Archive for June, 2015

How Speaking in Public Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 | by tmpadmin

Courtesy of AlleyWatch

Facing your fears means becoming a better leader.

Ever since I found my purpose in life, I like to tell many folks that I feel like Superman. As soon as my eyes open every morning, an extreme sense of urgency overcomes my body to get up, own the day and make things happen.

But as you all know, even Superman has his weakness.

Public speaking has been my kryptonite for a very long time now. The first time I ever spoke in public, I suffered a severe anxiety attack. It was an awful experience and something that stuck in the back of my mind ever since. I also believed that public speaking was the main thing holding me and our company back from reaching our full potential.

The opportunity to overcome this fear came when I received a cold call one morning from the president of the Alabama Real Estate Association. He invited me to come and share the story of how I started my company, Ohio Cashflow. My mind started racing. I did my best to spit out a response, “Well, I am not a public speaker. I can be very raw and rude sometimes.”

None of it worked. I reluctantly accepted the invitation and thought that I would have to make up an excuse, as I had three months until the event to plan one. As the event started getting closer and closer, my mind started to race and play tricks on me. The thought of public speaking haunted me every evening as I tried to go to sleep.

Embrace a Mindset Shift

One day, I decided that I’d had enough. I made a decision that I had to go for it. As soon as I made the mindset shift, I quickly gathered the team and we started putting the pieces of the puzzle together in preparation for the speaking engagement. We composed an awesome presentation along with our branded company brochures and fliers. We planned every little detail extremely well, with two rehearsals beforehand. I had someone stand next to me to kick-start the presentation with a question just in case my mind went blank and I froze on stage (a similar thing happened when I had the anxiety attack).

Around 20 minutes before I took stage, I started feeling very lightheaded and anxious. I asked one of my team members to get me a glass full of ice. For whatever reason, crunching the ice with my teeth gave me a soothing feeling and made me completely relaxed. As soon as I hit the stage, it all just fell away and everything felt completely natural — from my tonality to hand gestures and even throwing in jokes to make the audience laugh.

We really rocked the house. Everyone seemed amazed with my story and related to many things I spoke about. Afterwards, we received a ton of praise, and people were even lining up to shake our hands and speak to us. I do recall looking into the crowd and receiving some weird looks like, “Who do you think you are with that back to front yellow cap and weird accent?” Taking my eye off those characters and solely focusing on someone positively acknowledging and smiling kept me on track. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and one that I am looking forward to doing many more times in the future.

Face Your Fears and Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

In business and entrepreneurship, educate yourself as much as possible on becoming a market expert. Surround yourself with key people who are smarter than you and who will always have your best interest at heart. This will minimize your risk as well as your fear of making mistakes and losing money. Don’t forget that business is easy — it’s working with the wrong people that can make it difficult. The magic truly happens when you get out of your comfort zone and stand up to pain and fear. You must be willing to acknowledge that every experience is a good experience as long as you perceive it that way. Accept failure if it does occur, re-asses and keep moving forward.

It’s the last 1-2 repetitions at the gym that grow the most muscle and the last 1-2 miles when running that improve your fitness. No pain equals no gain. The most powerful inspirations and ideas come to me when everyone has long left the office and I am in the 12th hour of a grueling day by myself with all the time in the world left to think and create. Eliminate all negativity and focus your energy on always being positive, growing yourself and your business.

Read the article on AlleyWatch

You Are Not Going to Believe These Dumb Things that Entrepreneurs Say to Investors

Posted on: June 5th, 2015 | by tmpadmin

Content courtesy of AlleyWatch

Entrepreneurs work hard for the money and truth be told, many startups don’t raise a dime, with the possible exception of a friends and family round, and would granny every say no to you, not matter that your startup is probably not the next unicorn – or even a my little pony, as Dave McClure calls promising companies that might not grab the big headlines, but are good businesses, nonetheless?

No matter that you believe that you’re changing the world and creating something that no one on planet Earth has ever dreamed possible, trust us, investors have heard it all. In fact, just out of curiosity, we reached out to a few of them and asked them to share with us the dumbest things they’d ever heard out of the mouths of entrepreneurs. Hope you enjoy, and don’t try this at home, much less in front of an investor.

The Dumbest Thing an Entrepreneur Ever Said to Me Was…

‘”We have no competition.”

“What do I have to do to get you to invest?”

“My biggest challenge in my business is working out how to spend all the money these VCs keep throwing at me.”

“Our business model is so unique you have to sign an NDA before we can share any materials.”

“Google can’t do this.”

“An entrepreneurial team that had burned through $100 million of cash tried to convince we why my investing an additional $5m in the company would be a great investment.”

There’s *a lot* of competition for that prize. The one that drove me most nuts was a team that applied to our accelerator, got to the final round, and then told us that there was no way they would ever issue us the equity that we require for them to participate… And then he pitched us on his current round! “Gee, buddy. We don’t ever invest outside of our accelerator but since you wasted all my time, that makes it all good.” before you apply, rtfm.

That he was using his personal money to invest in other startups (instead of his own) to get the attention of an investor running a syndicate.

That she doesn’t get why anyone would build a business focusing on the 40+ demo. (Um, gee, maybe because they actually have money to spend!)

“We plan to go public in two years.”

The Dumbest Pitch I Ever Heard Was…

Stiff competition here. Netflix for neckties is up there. A subscription service for something fewer and fewer people want to wear. Feels like Zipcar for horse carriages.

“I don’t have an MVP, anything built, any commercial partnerships, any staff, a pitch deck or a go to market plan. But I’m raising $1.5m on a pre-money valuation of $5m.”

I plead the 5th … because many great businesses seemed really dumb at inception!

I’ll take the fifth on this one to save the entrepreneur from embarrassment.

‘We’re like Facebook for industrial.’

The dumbest pitch I heard recently was for a video messaging service that enabled users to send very short videos to each other. This was in 2014, when everyone can send video messages with their mobile phones. It was like I had gone back in time.

A balloon bubble that blows up when you fall over and protects your head.

Beauty products that you mix yourself at home (you are sent a handful of ingredients that you can make moisturizer, foundation, and other products out of). Most women barely have time to put on mascara in the morning…

It was a company where you found someone who looked just like you and could almost pass for your twin, and shopped from his or her closet.

A line attached to a boat at the dock that when detached by someone trying to steal your boat sounds an alarm.

Click here to see the original article on AlleyWatch