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10 Surefire Tips for Securing Capital Investment

1) Protect your idea with a patent/copyright/trademark.


Depending on your business venture, you will need to take precautionary steps to protect your idea. This may involve filing a patent, copyright, or trademark. In any of these cases, it is important that you develop quality documents, easy to read figures, tables, and graphics so that the reviewer can determine the merit of your work. Venture capital investors may want to review these documents and along with your business plan, this might be the first impression of you and your capabilities.
Please remember that these protections do not keep someone else from trying to develop your idea, but they do give you the right to fight it out in court.

2) Write an excellent business plan.

Your business plan is a dynamic document. One investor group may need a particular format while another group may ask you to present the plan in their preferred review layout. The business plan needs to state who you are, what you are doing, why you need investment, the scope of the market (what is the valuation of the market), how you intend to proceed with the investment, and what the return on investment will be should someone invest. Most importantly, the business plan needs to be grammatically correct and have no spelling errors.

3) Have your business plan vetted and reviewed by experts in the field.

You need to take the time to have someone in your field read your business plan. Possibly a trusted colleague or a subject matter expert/reviewer/editor can help you with noticing the little things that are missing. These people can also help find areas of weakness in your business plan. With investors, you often have one opportunity to impress. Make sure that you put your best and most developed idea forward. In the business plan, it is important to point out how much you are investing of your own money into the idea.

4) Valuation is important.

Spend time thinking about the valuation and show that you did some real work on the projections. Find a banker or investor who might give you some time and help you develop the corporate valuation.

5) Develop a slide show.

To go along with your business plan you will need a slide deck that puts your business plan into pictures, graphs, text, and images that people can review. Many people are visual. Reading a long business plan may not be the first choice some individuals. Give them a slide show that they can scroll through and begin to “see” your idea.

6) Have your marketing plan developed and ready to show.


The success of many businesses comes with the marketing plan. It may seem like having your marketing plan all developed is not going to help you gain investment, but the truth is that investors will be far more impressed if you can show them the details of how you plan to make money on your idea and their investment.
Consider having flyers, a short video, and other items that will help you market to your target demographic. It is important to note that by developing your marketing, you will be able to fine-tune the demographic most likely to purchase your product or idea. Make sure to have all the documents, videos, and flyers proofread by multiple people. Nothing ruins a good marketing plan more than having bad grammar, typos, and spelling errors.

7) Invest your own money in the venture.


Invest at least a few thousand dollars in your new business. If you are not willing to invest, why will someone else want to loan you money? The capital investment you put in represents a material percentage of your net wealth and shows that you are dedicated to the success of the project.
Many entrepreneurs tell everyone about the sweat equity they are putting into the business. The truth is that everyone starting a new business is putting this type of effort in and potential investors expect this effort.

8) Have a working prototype available.


Investors do not want to take on product-development risk. If your idea is fabulous, they may take this risk but they will likely want a larger portion of your company. Have a working prototype available for review. A working prototype shows the investor that the development and proof-of-concept risk is mitigated.

9) Acquire Investment first from “friends and family.”


Many investors want to see that you have raised money from friends and family because it validates that people who know you think you are capable of making this idea come to life. How much should you seek from friends and family? This depends on your idea but $25,000 to $50,000 is a good sign that you are seen as capable and competent by family and friends.

10) Generate revenue.


This is a difficult task but very important. The company does not need to be making millions in the first month but a small amount of revenue will show that you have a good marketing plan and your idea is moving forward.

On a final note, raising capital is challenging and time consuming. If you take these ten steps, you will be better prepared to be a success in the capital investment round of funding.

8 Great Reasons to Journal

In our fast-paced high-tech world, journaling may be one of the best ways to gain perspective and peace of mind. Whether you write in a beautiful leather-bound notebook or on the latest tablet, expressing your thoughts can lead to insights that you might not discover otherwise—or, at least, not as quickly.

1. Journaling allows us to reflect.

The fast pace of our society often prevents us from taking time to think and to see exactly where we fit in to what is going on around us. Journaling helps us slow down to consider who we are, what we’ve done, and where we want to go.

2. Journaling allows us to discover who we are.

We are far more complex than most of us allow anyone to see. We often don’t even know ourselves very well. Journaling lets us see the thoughts and ideas locked in our subconscious minds. The body-mind connection required to write helps us express those inner thoughts.

3. Have a problem? Journal.

Writing can help us sort through possible solutions to the sticky problems in our lives, the ones that don’t have neat answers immediately identifiable. We can develop a variety of possible solutions, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and then choose the one most likely to resolve the situation.

4. Journaling lets us say whatever we want to say.

Sometimes we just have to vent. But venting publically can create more problems than it resolves. Journaling helps us acknowledge those feelings in a way that doesn’t hurt us or other people. We can always tear out the page or delete the words from the screen (just don’t save first). Once out of our systems, we can look at the situation more calmly and move on.

5. Journaling releases tension and stress.

The act of writing slows us down, which helps us relax and breathe. We get the things that are bugging us out in the open, even if only for our eyes, and that helps us deal with them. Writing also helps us put things into perspective, which reduces stress and anxiety as well.

6. Journaling unlocks our creativity.

Feeling blocked? Not sure what to do next? Write. Just put pen to paper or fingers on keyboards and write. No editing, no proofreading, no second thoughts. Just get whatever is in your head out. Make it visible and see where it leads. What seems whacky is often the seed of genius; but if you never express it, the seed can’t grow.

7. Journaling helps us express gratitude.

Keeping a journal of blessings is an easy way to see all the good that is happening in our lives. It allows us to focus on the little things that we overlook in the organized chaos of our world. The smell of wood smoke on a crisp fall evening, the sweet taste of a the first strawberry of spring, the sight of a puppy trying to pick up the paper to bring to his owner—recalling and recording these little events of the day can let us see that even in the middle of the worst day possible, rays of hope exit.

8. Journaling is a way to capture and preserve who we are.

By journaling, we create a first-person narrative of our lives, a narrative both we and our families will find interesting and enlightening in years to come. Journals have always been a source of information, a way of seeing how people who lived during various historical periods actually felt and what their daily lives were really like. Our journals can do the same. Journals also allow us to relive periods of our lives, to see how we have grown and changed, to reflect on the impact of decisions made long ago.

So start journaling! You will be amazed at what you will discover about you, your life, and the world around you.

  1. Tell your story for posterity

  2. Measure progress

  3. Get organized

Types of Journals

  1. Diary

  2. Blessings

  3. Prayer

  4. Plans

  5. Character sketches

  6. Life story

  7. Wishes and Dreams

5 Keys to Writing a Great Press Release

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business leader, non-profit organizer, community activist, inventor, or author, at some point you’ll need to write a press release. A Press Release is the perfect tool that lets the outside world communicate with those who distribute news. A well-written press release is an effective tool that contributes to your promotional success.

It’s important to remember that your press release will be edited or changed somewhat. A press release in and of itself is not news–rather, it carries news. Your goal in sending a press release is to gain attention and have people contact you for more information on your idea, concept, or product.

1) The title must attract attention.


Your title needs to tease at the news in your press release. A title must get your audience to read the entire press release to learn more about your news.

Here are good and bad examples of titles:
“Company X completes a major merger that will revolutionize cell phone access” checkmark
“Company X just completed a merger” x

“Company ABC Exceeds Growth Expectations and launches two new products” checkmark
“Company ABC announces earnings and product news” x

2) Be succinct.

Joey from Friends pointing and nodding like "this guy gets it"
A good press release is approximately 500 words or less. You want to explain who you or your company is, share your news, add a quotation about the news, and direct the reader to contact information so that he/she can learn more about you or your company.

3) Have a great quotation that people can appreciate.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson clapping in awe
Many press releases share a quotation from a company leader, industry partner, or end user. You want to make sure that the quotation means something to your audience. Quotations should be short, want the reader to find the person delivering the quotation, and ask him/her more about the idea.

Here is a good and bad example of a quotation:

“Proving the idea before spending on capital equipment will be a huge benefit to most emerging technology companies. Our goal is to save companies anywhere between 30 and 50% of the normal operating costs associated with proving technology.” check mark

“Many companies can spend lots of money trying to prove a technology. In most cases, that money is wasted, although in a few that works out okay. We have really studied this issue and have a solution that we are marketing that will help companies save money. For each company the amount of money they will save using our technology will vary but we think they will find the savings to be compelling enough to purchase our technology.” x

The first quotation is short and makes the reader want to learn more about this idea. The second quotation is long, does not say much of anything, and does not grab the attention of the reader. In fact, the second quotation sounds confusing and unprepared. If you have the time to write a quality press release, you also need to make certain the quotations are well developed.

4) Make it easy for your audience to contact you.

Kim Possible "You can call me, or...beep me. You know, if you wanna reach me."
This seems obvious but many companies forget to put their direct information on the press release. People want to be able to easily access your website, email you, or call you on the phone so that they can learn more about the subject of the press release.

5) Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors and have a clean format.

Perfection

You must put your best foot forward with the press release. Grammar errors and typos are a bad reflection on you and your company. Make sure you have at least two people proofread and edit your press release. If the press release is critical to your success, consider having it professionally edited. A poorly written press release will keep people from spreading your news. Any reputable news agency (or website), publication, or public relations firm will avoid sharing your information if there are typos and grammar errors. Format is important, so make sure the font is the same type and size for the text and that you have square margins.

Follow these five recommendations and you are sure to have success with your press release.

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