Welcome to Loot, the monthly newsletter for business rebels who don't play by old rules. Each month we deliver content you need to build a better business. 

----May/June 5, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 4: Special Venture Capital Issue----

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

The Venture-Capital Game: An interview with McKeever (Mac) Conwell II, co-manager, Pre-seed Builder Fund, TEDCO. 

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity. Consult a securities attorney before raising investment capital.

 

What’s the best thing an entrepreneur can do to get themselves ready for seed funding?

If you think about seed or traditional seed funding, and the way we look at venture capital, and you consider where venture capital is today, in 2000, 2010, 2012, you could get seed capital without a problem, without any customers or anything like that. 

And there are some instances where that happens today. More often than not, you have to have traction. Traction is defined differently from investor to investor, company to company. 

But it boils down to the most effective way to go out and raise funding is when you don’t need it. So that means you probably figured out your customer acquisition strategy. Because customer acquisitions will get you paid as an entrepreneur, either through revenue or through way of traction to get funding. 

What do you say to an entrepreneur at the seed stage if they don’t have traction or customer acquisition?

I try to be as honest with them as I can, mainly, investors and venture capitalist will just string them along and tell them they are not ready. Helping them understand if you want to get funding, these are the types of things we look for: We are going to look for you to have traction. We are going to look for you to have customers, paying customers. We are going to look for you to have some trial data or companies accepting a trial beta. 

And it they give me the response, I don’t have money to market or get it out there, my response to them is the chicken and egg, right? As innovative and creative as you’re trying to be with your business, you should be just as innovative with customer acquisition.  

You have two things: You either have time or you have money. So if you don’t have money, you need to use all your time to figure out how to capitalize it. Because you already used all of your time to build and get the product, now you got to use all of your time to figure out how to get customers. 

There’s plenty of channels to start getting customers—to start generating revenue that doesn’t cost money—but requires effort and time. 

What do the companies look like that you have invested in the seed stage?

They have one to three founders. Their development may be in-house or may be from a third party, whether they are contracting out with somebody or using a dev (development) shop. They are still trying to figure out what their long-term strategy is.

But what they have figured out how is to get a group of people to start paying them for their product or a group of people to start using their product. We are not at the point of whether or not this truly scales. But we are at the point where we think it might. 

The money we are giving them is for them to figure out can this scale beyond the group of people paying you or using it now. From a product standpoint, it’s usually a product that is mostly baked, but not fully baked. There’s still some things that need to be done. It’s just now getting to the point they got some revenue coming in. 

They are starting to think through partnerships and doing some biz dev (business development) and they are at the earliest stage of creating themselves, branding themselves as subject matter experts. 

If you’re going to create a startup and you’re going to be a leader in the space, it always helps for the founders to build a brand and start to be known as subject matter experts or whatever space it is. 

What do you want to see in terms of a company’s ability to scale up?

Typically, when we talk about [scaling up], depending on the company, there’s a company that has a product that is being used really well in their local area. If we are talking about Maryland, DC, Virginia area, now he has the ability to be a national company. 

This is a place where a lot of startups will fail because they are able to get the people in their local community, local state, or people they should go to. But what happens if you’re based in Maryland and you want to expand to Texas? Do you have to hire staff or physically move your operation to Texas to get up and running? Or is there a way for that to happen organically or programmatically? 

If you need to put boots on the group for that, that’s not going to scale well. That takes a lot of money. That becomes very capital intensive. Groupon’s way to grow was to have a gigantic sales force. And it didn’t last. 

If we are talking numbers, when you come to me, we are doing pre-seed funding. Maybe you’re doing $100,000 or $200,000 in revenue, how do we get you to $1 million or $2 million in revenue?  Can you get there? 

Let’s say you’re selling a product. How do we get you to grow by 50 percent month over month for the next six months? Can you do that or can you at least start charting in that direction so that we know if you get more money you can continue in that direction going?

At the pre-seed level, what’s the range of funding you’re contributing to these businesses? 

For my organization specifically, at pre-seed stage we do $50,000, seed stage we do $100,000 to $500,000, and at the venture stage, we do $500,000 to $2 million plus. 

Do you put someone on the company’s board and provide additional services at this stage?

No. For pre-seed and seed, it’s personally my belief, you shouldn’t have a board. If you’re raising money at the pre-seed or seed stage, you should probably be raising a convertible note or SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) note. That’s a note for equity in the future, based on a future evaluation. 

They are much simpler to use. They don’t necessarily require you to have a board, so you can continue to grow the way you want to. 

When you get to a series A round, whoever your lead investor is, they are probably going to ask for one or two board seats. I typically tell entrepreneurs, if you have a series A round, you’re a C corporation, you need a board, try to keep your board to three, definitely don’t go over five. 

I think five-person boards are hard for a series A company. You really want three. You want your lead investor (or most impactful investor), you as the CEO, and then a third party, who is a trusted party that you as the CEO chose. And you chose them for the business acumen, not because they are always going to agree with you.     

Is your organization setting aside money for a follow-on investment, after your organization has made a series A investment? 

Yes, absolutely. The venture fund’s initial investment in a series A is somewhere from $2 and $5 million. But as you raise additional capital there is capital set aside to do follow-on funding. 

What are your thoughts on the Silicon-Valley model, where they are trying to invest in unicorns (billion-dollar companies). 

They kind of have to because that’s the way the economics break out. If you’re a fund, the majority of the investments you make are going to fail. Typically, the economics state that the one-year investments are going to hit and the recurrence from that should be large enough to return the entire amount of the fund. 

Then after that, you’ll have a few other companies that are going to hit and they are going to be your singles and doubles and triples that are going to give you some okay returns. That’s where you make your money off of. That only really works for a unicorn model. 

From a venture stand point, you only make money back if the company gets acquired or goes public. That’s a high bar to reach. Whereas, I think revenue-based investing allows for you to investment in a lot more diverse set of companies because you get returns back based on the company’s revenue growth, as opposed to a zero-sum game. 

Venture capital is a zero-sum game. Most companies are not going to get acquired or go public. But there are plenty of companies that may never be big that are going to grow and grow their revenue significantly over a period of time. You can get good returns back and be just as financially rich. That’s a very different model. 

The Silicon-Valley model works because they are only trying to feed those super huge outcomes. I think that’s a form of investing that is overhyped and is one that we overvalue because at the end of the day, venture capital (VC) is nothing but a subset of private equity. Venture capital is like pennies compared to the money spent in private equity. 

What do you say to a company that is not going to be a unicorn, but could be very successful at the $10, $20, $40, $50, $100 million level? What do you say to that company that is not going to be a unicorn or shouldn’t go to funders out in Silicon Valley?

I tell them to be creative, and I tell them there’s more than one way to get funding. I tell them there are plenty of angel investors out there that do revenue-based investing. 

You watch Shark Tank, that’s a lot of the kind of investing they do. I also tell them the people with the most money that can make that kind of investment, are family offices. They are offices ran by families that basically have endowments or have generational money that is being managed by someone to grow. They understand revenue-based investing, very well. And there’s opportunities there. 

I tell them don’t get so caught up in the venture capital, Silicon-Valley hype, because it is hype. There’s a lot of marketing around it. It’s sounds cool. It makes for good stories. It makes for good movies. 

There’s more than one way to play any game. There’s a bunch of different ways to do this game. Find the one that works best for you. There’s several books out there on other models and other ways to raise capital. 

Are there any books you want to mention?

Jenny Kassan’s book, Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: How to Fund Your Business Without Selling Your Soul. I believe she gives like 16 different ways for you to raise money for your company, without having to go the VC route. 

Why don’t women and people of color receive funding comparable to white males?

I think it’s a really complex question. There are layered reasons for it. Very often—especially for people of color, I don’t know if this is true for women, but I’m not going to speak on that—we don’t have access or are not part of networks where money flows. 

There are people in this country who grow up in blue-collar households, who live in neighborhoods where their neighbor owned a plumbing business, or their uncle was a doctor, or their teacher’s brother was a lawyer. And they are able to have conversations and be around people who think about money differently or have disposable income. 

Whereas, very often people of color will come from communities where that didn’t exist. So even the idea of how money works in general in our capitalist society doesn’t even get picked up, whether it be from an early age or later on in life. It’s not there. 

I would also say because of that, people of color and women are not necessarily exposed into the game of money and the game of raising money. There’s a strategy to raising money. It’s not just I have a business, you should give me money, or I have a business that’s doing good, you should give me money. 

There’s a process to it. And it you’re not in those circles where you get to learn that process, and you come in without having the network and without understanding the process, without understanding it’s a bit of a dog and pony show. You’re several steps behind, no matter how successful your business is, or how successful your business will be. 

How do we teach people of color and women to play the game of raising money?

If you want to learn that game, a lot of that knowledge is out there. A lot of investors have blogs, where they breakdown exactly what they’re looking for when they talk to entrepreneurs. A lot of them have written books about exactly what they are looking for when it comes to entrepreneurs. 

Guy Kawasaki has a famous book called The Art of the Start, where he gives a breakdown on what the pitch looks like. They give some very practical advice. There are tons of YouTube videos of pitches, people giving advice on pitches, but you have to know to look for that. If you don’t even know the language of startups, you wouldn’t even know where to start. You wouldn’t even know what to Google. 

I would also say programs like Founder’s Gym. Founder’s Gym is run by a former investor [Freada Kapor Klein] from Kapor Capital, who saw that these underrepresented founders were having a hard time raising capital because they didn’t know the game. She literally created a program that teaches people the game of raising funds. 

Accelerators can be a good place to learn the game and then having the ability to reach out to mentors, or gaining mentors from entrepreneurs who have already done it who could share that advice. 

But again, very often people of color come from communities where the idea of a mentor isn’t the same thing, where like your mentor was your big brother from the Boys & Girls Club or your best friend’s uncle, who had a good government job and had the house that the water was never turned off,  which is very different from me meeting an entrepreneur in my industry—maybe he’s really successful—and me having a conversations, and asking him for advice and having them help me along and building my business.   

How do you educate entrepreneurs about being open to feedback?

That’s a tough one because people like that tend to not want to hear what you have to say. What I do is try and have a sit-down conversation and let them know like hey, I’m only here to help you. I worked with and helped a lot of companies.  

I’ve seen a lot of stuff happen in this industry. I’m only trying to give you the benefit of the knowledge that I have accumulated and things I’ve seen happen. At the end of the day, you as the founder of your company need to make the final decision, but it is worth your time and energy to at least hear out what I’m saying. 

And if they don’t take to that, well it will probably never work. If you’re an entrepreneur who’s not coachable, it’s going to be really hard for me to help you. If it’s hard for me to help you, I’m not going to be willing to open up my Rolodex and my connections to help you in the future. 

If you’re going to act that way, and be difficult with me, I don’t want you acting and being difficult with my friends or people who I do business with. Nobody wants to work with a jerk. 

Is there any advice you can give a fellow entrepreneur?

Investors are not here to give you money to solve problems you haven’t figured out. 

Very often entrepreneurs are looking to raise venture capital, looking to raise money from investors because they have some problem they haven’t figured out themselves. They want to figure it out on someone’s dime. Very often it’s how to get the product built or how to find customers and markets. 

Nobody really wants to give you money to figure stuff out, unless they just like you and care about you.  That’s why your first bit of money comes from friends and family, which is another thing entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs tend to have issues with. 

People in African-American communities tend to give us money to get started because they care about us. So if we don’t [get money from the community], we can only go to people who do this professional. And no professional investors give you money to go figure things out, especially a person of color. 

I’m not giving you my money to learn, I’m giving you my money to grow. 

Be really open to feedback and be honest with your investors, or the people around you trying to help you. Don’t try to hide things. Hiding things and holding things back, only holds back your company.  

The moment you can be open with the people that are there to help you, the moment they can actually help you get through those things. 

How much have you raised? What led to the eventual sale of your company?

For my first company, we only raised $25,000 and that came from an accelerator. We grew that a little over 4 and a half years. 

What happened was towards the end of that company, we had a large client who was using our product. And they basically wanted exclusivity, and we said instead of exclusivity, would you like to buy it? 

And so they came back with some terms and some things. They essentially purchased the technology from our company. In Silicon Valley terms it was an exit. It was a Fortune 100 company that bought the technology from us. 

It was an exist. It wasn’t an exit in what you traditionally see, when you see companies get acquired because they didn’t acquire us as a company, they just acquired our technology and our IP (intellectual property). That was fun. 

What happened next? Did you start another company?

Directly after that, I started the second company. I went through another accelerator. I raised an undisclosed amount of angel investment. 

For my first company, we weren’t able to raise money: 1) because we didn’t know how to get customers and 2) we didn’t know what we were doing. 

For my second company, raising money and getting introductions…that was super easy because I knew everything already. I understood the game of raising money. I understood what the investors were looking for. 

I had connections from day one for my second company. I had connections from people to help me and get feedback from. And I learned how to be a CEO and got really good at business development, so I was able to get customers. 

My second company everything came so much easier. But the part where I fell apart at, and the thing I messed up on was I just didn’t get the right team. 

What do entrepreneurs need to do to get the right team? 

Make sure that the people you are working with are entrepreneurial minded, meaning they are willing and ready to quit their job, put in long hours, sacrifice a whole lot, and may have to do it for an extended period of time because they are doing it because they truly believe in the vision. 

If you don’t have people who have fully bought into the vision, they are just doing it because it’s cool, fun or something to do, then they are probably not the right people for your team. 

We covered a lot of material. Any closing thoughts?

Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And people will rarely talk about the dark side or hard parts about it. 

But I’ll say it’s the most rewarding things I’ve ever did. So don’t go into it thinking it’s going to be fun, or that you’re going to have a good time doing it. There’s going to be a lot of hard times. But when you get to the other side, you would have gained and learned, more than you can ever have imagined. 

Is it fair to say that you may go back down the road of entrepreneurship again?

I don’t know, that’s up in the air. 


 

 Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money. 

 

Women have come a long way in the U.S. But it’s only been 31 years since HR 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 (“WBOA”) was passed that allowed women to sign for a bank loan without their husband’s signature. This legislation helped open the door wider to entrepreneurship for women. While some things have changed for women, all is not rosy. In fact, women founders received only two percent of VC funding in 2018. However, there is a glimmer of hope. Tony Tjan is the man behind the only VC firm that started as a nail salon. He’s determined to give women a chance to grow their businesses. Watch the video here. 


 

The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Because the Silicon-Valley VC model is not working for all, a new disruptive model is sprouting up to usher in what may be an entrepreneur-friendly approach that helps keep control in the founders’ hands and generate a reasonable return to investors. Welcome to the “indie VC” model. Learn about this emerging model

Some startup founders are telling VCs to get lost. “The tool of venture capital is so specific to a tiny, tiny fraction of companies. We can’t let ourselves be fooled into thinking that’s the story of the future of American entrepreneurship,” said Mara Zepeda, a 38-year-old entrepreneur who in 2017 helped start an advocacy organization called Zebras Unite. Read her story here.


 

Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

The Patagonia vest has become one of America’s Most Wanted products. It’s so coveted that VCs in Silicon Valley have made it their go-to uniform, which is not sitting well with Patagonia. In fact, the company is refusing to sell its vest to financial types and others not aligned to its mission. Read the story here


 

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson wrote the book Venture Deals in 2013. Time flies, but this book has held up well. It is still one of the best books to read about understanding the VC industry. The book’s subtitle says it all: Be smarter than your lawyer and venture capitalist. Learn how venture capital works, how deals are structured, and more. To read the book, visit your local library or bookstore. 


 

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

According to PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, the venture industry deployed $130.9 billion in US-based startups across almost 9,000 deals, surpassing the all-time high in 2000. Download the report here


 

Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think. 

“Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And people will rarely talk about the dark side or hard parts about it.”

- McKeever (Mac) Conwell II, Co-manager of a seed fund & entrepreneur  


 

Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

Understanding the problem your business solves and the value you create is the key to business. Of course, reaching your target market as efficiently as possible helps. Meet the woman building a beer business on the “sweaty consumer”, a market the burgeoning craft-beer industry has ignored. Discover why you need to find your “sweaty consumer”.  Read the full story here


 

Last Words

Our July issue will spotlight angel investors and how they’re funding the next generation of innovative companies. 

Anthony Price will be in West Hartford on Thursday to discuss how you can find growth capital. Register for the event

Can’t make it to one of Anthony’s live events, purchase Get the Loot and Run, his groundbreaking book to build a better business that has over 40 ways to raise capital. Need one-on-one help raising capital? Whether you’re a business or nonprofit, we can help. Contact us today.

Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter


 

----April 22, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 3: Special Crowdfunding Issue----

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

Our trailblazer this month is not a person. It is crowdfunding and the entrepreneurs using this method to raise capital. Review the history of crowdfunding with this infographic.

Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money. 

Crowdfunding campaigns fall into three categories: donation, rewards, and investment. Find the solution that aligns with your business goals. Read more about the types of crowdfunding

Below are examples of donation-based, reward-based and investment-based crowdfunding. 

  • Tiki seeks to raise $49,000 on GoFundMe to grow her Cowboy Up hand gliding school in Texas. Read about her story here and how she used the donation-based platform GoFundMe to raise capital. 

  • Blue Earth Compost, a Connecticut-based company, raised over $22,000 on the reward-based platform Indiegogo to purchase a vehicle. Learn about their story here

  • Investment-based crowdfunding is not for everyone. Read how Dawn Dickson raised over $1 million on Start Engine to launch her disruptive technology

 The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Meet Jay Hays, an entrepreneur who has successfully crowdfunded six projects. Jeff will give you his top 14 secrets to succeeding at donor-based crowdfunding. Get the scoop here

Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

Baubax created the world’s best travel jacket and raised over $9.1 million. You may not raise that much on Kickstarter. But it is possible. Review Baubax's Kickstarter campaign here. The company launched  a new campaign that has raised over $2.4 million with 10 days left, as April 22 2019. See it

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

Rand Fishkin is an entrepreneur and author. He wrote the book Lost & Founder to show entrepreneurs that there is more than one way to fund a fast-growing business. Rand says, “Silicon Valley-startup advice is flat out wrong…” If you’re considering building a business the Silicon-Valley way, read Rand's book first

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

Since 2009, over $4.2 billion has been pledged on Kickstarter and 116,805 projects were successful. Review up-to-the-minute stats here

Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think. 

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” -  Oprah Winfrey. 

Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

Meet John Katovich, a securities lawyer helping to democratize capital for all. His firm, Cutting Edge Capital, assists nonprofits, business owners and entrepreneurs with navigating the process of raising capital. If you need a skilled lawyer to raise capital from investors in your community, contact John

Last Words

Profesisonal-Grade Crowdfunding: Raise $1 Million for Your Business. Learn how to raise money for your business utilizing crowdfunding with Anthony Price. Register to attend this live, 2-hour webinar on Sunday, April 28th at 5:00 p.m Eastern Time. Don't miss your chance to raise capital and grow your business!

 

----March 3, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 2----

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

The movie High Flying Bird revolves around rookie Erick Scott, a professional basketball player drafted by New York, but locked out by the owners before his first season starts. Ray, Erick’s agent, schools his client about money, business, life, and develops a strategy for his client to challenge the owners’ stranglehold on the game. 

This film is more about dialogue than sports action. In a memorable scene, a basketball coach says, “They put a game on top of the game.” Professional sports are big business. 

Director Steven Soderberghused shoot the film using an iPhone 8 and a budget of only $2 million. He secured a distribution deal with Netflix (the company that disrupted Blockbuster and surpassed HBO’s subscriber based). Is this the new template for a disruptive cadre of writers, directors, and filmmakers who are flipping the script on gatekeepers? Read more

Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money

Meet Nicole Peterkin, CEO of Peterkin Financial and a Certified Financial Planner. Nicole will write a column about how you can get the most out of your money to live your best life.  This month Nicole shows you how to put money away to pay your quarterly taxes. 

How to Avoid the Quarterly Trap of Tax Payments

With the tax filing deadlines around the corner (March 15 for Corporations and April 15 for individuals), this is the time of year where I hear the most panic from clients in both camps who for one reason or another owe money to the IRS.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed with my small business clients (or those who are commission based and drive their own book of business) is a struggle with keeping up with making quarterly estimated tax payments. One contributing factor is that the societal norm for both personal and business expenses is typically that these are paid monthly.

When virtually everything else is due once a month, paying an expense that is a relatively large as a percentage compared to most of one’s other monthly expenses and doing it once every three months can be overwhelming. Before you know it, some or all of the money that would have otherwise gone towards an estimated tax payment has been spent.

A solution I usually put forward to clients who get caught in this vicious cycle is to make their tax payments monthly instead. They have the quarterly tax vouchers so they know what they are expected to pay over the next year broken up quarterly. And they know their businesses.

Often, clients in business don’t know exactly what they’ll make month by month because there are multiple variables, but they know whether the month they just had was bad, good, or great and how much they can spare if anything. They also know whether the current month will be better and can budget accordingly.

Armed with this information, I usually suggest that if this was an average month, they log onto IRS.gov and make a payment equivalent to 1/3 of their quarterly tax bill (or a little more if they want to be safe feel like they can based on their expenses that month).

If the month was higher or lower than average, I suggest a proportional tax payment for the month as a percentage. Functioning this way takes a little more effort in the beginning, but it makes budgeting for your tax expense similar to budgeting for other regular expenses.

Psychologically, it’s just easier to make 3 payments of plus or minus $5,000 each month based on what is going on with your business revenue rather than to make one payment of $15,000, which may just happen to land at the end of a difficult revenue month.

Yes, yes, I know. It shouldn’t matter. Small business owners should have a cushion so that they can still pay their quarterly tax bills regardless of the kind of month their having, but in my experience it just doesn’t happen for the majority of my small business clients unless we either set things up this way or unless we segregate the tax money into a different account following Michael Michalowicz’ Profit First method.

Breaking up tax payments into smaller chunks and making the payments monthly or more frequently can help solve the problems of tax-time stress, underpayment penalties, and costly IRS repayment plans. 

One of the recommendations I hear most at tax time by my clients' accountants is to fund IRAs (SEP, SIMPLE, Traditional) to help reduce their tax burdens. Many times, if the money really isn’t there to pay the actual taxes, it is also difficult for the same individual to scrape up enough cash to make a meaningful pre-tax retirement contribution without digging into emergency savings, which I never recommend.

Building in a similar monthly strategy for retirement savings as a small business owner can also help with this issue or make it so that they can benefit from after tax contribution strategies that may help more long term with their future tax obligations. Ultimately, what is best for one entrepreneur may not be best for you which is why it’s important to work with your own financial planner and tax advisor to see what benefits you most from an overall financial perspective.

I hope what you take away from this piece is that there are always solutions that can feel much less painful and easier to implement with similar results if you look for them and have some guidance and accountability. 

Nicole Peterkin is the CEO of Peterkin Financial and author of the book If You Love Your Family, Save Like It

Business Capital 

There is no shortage of capital. Look at these options for your business:

  • FedEx launched its 7th annual Small Business Grant Competition. Enter by March 25th to compete for a grant of up to $50,000. Ten winners will walk away with prizes from $15,000 to $50,000. What have you got to lose? Visit the contest here
  • Get $10,000 from Wefunder. It’s an opportunity to raise an investment round from your families, friends and the public. Learn more here.
  • Chobani, the company that invented the Greek yogurt category in the U.S., will give you $25,000 and doesn’t want equity. Learn more about the Chobani Incubator
  • The bad news is that women are not getting their share of investment from venture capitalist. In fact, women founders received a paltry 2.2 percent of the $130 in venture dollars invested in the United States in 2018. However, women investors plan to turn lemons into lemonade by investing in women. Read this informative piece from the New York Times
  • If you have questions about capital, contact Anthony. 

 The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Chukwukere Ekeh is a marketing executive who helps organizations get the most out of their marketing. His personal mission statement is "to use my God-given abilitiesof encouragement and creativity to empower people to change the world."

Chukwukere will be a frequent contributor to show you how to get the most out of marketing. This month, Chukwukere writes a piece about how you can better utilize your marketing dollars and receive desired results. 

Getting 1 Million Views (A Conversation About Meaningful Marketing Metrics)

One million was an arbitrary number but it gets your attention. Much like when monitoring our marketing metrics we like a high number of views, visitors, likes, or followers because according to the law of averages it means greater conversation rates. Right? Wrong.

All going back to a simple but powerful marketing principle called “waste coverage”- this is when the reach of certain media exceeds the target audience. Simply put it’s when your marketing resources are being used on non-potential customers. Once you have identified your target audience you win by merely reaching them no matter how small or big – but anything that falls outside of those perimeters was useless. Even though us corporate marketers tend to write that all off in the name of "Brand Awareness".

So here are some quick tips and thoughts to make your marketing matter.

  1. When using influencers or analyzing your own presence on social media don’t just look for high follower counts make sure engagement on the platform whether it be likes, comments, etc. is also high and in ratio. Often you can find influencers who's numbers aren't crazy high in terms of followers but 85% of their content is seen or interacted with by their following which is noteworthy.
  2. If creating video content be sure to monitor viewer drop-off if the average viewer stops watching early on and rarely makes it to the end the content is either A. un-engaging or B. reaching the wrong people. Either way they are unlikely to be converted to a customer. 
  3. On your webpage watch the “bounce rate” which is the percentage of visitors who navigate away after only viewing a page. The higher this number means your website is unfriendly, unattractive, has poor landing pages, or the information isn't valuable which all leads to a similar end, that you are less likely to convert them to a customer.
  4. In attempts to garner some attention with content we sometimes tend to simply create "a diet of candy" which generally contains clickbait titles, tantalizing pictures, or silly videos. There is a time, place, and use for those things but also be sure you are creating some content that has substance, meaning, and purpose that aligns with your brand's values and mission.

So remember the goal is not simply to get the most traffic but always to give the most value to the target customers at a reasonable acquisition cost for your industry. Now go forward and market better.

Connect with Chukwukere Ekeh on LinkedIn. He is always up for meeting people and marketing talk. 

Tools: Boost Your Productivity. 

Get your calendar—and life—under control. You probably have a smartphone, desktop computer or other screen, and most likely you’re juggling several calendars between work and personal appointments. Get it all under control with one calendar.

Fantastical 2 will help you coordinate multiple calendars in one place. Popular Mechanics ranked the Fantastical 2 one of the 30 best iPhone apps to download now. Learn more here

 Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

The way you dress says much about you—clothes are a form of marketing. They communicate a visual message. Clothes are how we see the world and want to be seen. 

Spring is coming. Here are spring looks for both women and men.

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

Paul Jarvis toiled for twenty years as a one-person business. Over the years, he worked with Warner Music, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, and was featured in USA Today, Fast Company, and WIRED. His online courses have helped over 13,500 students.  

Paul earned his master’s the hard way, not as a freelancer exchanging time for money, but as a business satisfying customers one at a time. Operating a business is not easy, and doing anything well for a longtime commands respect. 

Along his journey, Paul learned much about creating a sustainable business. And now he has something to share with you in his magnum opus: Company of One.  

The book Company of One is a contrarian's message against the popular business mantra of growth at all cost. This growth message is ingrained in business but rarely questioned. We watch stock prices of public companies as if it is the national sport. 

But should we worship growth? Is growth always in the best interest of employees and the company? Paul takes on these questions from his unique perspective. 

Growth can be a curse when the focus moves from satisfying customers to arbitrary financial numbers that often reward wrong behaviors as opposed to continuously improving products and the customer experience. Paul asks, “What if you worked instead toward growing smaller, smarter, more efficient, and more resilient?” 

Paul seeks to “build better, not bigger, businesses.” In the book, he says, “Staying small doesn’t have to be a stepping-stone to something else or the result of a business failure—rather, it can be an end goal or a smart long-term strategy.” 

Company of One is a powerful message for a one-person business and a philosophy employees can use working for larger corporations. This book is an instant classic for any person making a living as a business or selling their skills in the marketplace. 

Next time you see your favorite business magazine with the hotshot of the moment on the cover, keep walking and do it your way. Read more about Company of One here.

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

Las Vegas had over 21,000 conventions and 42 million visitors in 2018. Read more here

Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think. 

“I love to continue to push the limits on who I am as a person.” – Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors. Read this inspiring piece about Kevin’s future plans.

Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

Irene Li, a young chef and co-owner with her two siblings of Mei Mei Street Kitchen (food truck catering business) and Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, which serves up Chinese-American cuisine. She has been a five-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist, a Zagat and Forbes 30 under 30 winner. Irene implemented open book management at Mei Mei. Read about how she taught her employees a greater appreciate for the costs of running a restaurant in Boston. Here’s her story

Last Words

  • Anthony Price appeared on the Small Business as Usual podcast with host Frederick Welk Jr, a business advisor at CEDF and host of the program. Listen to the program. 
  • Anthony will talk about crowdfunding at the Lunch & Learn at the MEWS + at 11:45 a.m. on March 14th. Later the same day, Anthony will read from his book at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore in Middletown on March 14that 7:00 p.m. 
  • Anthony will be at Barnes & Noble on March 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in Blue Back Square, West Hartford. He will give a presentation about raising capital and sign books. 
  • If you want to build a better business and find capital, Get the Loot and Run is the book to take your business to the next level. Invest in yourself by purchasing the book now. 
  • Our goal is to grow Loot to 10,000 subscribers. If this information is helpful, share it with a friend. Tell us how you shared it, and you could win a pair of super comfortable and fun Able Made socks that promote healthy and active living through youth soccer clinics in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut. Live Bold. Learn more here.

  • A special thank-you goes to Yvette Williams, the owner of The Esteemed Scribe. If you need editing services, contact Yvette.
     

 

----February 3, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 1----

 

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs 

The world lost a Trailblazer on October 5, 2011, when Steve Jobs passed away. Jobs was different. He made his signature black turtleneck, worn jeans and running sneakers cool. His influence and accomplishments can’t be explained by mere technology, Pixar animated movies or retail. 

Jobs changed how we listen and purchase music at the iTunes Store, communicate with the iPhone, purchase apps from the App Store, get our work done on Macs, shop at an Apple store, get answers to questions at the Genius bar, watch Apple TV, and how people work in Apple’s new headquarters at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino, California. 

Jobs’ wisdom, knowledge, determination and persistence is a reminder that all the easy stuff is done. His influence lives on. Job’s message is we must do the difficult work to move the world forward. Here’s a quick read about Steve Jobs  

 Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money


Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square 

Young FinTech (finance technology) companies are fighting for what has been exclusively a bank’s turf: Small-business lending. Jack Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments business. Square, which was founded in 2009, revolutionized the way small businesses accept credit card transactions. When it introduced its white charge reader, it made the payment process simple and quick for small businesses. 

The company eliminated the need to buy expensive equipment, monthly contracts and high swipe fees. The revolution continues. Now Square is seeking a banking license to create products tailored to small businesses. Square’s march to become a bank is a natural evolution for a company focused on serving small businesses. Read more here

The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Entrepreneurs must have an in-depth knowledge of marketing. They often think it is only a company name, logo or Facebook ads. However, marketing is essential to your business health. Many businesses are missing a crucial opportunity to tell their unique store and separate them form the competition. Steve Jobs understand this and used marketing to tell Apple’s story. In one of his well-known marketing campaigns, he inspired us to Think Different. There’s the behind the scenes story how the marketing team wanted the slogan to be Think Differently, but Jobs fought back not to add the “ly”.  

In the video link below, Job says, “To me marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us, no company is. And we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” Watch it here  

Tools: Boost Your Productivity.



Tools have been around since before cavemen—and women. They help us get work done faster, easier, and with less effort. This week we focus on a tool that saves time. Go-To-Meeting is one of the best communication tools to get people together without them leaving their location—it saves millions of travel miles a year. This tool saves time, money and can boost productivity. 

As an entrepreneur, use Go-To-Meeting to schedule video conference calls or training sessions. Your meeting can be recorded, transcribed and saved to the cloud for viewing later on. If someone missed the meeting, they can watch it at a convenient time. Evaluate competing product offerings such as Zoom, Join Me, FreeConferenceCall.com and UberConference, before making your selection. Learn more here 

 Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

 

We are increasingly spending more time at work, whether it be at the office, Starbucks or at home, work never stops. Our on-the-go lives don’t allow us to take care of our minds, bodies and souls as well as we should, which can impact our ability to stay healthy and make a living. 

Poor eating habits can pack on pounds in no time. There are solutions to help you make better eating decisions and get your workout in daily. 

Health is the new wealth. One way to a healthier you is exercise. Don’t have time? Well, a rigorous workout only takes seven minutes. That’s right. The seven-minute workout is gaining in popularity. This workout consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is strenuous cardio exercise at maximum capacity with minimal breaks between exercises. You get the benefits of a challenging workout in less time. Read about the 7-minute workout 

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The E Myth Revisted by Michael E. Gerber is one of the most important books in print for small-business owners. The E-Myth consist of two elements: 1) The E Myth is the entrepreneurial myth that most people who start a small business are entrepreneurs. 2) The fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work. 

This book teaches business owners how to create a system to build a business, like McDonald’s and other successful franchises. The system is the business. Read about it here  

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

Numbers matter. Follow the data. The U.S. experiences a net gain of 1 person every 19 seconds and the population is expected to grow to 458 million by 2050. Read more here

 Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think

 

 Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

How organized a person, group or organization is speaks volumes. What does your workplace say about your business? What does your home indicate about you? If you have a hard time finding things, and the physical space is not the image you want to project to employees, customers, partners and guests, it may be time to get organized. Maria Kondo can help. Kondo wrote the bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. 

Her new show recently debuted on Netflix: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. On the show, Kondo helps residents of cluttered homes organize their belongings—and lives. Her KonMari method trains people to ask themselves if an item “sparks joy” to determine whether or not to keep it. She is the decluttering guru that built a business out of her passion. Here’s her story

Last Words

Need capital? Get the Loot and Runis the authority on capital. Inside the book, you’ll find over 40 ways to raise capital along with wisdom to build a better business. Get your copy today, and I will sign it. Buy it now

Help us grow our newsletter to 10,000 subscribers. Share Loot with a friend. As a thank-you gift, each week we will pick a winner to receive a free pair of Able Made socks. Able Made is the sustainably sourced apparel brand that promotes healthy and active living through their partnership with a foundation that sponsors a youth soccer clinic in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut. Live Bold. Learn more here