StartupNation » small business financing http://www.startupnation.com Rock Your Business! Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:00:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © StartupNation 2014 webmaster@startupnation.com (StartupNation Media Group, INC) webmaster@startupnation.com (StartupNation Media Group, INC) business 1440 http://www.startupnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/rss-feed-logo.png StartupNation http://www.startupnation.com 144 144 StartupNation provides content, resources, and community to help you build your business. StartupNation offers articles, blogs, step-by-step tutorials, a weekly radio show, community forums, and many more resources to help small businesses grow their business, and aspiring entrepreneurs start a business. small, business, entrepreneur, startupnation, marketing, business, plan, funding, inventor, home, business, sales StartupNation Media Group, INC StartupNation Media Group, INC webmaster@startupnation.com no no Things Investors Say When Really What They Mean is, “No” http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/things-investors-say-really-mean/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/things-investors-say-really-mean/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 08:00:16 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/?p=13910 One lesson I learned the hard way as a founder is that investors never like to say “no.” They especially don’t like to say “yes,” but “no” is almost as difficult to get out of them. Why? Well, because they never want to completely close the door on what could eventually be a massive missed [...]

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One lesson I learned the hard way as a founder is that investors never like to say “no.” They especially don’t like to say “yes,” but “no” is almost as difficult to get out of them.

Why? Well, because they never want to completely close the door on what could eventually be a massive missed opportunity. Or, if all of a sudden you get Andreessen Horowitz to pony up, they want to be able to change their mind and jump back in.

It’s a pretty sheepish move in my opinion, but it’s not my money so who am I to judge.

As a founder, you hear all kinds of answers that appear on the surface to be semi-positive, but deep down are just “no’s” in disguise. But then again Founders say things that are completely BS too.

As a service to all of you founders who are out their raising money for the first time, here are some phrases to be aware of:

  1. “I’d love to meet, but I’m swamped for the next two months. Send me your deck, and please coordinate a time in late September with <insert assistant name>.”
  2. If at the end of your pitch they ask, “have you considered joining an accelerator?”, close the laptop and walk away.
  3. “I’m going to watch from the sidelines for now.”
  4. “Who else is in your round?”
  5. “I love what you’re doing, but I’m not sure it fits our current thesis.”
  6. “Let me talk with the MP’s at our next partner meeting and get back to you.”
  7. “We’re at the tail end of our current fund, which we’re using for follow-on investments, but we’ll be looking at new investments with our next fund.”
  8. “Keep me posted on your progress.”
  9. “I’m a fan of what you’re doing, I just don’t know anything about the space, so I couldn’t bring any value to you.”
  10.  When you’re pre-traction: “We’d likely invest when you have a bit more traction.”
  11. When you have traction: “We’d likely invest when you have a bit more revenue.”
  12. When you have revenue: “We’d likely invest when you hit a $1M run-rate.”
  13. We really don’t like to invest in competing companies. Let me talk to <portfolio company> and see if they view you as a competitor.”
  14. “We’re going to have our ‘analyst’ run the numbers and take a deeper look.”
  15.  “I don’t like to invest in convertible rounds. Let me know if you change to a priced round.”
  16.  “We might sit out this round and take another look at your series A.”

And, my personal favorite…

17. “We like to follow a lead. Let me know when you’re about to close your round.”

Investors, feel free to chime in. What classic lines did I miss?

Dana Severson is co-founder of StartupsAnonymous.com and founder of StickinaBox.co, a gourmet beef jerky subscription box. He is an AngelPad alum, a weekly contributor to Inc.com and PandoDaily.com, and the former CEO of Wahooly. You can find him on twitter @danerobert.

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Steve Roderick of gotoBilling.com Exposes Success Secrets http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/steve-roderick-of-gotobillingcom-exposes-success-secrets/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/plan-your-business/steve-roderick-of-gotobillingcom-exposes-success-secrets/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2009 09:30:10 +0000 http://www.startupnation.com/blogs/?p=4388 On Tuesday, we heard from Steve Roderick of www.gotoBilling.com, a one-stop small business resource for paperless marketing, online invoicing, electronic billing, gift cards, and more. Due to smart planning and excellent customer service, gotoBilling.com is thriving in today’s economy and helping other small business owners succeed. Here is the rest of our conversation and Steve’s [...]

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On Tuesday, we heard from Steve Roderick of www.gotoBilling.com, a one-stop small business resource for paperless marketing, online invoicing, electronic billing, gift cards, and more.

Due to smart planning and excellent customer service, gotoBilling.com is thriving in today’s economy and helping other small business owners succeed.

Here is the rest of our conversation and Steve’s secrets to success:

What is the biggest hurdle you faced in starting your business and how did you overcome it?

Money. We haven’t. “Seriously though folks,” it is money. But that’s the same problem that plagues most starting businesses.

We did several things that, at the time, seemed insane. We refused all offers for loans or venture capital, and we didn’t acquire debt. At the time, given the market climate, our thinking was criticized by even friends and family.

We decided to grow slower, and grow as revenue allowed. This meant that we had to be real good at what we do and satisfy every customer completely. Otherwise, there would be no way to grow.

I am happy to report today that GTB has only minor, short-term debt at the moment and will be totally debt free by mid-2009. We are watching competitors struggle under the weight of debt acquired when it was easy and fashionable to get massive growth loans. In the long run, I think we are much better off and healthier as a company by taking the slow conservative approach.

How have you dealt with competing businesses and unethical practices in the credit-card payment industry?

It’s impossible to regulate the values and morals of others. We work to be transparent, honest and accessible with our customers. We will give them the correct information and back it up with facts. Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to save people from themselves.

How have you increased word-of-mouth for gotoBilling?

A good deal of our new business comes from current customers simply telling other users about our services. We don’t
give our customers incentives to do this. I think this comes from their genuine satisfaction with the product and our personal human support that is engaging, fast and personalized.

What marketing efforts have worked the best for your business and why?

Our reseller channel, this is all we focused on in the past. A reseller channel results in lower margins to a company but is the least expensive way to get a product or service into the market. Today, as we have grown the business and finances allow, we are deeply into SEO, media awareness of our company and consumer brand awareness, i.e., advertising.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs pursuing their business dreams?

Ted Turner said, “Late to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise.” And I think he was right.

Actually I would advise three things:

1.) Create a product or service you would use and can explain easily.

2.) Grow steadily over time and don’t borrow your way to success. It’s short-lived.

3.) Concentrate on each customer and do more than is expected, every time. No shortcuts.

Thanks Steve! Isn’t it nice to hear about a company that actually cares about customer service – especially in the finance industry?

If you’d like more information about gotoBilling.com or have SEO copywriting and PR questions, just let me know here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. I’m here to help!

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The Angel Honey Pot Continues to Grow http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/fund-your-business/find-funding/the-angel-honey-pot-continues-to-grow/ http://www.startupnation.com/start-your-business/fund-your-business/find-funding/the-angel-honey-pot-continues-to-grow/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2007 18:56:01 +0000 http://staging.startupnation.com/wordpress/index.php/2007/03/19/the-angel-honey-pot-continues-to-grow/ According to the 2006 Angel Market Analysis released today by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, the angel investor market experienced steady growth in 2006, with total investments of $25.6 billion, an increase of 10.8 percent over 2005. This is an irrefutable statement about the fact that the money is [...]

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According to the 2006 Angel Market Analysis released today by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, the angel investor market experienced steady growth in 2006, with total investments of $25.6 billion, an increase of 10.8 percent over 2005.

This is an irrefutable statement about the fact that the money is out there, folks! You just have to have:

1) a great opportunity
2) access to these angels
3) the ability to effectively communicate why your opportunity is so great
4) the right people to bring the opportunity home!

Regarding #2, remember… angels are "pack animals" – they like to invest together and often are too timid or busy to invest alone. We were asked at a recent Club Entrepreneur speech where startups can find angels. Our advice is: call your accountant and attorney and ask for intros to their other wealthy clients, hobnob at the club, network at Chamber events and networking groups like Club Entrepreneur, and always ask for referrals from any angels you meet – even if they say "no" to your deal. Lastly, call up people who run successful companies that were likely backed by angels. They may kindly give you access to their Rolodex.

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