownership or convertible debt. There are several sites on the internet that cater to these types of investors. You can upload your business plan and hopefully link up with an investor. Uploading your plan to multiple sites will help increase your chances and you may instead have a few offers to choose from. Below is a link for a sample angel investor site located in New York. Cinderella found luck with a fairy godmother. Angel investor sites are worth looking into because you may just find yourself cashing in at the bibbidi-bobbidi-bank.

Link: http://newyorkangels.com/index.html

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Alex in Wonderland

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Now, Alice is a girl I can relate to. She saw a clothed white rabbit followed it and found herself falling down a rabbit hole. Ladies and gentlemen, I fear I have found myself in a rabbit hole. I started writing out my business plan. Writing a business plan is fairly straight forward. However, it forces you to really conceptualize your business. As I write to you from my rabbit hole, I would like to share that this can be very challenging. Personally, I thought that I had planned every detail of my business but the more I dive into my business plan the more cracks I find. The process forces you to be very specific about what you want to do. Every idea seems great when looked at in a broad light but it’s the microscopic details that make for a lasting business. There are a lot of tools online that can help you formulate your plan. I’ve chosen to use an app that outlines what I need to put in my plan. I find this extremely helpful because I don’t have to search online for what I should add. A little Cheshire Cat hipped me to Business Plan Premier. They were featured on entrepreneur.com and Business News Daily. Also, the app gives you exposure once you’ve completed it by showing it to possible investors. You can find it in your iTunes Store for those of you who are apple users. There is a small fee, however, there are also apps you can use that are free. I love the idea of writing a plan this way because it’s innovative. I can work on my business plan anywhere and anytime. It also exports your plan as a pre-formatted word document. These kinds of tools are priceless for people like me that are new to the business game. I hope you find this helpful. As for me, it’s back to shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.

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Rumpelstiltskin Needed a Trademark

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Rumpelstiltskin was a man who knew the importance of a name.  He had many talents.  He could spin straw into gold and one day he offered to help a poor millers daughter being held in captivity.  However, he had a few strings attached.   She could use his services just not his name.  As long as he controlled the use of his name he retained his power.  You should always protect your identity in your personal and business life.  In business, you do so by having a trademark.  You can get a trademark for around $300.  Trademarks protect names, symbols, words and logos that distinguish your business from other businesses.  You’ll have to first do your research to make sure that the name isn’t already taken.  I’m in the process of applying for a trademark.  Once I finish the application process,  I will blog about the wait time and response I receive.  There are several sites on-line that offer you trademarks but in my opinion it is safer to go to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  As for Rumpelstiltskin, his empire crumbled with one word from the millers daughter, “Rumpelstiltskin!” I guess he should have had a trademark.

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Goldilocks and the Legal System

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Goldilocks was a girl who decided to venture into new territory.  Along the way, she found herself tired and hungry.  Luckily, she had options.  After trying them all out, she discovered not all the options were the right fit.   If there is anything we learned from good old Goldilocks is that to feel comfortable you have to find an area that’s “just right” for you.  This past week, I have done research on types of business entities.  There are several different business types for you to choose from.  They all have their benefits and drawbacks.  Originally, I thought I wanted  a sole proprietorship.  A sole proprietorship is the easiest business entity to get up and running. You are only taxed once because there is no separation between you and your business.  However, you are liable.  Your personal assets are at risk if you are sued.  I wasn’t sure if this was a risk I was willing to take.  My other options were a partnership, limited liability company or a corporation.  I instantly crossed out a partnership because I am the sole creator of my business.  A limited liability company offered a lot of benefits with few drawbacks.  It offered protection from liability, as well as, only being taxed once.  However, I decided to go with a corporation because my hope is to continue to grow my business and most investors want to deal with corporations.  Corporations are more work to start.  They must also follow specific regulations.  However, it’s worth it for me  because I want a large company that expands into other areas down the line (i.e. clothing and accessories).  For me, a corporation is “just right”.  When you start your own business this is one of the first things you will need to decide.  It effects where you need to move forward legally.  Below are some links with information on the different types of business entities.

Video: Choosing Your Legal Business Type- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7PulXuCI4w

IRS Website: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Business-Structures

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