Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator
CollegePower is an advertising and promotion agency that represents local businesses which surround college campuses and are actively seeking to attract more students. We do so through a range of products and service that offer the students incentives to include our clients in their decision making process.
Fun Fundraising Facts
I do not know everything about fundraising if I did I would be rich already. However, I have learned a few things and here they are:
Angel investors want big money and VCs want bigger money!
These people are not your friend and don't like you. They mostly like your idea and possibly your ability to execute your concept. Im serious I have learned they really do not like you, they have to trust your promise to fulfill your duties but they do not need to like anything else about you personally. They only care about your concept earning them profit.
Will your company make 5 or more times the amount they will put into it? We all like to think it will or dream of those days. The reality is unless you can put your dreams down on paper or in a good powerpoint the investor wont buy into it.
You may have the best idea out there and a billion dollar market, but if you can not demonstrate that to the investor forget asking for funding because their is no value in the dream just the dollar.
Take money, take abuse, take your behind home
That is the cycle of getting in bed with an investor. They will give you money because they expect a lot of results, fall short one day and you will see a whole different side of that smile. It makes sense if I gave my personal money out I would be very upset if promises were not met.
Even if promises are met if results are not as lucrative, or the investor decides they want to escalate the profits prepare to be worked to border line abuse. The whole purpose for this arrangement is that they say words and actions happen that generate revenue. If you are not meeting their standards it's not going to last long with you.
The company will keep going and I say the company vs your company because it will not be yours much longer.
Once you are tapped out or no longer pleasing the investor prepare to be bought out, diluted or even worse...
Okay, that was a little extreme you will just be booted.
To counter all of this is easy though
Do your homework, and come in prepared. Know what you can offer, push yourself further than the limits expected and have your exit strategy ready. Tell them upfront how it will work before you take the money, or DONT take the money.
A compilation of some lessons I have learned in the accelerator. In no particular order.
1. Seeking approval from individuals outside of the client/user market
If you sell tap dancing shoes as a product are you going to ask NBA player how they fit and feel? Or better yet will you be seeking their approval of your idea? Hopefully the answer is “NO”.
You may laugh and think how ridiculous of a question that is. It will blow your mind how many entrepreneurs take time out of their day to seek approval from individuals that are not and will not be clients our users.
This is not to say that if your friend or associate happens to be a professional basketball player (while you are getting me an autograph) that you can not run your idea by them looking for some feedback. No matter who what or where all feedback is good feedback. Whether it sparks instant change or you make a note if it is at your discretion of course. However, remember these words a wild fire can be sparked by any flame, no matter it’s origin.
Take the time to evaluate your company/idea and decide who falls into your user/client market, because these are the only people if any that you should seek approval from.
2. Spending money to promote yourself
From here I can not see what industry you are in so I do not know what expenses are essential to your success. To illustrate my point we will use my company as an example. CollegePower Inc. is a company that gets college students discounts that fit into their lifestyles.
We do not spend money on expensive advertising, we are an advertising agency and (we agree advertising prices are ridiculous so) we come up with ways to promote our self without spending a ton of money.
We love free publicity, we make our presence known on social media and we get the word out by word of mouth.Free publicity is just telling your story you all have a unique story find a way to convey your message uniquely reporters will jump on it.
Social Media is an abstract animal to be totally tackled as a separate issue. Third party marketing is the most credible efficient and fast way of spreading your message. Encourage your friends to be a friend and tell a friend.
3. Suspecting everyone of wanting to steal your idea.
Not everyone is out to steal your idea. In fact I will venture to say nobody wants your idea. It is more likely someone steals a tangible item from you like your laptop over your idea.
Is it difficult is it for you to accomplish your goals? Do you struggle to get employees to carry out tasks to your liking? Well guess what, that is a lot of headache for someone else to take on, in addition to what they already have on their plate.
You have the entire picture of where your company can and will go, yet these tasks are still challenging. Do you really think someone else wants to play guessing game guru and try to execute what you have already accomplished. Your idea is unproven, risky and you already have a head start. Ask yourself this question: Would you want to play guessing game guru with with that much of a handicap? Didn’t think so...
To sum it all up what we learned here today is that we should avoid seeking approval, spending unnecessarily and suspecting everyone is a corporate spy. Three simple solutions that will help all entrepreneurs focus more on the important things like earning revenue, planning and delegating.
Public Speaking with Todd
The fact that speaking in front of large crowds outranked death as peoples number one fear was shocking to me. It almost seems crazy but I guess it makes sense the saying "I rather die than give a speech".
Nobody would ever tell you that Lucky Henry is scared of public speaking and be telling you the truth. I do not fear it rather it excites me. This is because I understand that I am enlightening minds when I speak.
Not because of some perceived superiority complex or placed judgement of inferiority. This enlightenment comes beacuse I am sharing information with my listeners that they can only gain from me.
Facts are facts and can be found and arrived at independantly but my personal input and feeling behind it are exclusive to my sharing.
Todd was crucial though in showing some simple tactics on framing content. I have come to understand a good public speaker will have people walking away saying he was good/great/amazing. However, when a listener is asked to recite what was said they often struggle despite the amazing delivery skills of the speaker.
Similarly a good speaker can sound boring or monotone and everyone walks away thinking "that speaker sucked". However, when asked to recite the work they can summarize what was said because of the framework that was laid out by the speaker.
This framework has a lot do with a simple concept that says "tell em what you going tell em, tell em what you want to tell em, then tell em what you told em".
It is that simple, and that framework has led to many good public speakers, not great ones but good ones. The opposite is true for those who found these delivery methods to boring and revolutionized them by adding more excitement but lost the framework of the content. They also added to the count of good public speakers in the world currently but again not to the count of great public speakers.
The secret to being a great public speaker is simple combine both aspects of good public speakers then one will truly the art.
Marketing is key in any business but it's the master key when your business is marketing.
The last two seeions we had focused a lot on marketing and proved extremely useful. We discussed B2B and B2C PR Advertising and how the all fall under marketing. As a company that needs to market B2B and B2C it is important that we understand how and where to convey each of our tailored messages. We have to understand where each market is and get the right message to them. Bobbie prompted me to make sure when using PR campagins to understand the audience of the medium we choose. If we plan on being published in the BostonBusinessJournal we need to understand that the intended audience here is business minded people so we can talk a little bit more about how our business is structured and how it impacts our clients (the businesses we represent). However if we get into the local school paper we need to put a heavy emphasis on the discounts and benefits to students from using our product.
The difficult part for us is when the market is or closed to being balance finding that middle ground of a message. For example in our presskit we had to include a message that did not solely focus on one market but rather sent out a balance message. However, it is food for thought and we are already at the blackboard putting together that goldilocks just right.
Today we will be learning about pitching and public speaking with my friend Mr Todd. (insert excited emojis)
Current Company Goals:
Short Term Goals
- Expand CollegePower Inc. at between 2-5 schools
- Setup a legal agreement with a tech company
- Purchase collegepower.com domain
Mid Range Goals
- Have CollegePower become a small time philanthropist about (3 donations of time or monetary value)
- Setup up legal structures and contracts with strategic partners (Universities we expand to)
- Logos, names and identities for each individual sector of CollegePower Inc.