Do You Need a Mentor or an Advisor?

Do You Need a Mentor or an Advisor?

Every successful entrepreneur can recall a few key mentors and advisors who have influenced their journey and helped them along the way. If you have raised equity funding, you may benefit from the guidance and mentoring that investors provide (yes, qualified investors don’t just write a check!). After all, it does take a village to raise an entrepreneur! Both mentors and advisors are an important part of the entrepreneurial journey, and although the terms are being used interchangeably, it is important that you understand the difference, so that you can benefit the most from their guidance. Mentors: A mentor is someone who will support you and encourage you to sharpen your critical thinking and self-awareness. They have some entrepreneurial experience and a general business acumen. They can be close friends, professional acquaintances or come from organized groups. Mentors are most beneficial in the ideation and early stage of a business. Why? Because their main focus is you as your business results are in direct relation to your development and maturity as an entrepreneur. It often takes an outsider’s perspective to help you broaden yours. A mentor just wants to see you succeed! Like a barrel of monkeys, someone pulls you up and you keep a hand down to pull the next woman up (or guy *smile*). The first step to find a mentor is to ask. Let the person know that you are interested in learning about them and their experience. Offer a chat over coffee. Listen. Ask a few questions. Like any other relationships, ease into it. After a few informal conversations, you can create together a more...
3 Smart Ways to Win More Sales

3 Smart Ways to Win More Sales

Whether you are just getting started or not, your sales are directly tied to the number of people you can reach who are genuinely interested in what you are selling. Winning more sales comes down to solving these three challenges. 1. Choose your customer If you reach more of the right people, you will get more clients! In business, 20% of your customers generates 80% of your revenues. It’s the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who found, in the early 1900s, that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This may come as a surprise, but this distribution occurs frequently in all areas of life. It is also an incredible tool to grow your business. So why spend energies on these target customers that will generate the least? By identifying the characteristics of your 20%-customers, you can focus your efforts on reaching people who match that profile. I’ll show you how to in the next steps.   2. Find their big problem The basic premise of business is to offer a product or service that people would pay for. In short, if you fix their big problem they will pay for it. Value is in the eye of the beholder! Do you truly understand what their pain is? When the first laser printer came out, as Hewlett-Packard was getting their new model to market, they realize that customers didn’t care about printing the most beautiful graphics. What they wanted above all was silence! Their big problem was that, at the time, existing printers were making such...
Does Your Accounting Make You Money? If Not, Here is What to Do.

Does Your Accounting Make You Money? If Not, Here is What to Do.

Think of your business as being a big bucket. As you go along, you fill that bucket with everything you learn about your value proposition, your customers, employees, finances, and operations. At some point you may realize that you expend more energies and resources than necessary to progress. Your bucket is leaking! But where is it leaking from? Truthful financial statements will invariably identify the culprit. For almost two decades, we’ve been designing, implementing and maintaining financial management systems for startups, small and medium-sized businesses. Over and over, we have found that there are four core contributors to your leaking bucket: Accounting Operations Sales Cash Flow The first step is to learn how to understand your financial statements. Our expert CFO in residence wrote this educational piece for you: “How do Financial Statements Help Decision-Making”. In this article, we will examine how your accounting could be leaking and how to fix it. The Symptoms Here are some of the most common signs that your books are not as accurate as they should be: You are not staying on top of recording There are many line items on your P&L There is a large suspense account There is no breakdown of cost per goods, service or project You write off everything You are mingling personal and business accounts As an owner, you are not on payroll Cash seems to disappear   The Cure Have a professional general accountant or controller set up your books for your bookkeeper to follow. We all have a friend or acquaintance that want to help or maybe we can just do it ourselves. This is...
Impact-Driven Business Accelerator Seeks 5 Growth-Stage Companies

Impact-Driven Business Accelerator Seeks 5 Growth-Stage Companies

Altima Business Solutions is seeking second-stage startups for API10X spring accelerator program to help the most promising entrepreneurs make an impact. Focused on founders and their ventures, this concierge accelerator program offers one-on-one mentoring with experts and connections with Altima’s network of industry influencers, among other services. “Building a product and building a business are two different things. We focus on founders to help them understand what their next best moves are to build an impactful business” said Carine Dieudé, partner and strategy director at Altima Business Solutions. “It’s not just about the product, the service or the trade. Creating a company that has impact requires designing its business model and management systems to positively influence the results,” Dieudé said. Startups and small businesses, regardless of industry, that have already proven their concept and have traction are invited to apply for the 12-week impact-driven program, API10X, by March 30, 2018. API10X started as a summer accelerator program for Arizona State University for Venture Devils startups last May. Altima decided to start a similar program outside of ASU to help other promising companies with a wide range of expertise to solve their core problems and transfer wealth: more traction, more sales, and more profit. “The goal is to have promising companies get above the noise and be a success story,” Dieudé said. “ Altima Business Solutions, which was founded 18 years ago, supports business owners and entrepreneurs from decision-making to execution with On-Demand Executives and On-Demand Solutions in all five fundamentals of business: Access to Capital, Financial Management, Critical Path, Sales and Accountability. As a result, they transfer tangible wealth to...
For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame

For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame

For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame A trip to Silicon Valley is something of a rite for ambitious Chinese startups and investors looking for inspiration in global tech’s mecca of innovation. But a visit last week failed to impress. Silicon Valley’s allure is...