Archive for the 'Entrepreneurs/Startups' Category

Win $39,000 in prizes with Blue and MyCEO

Added 8-15. Originally $19,000 in prizes.  Now up to $39,000!  Newly added – The top prize is a Private Jet Experience with America’s Business Expert and Superspeaker Bill Walsh. The package includes a complimentary ticket to the Success Conference on November 8-10, 2013 in Los Angeles plus a VIP Private Jet Experience to Las Vegas on November 10th and a room for the night in Las Vegas!




DallasBlue has partnered  with the MyCEO Convention to promote entrepreneurs and business in DFW.  I’ll be speaking Saturday August 17 at 3:45pm on Engineer Your Marketing for Scalable Sales: Four Secrets to Ensuring Regular Repeatable Rising Revenues.

Convention speakers, including me, are giving away 83 prizes worth over $19,000 of workshop and event tickets, courses, coaching, consulting, DVDs, CDs, and books!  You don’t have to be an attendee to register (although you may have to pay shipping for hard products if you’re not there).  Enter the MyCEO Convention Sweepstakes. Sweepstakes closes Saturday August 17 at midnight CT.


Startup Revenues: The Final Frontier

Good old fashioned revenues are making a comeback of sorts, not that they ever went out of fashion.

I earlier wrote that Traction is Job 1.  Ash Fontana’s presentation is getting a lot of press these days. Sales often are more important than product or team as a factor in VC evaluation.  It’s certainly critical in reducing risk.

At BAE Investments & Workshop we see a wide range of startups from concepts to  those seeking several million dollars in funding.  You don’t have to have revenues.  Our program helps plug holes like that.  But there is no denying that traction is and has always been important.

Indeed revenues are becoming currency in deals.  The Next Stage of Angel Investing: Revenue-based Funding from the Texas Entrepreneur Network highlights revenue sharing as an emerging vehicle for startup funding. Typical deals have a 3 to 5% revenue share that’s capped at a 3 to 5X return. It’s venture capital meets factoring.

The run to cash is a natural economic response to the changing capital markets. Demand has increased with the rise of self-funded and angel startups, while later stage money continues to tighten with diminished IPO and VC markets and low returns.  It’s why many angels today have moved to real estate deals.

If you’re an entrepreneur, the question is how well are you positioned for revenues?  If you wait until you start looking for VC money, you’re too late.

The tech culture today is tightly focused on product, as it should be.  As I noted in Exponential marketing VC Fred Wilson proclaimed “Marketing is for companies who have sucky products.”

But it’s becoming increasing clear that revenues are just as important.  A revenue strategy needs to be designed and executed earlier rather than later in your startup’s development. That’s exactly what we do at Power CMO where we work with both investors protecting their investments and entrepreneurs.  We couple innovative revenue-focused marketing strategy with a marketing system for regular, reliable, and scalable revenues. Give us a call at (972) 200-3490 to see what we can do for you.

Traction is Job 1

Ash Fontana from AngelList presented  Want To Raise A Million Bucks? Here’s What You’ll Need.  He says that Product and Team aren’t that important if you reach a traction milestone, such as

  • 1K seats at $10/mo for enterprise
  • 2 pilot contracts for big enterprise
  • 100k+ downloads/signups for social
  • $50K revenue/mo for marketplace or e-commerce

One can quibble with numbers and nibble around the edges,  But I agree  that such traction is critical when you’re looking for VC money.

Build your business and show that you can bring in subscribers, or more importantly revenues, and the the investors will come. That’s what I look for at BAE Investments & Workshop.

Is your startup too old to fail?

I review several hundred startup business plans a year.  Many ventures have been fighting and struggling for years.

I especially see that here in Dallas where the pressure and the cost of living is much lower than the West Coast.  It’s easier to drift in a zone where your business is making progress but slowly.  You’re trying to survive and so may have other work.  Your venture gets just a slice of your mindshare.  You learn to survive without funding and bootstrap.

Compare that to Silicon Valley where entrepreneurs are more apt to deem their effort a failure.  They move on if they haven’t had huge traction and funding in 1-2 years.

What is your goal?  Is it a true hypergrowth startup,  a linear growth venture, a small business that will provide employment for you, or a lifestyle (hobby) activity?  If your choice is the first, are you truly focused on that?  Are you committing 100% of your time and effort to your startup?  Managing your startup is not about velocity.  It should be about acceleration.

Startups stand for change.  That includes your own business.  As the saying goes, you have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.   While it’s critical to engage your passion and invest yourself, don’t drown to the point that you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and will never leave.  Listen to the universe and the cards you’re dealt. Sometimes you have to exchange a few cards and pivot.  Other times you need to deal yourself a whole new hand.

Most successful entrepreneurs have had to brave a few failures before they find the right combination of concept, timing, team, and, yes, luck. If you never let yourself fail, you will never get that shot at the big win.

While the entrepreneur’s determination and persistence are to be admired, they also can be your enemy, as Jason Calacanis writes in Moderate Success Is the Enemy of Breakout Success.

You can raise your own funding the crowdfunding way now

Wefunder, a crowdfunding platform*, announced Our crowdfunding round:

So, we ate our own dog food. Using current state “blue sky” laws (which prohibited advertising), we raised $533,800 from 58 investors in amounts ranging from $100 to $100,000. Half of these investors were un-accredited.

It’s still not legal to use a crowdfunding platform in the U.S.  So how did they do it?  Wefunder shows you in How To Legally Crowd Invest…. Now.  A summary:

    • Only up to 35 un-accredited investors may invest.
      To remain in compliance with the law, the total number of unaccredited investors – across all states – can not exceed 35. But, with the exception of investors in Massachusetts, the start-up can raise from an unlimited number accredited investors (in CA and NY).
    • Investors must be a resident of CA, NY, and MA.
      These states have “blue sky” laws that allow un-accredited investors to invest, without requiring a costly investment prospectus (a few other states have laws that may possibly work, but you’d have to confirm with your lawyer).
    • No advertising or general solicitation is allowed.
      You can’t broadcast your offering to the world. You can’t post your deals on Facebook, Twitter, get mentioned in the press, put out an ad, etc.
    • Companies must comply with various State laws.
      CA and NY require filing a notice and paying a small fee. MA has no filing or fee, but has different compliance issues.

Startups, Investors, and Networks Dance Closer

The StartUp Health incubator has launched the StartUp Health Network, a vertical ecosystem directory service. Read more about it in TechCrunch.

The network looks like a home grown effort.  I’ll share a few insights here.  What do you think?

  • It’s a nice step in the startup ecosystem world as entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and service providers dance around one another to find the right fit for deals and partnerships.  But innovation has been excruciatingly slow over the past 15 years with limited service innovation.  It reminds me of  a galaxy rotating billions of years (that’s real years as opposed to Internet years) with only rare and random star collisions.
  • I’ve long been a champion of the transparency and social good of free information.  The first generation was wikis, then directories, and now networks.  Nice move, StartUpHealth.  But it’s more than helping others.  It’s strategic. If you own the info, you own the market.  It’s also a valuable marketing tool for lead generation, SEO, and partnerships.  Gust has done a nice job using part of this approach.
  • At their core such networks are a basic directory app with a social coating.  There is a low barrier to entry.  AngelList led the way with a Web 2.0 product. They solidified their leadership with their API.  Where are the branded and white-labelled platforms?
  • Market segmentation has been slow, confined primarily to investors and natural geography. StartUp Health points to the potential for integrated startup services, including investing and networks.  There are opportunities, assuming adequate business models, by location, industry, funding level, and technology sector, as well as at large events, associations, and corporations.
  • Where will this innovation come from? The primary source right now are ventures riding the crowdfunding wave.  But do be cautious amid the explosion of crowdfunding activity and interest this year.  Contrary to the US Congress’s best intentions, that wave will crash hard due to the SEC’s delay and concerns and the universal need for due diligence and disclosure.


NFTE Dallas World Series of Innovation Sat. Sept 29

From NFTE:

World Series of Innovation Saturday, September 29, 2012


Are you interested in:

  • Serving as an Innovation Coach for one or more teams?
  • Guiding students through experiential activities?
  • Encouraging students?
  • Modeling positive behavior and collaboration?
  • Assisting students with idea development?
  • Providing targeted advice for areas where students have difficulty understanding or articulating?
  • Helping to develop student’s submissions for consideration in The World Series of Innovation?
  • Proofreading submission for content and clarity?

If any of these areas interest you then please join us on Saturday, September 29th from 9:00 to noon as students select from 6 categories and create an innovative solution in those areas.

Where:   Greiner Middle School, 501 S. Edgefied, Dallas, TX  75208

Time:      9:00 a.m. to noon

How to become involved.

If you are currently registered in the NFTE Greater Dallas Volunteer Group please click on the link below to login and then go to the volunteer portal to select World Series of Innovation to sign up.

Already a Member

If you are not currently registered with the NFTE Greater Dallas Volunteer Group, please click on the link below to register.

Click here

Important:  Because volunteers will be working one-on-one with student groups it is imperative that a criminal background check has been completed and approved.

If you have questions or need any additional information, please feel free to contact Karen Ezell at 469.544.6082 or email Karen at

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, September 29th.

Karen Ezell

Program Director, NFTE Greater Dallas

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