Conventional wisdom for hiring people, such as “only hire people smarter than you,” is all well and good for startups that are remarkably well-funded, but for those with limited budgets and minimal brand awareness, recruiting top talent isn’t affordable or realistic. So how can you build the team you need? Through unconventional means: look where others are not looking; understand subtle signals that indicate relevant strengths beyond a candidate’s traditional qualifications; find candidates for roles where they can play to their strengths; and create a workplace where people do not live for the weekend.
While leaders need to be confident in their abilities, they also need to realize they’re not going to see everything. Such “blind spots” can be a good thing when they help you keep your confidence in the face of significant obstacles, but they can also hurt you and your company. Five common blind spots are: overestimating strategic ability; valuing being right over being effective; covering for weak team members; communicating ineffectively; and losing track of what’s happening around you.
So how do you figure out what your blind spots are? Look to your history to see where you’ve made your biggest mistakes or where you have recurring issues in your work. Also, you can ask trusted colleagues who are vested in your success. Finally, formal tools such as 360-degree evaluations can be helpful.
Anymore, it seems like every business has a mobile app. Even if your business is relatively small, the temptation to develop your own is understandable, especially given the stats about the significant amount of time consumers now spend on mobile devices. But before investing in a mobile app for your business, consider these eight questions to determine if it is right for you, from whether you rely heavily on branding to if your app will actually solve a customer problem.
Not every company has the budget to retain their best talent with the conventional method of increasing salaries or offering bonuses. So what relatively inexpensive yet effective benefits can you extend to your employees (that they’ll actually appreciate)? Member of the Forbes Coaches Council suggested thirteen, ranging from investing in personal development initiatives and career growth roundtables to offering time off for family issues and implementing a flexible work schedule.
Is your business one of Canada’s most promising startups?
The Fundica Roadshow is teaming up with Canada’s most active seed stage venture capital fund, Panache Ventures, for the Roadshow’s cross-Canada pitch competition. The Roadshow will stop in Montreal on May 1st, Vancouver on May 31st, and Toronto on June 28th. In each city, up to 20 select entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch to a funding panel. The finalists will be eligible for up to $500,000 in total investment funds, to be awarded at the Roadshow’s finale in Montreal. To learn more, visit the Fundica Roadshow website at https://www.fundicaroadshow.com/.
Before starting your own business, first define your reasons for doing so, as they will see you through the challenges. Then to ensure you get off to a good start, note these three pragmatic tips: write a detailed business plan, being sure to estimate your startup and overhead costs as accurately as possible; schedule your own time well, realizing it will be spent doing administrative and organizational work as well as your own work; and learn how to motivate and lead a team.
Not so fast: before you agree to that small business loan with an online lender, be doubly sure you know exactly what terms you’re agreeing to, and exactly what lender. That is the legal headache of a small business owner who recently brought suit against an online lender and its partner bank, alleging the fintech used its relationship with the bank to circumvent usury law that makes it illegal for a non-bank lender to charge more than 29 percent annual interest.
Unfortunately, this case is only one of many alleging that online lenders charge interest rates that burden their small-business clients with unsustainable loan repayments. These same unscrupulous online lenders also often fail to disclose hidden fees, and have unclear loan terms (such as the frequency of payments).
Look into alternatives, such as micro loans and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, discussed in this article.
So how do you talk about failure – confidently? Be honest and disclose the failure, then discuss what you learned from it. Put your mistake in the context of how it shaped the person you are today. The caveat: this only works if your failure(s) happened some time ago, for obvious reasons.
BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen reportedly said that at one point, when he wanted to start a new business, he essentially sought out people who failed at startups. Why? “The people who actually have failed before gave us a lot of good insight and experience and also have the proper attitudes about not thinking everything is smooth sailing.”
According to data from crowdfunding platform Fundable, the most common funding sources for startups launched in the U.S. are personal savings, friends and family, venture capital and angel investors.
If none of these are an option for your new business, and you lack the business history and credit to land a traditional bank loan, look into these specific small-business startup loan options: equipment financing, which allows you to purchase new equipment for your business by using the equipment itself as collateral; a business credit card, which enables you to build business credit; and a credit line builder, in which you work with a financing company to secure approval for a set of business credit cards.
The owner of a successful tech company shares seven tips on how he was able to forgo raising venture capital money and bootstrap his business. Some of the tips are familiar, such as not quitting your day job and planning to wear a lot of hats at first, but others may seem new. These include: testing the market, finding talented job candidates who require minimal training, and quickly deciding which ideas are working out (and killing those that aren’t) so you don’t burn through your financial reserves.