Dreams of Entrepreneurship: You Must Have a Team to Reach Your Dreams

Dreams of Entrepreneurship: Dream Realized Creating Our Own Future 2011

By: Stephanie L. Jones, Host of Creating Our Own Future Event 2011 Daymond John, Keynote Speaker

Dreams of Entrepreneurship –  You Must have a Team to Reach Your Dreams

I’m a huge fan of the movie “Inception” starring Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio.  The movie is about the power of dreams and the possibilities made available once a person’s mind is infused with a thought or idea.

 Leonardo, aka Cobb, was hired to execute an Inception – to plant a thought in someone’s mind by invading their dreams while they were asleep.  The goal was to get one entrepreneur to change his mind about taking over another entrepreneur’s company. 

Cobb knew that planting the Inception wasn’t going to be easy.  In fact, it was a very complicated operation that required him to first do something that many people fail to do, and that is to put together a team!  Cobb needed a team that could help him carry out his plan.  If the team succeeded, he would gain his freedom back to the United States.  If the team failed, he would be stuck living in a foreign country, not doing what he loved and away from his family.

Can you recognize the similarities between this movie’s storyline and reality?  Failure, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs, could mean being stuck doing jobs they hate and possibly making wages they’re unhappy with; whereas success could lead to freedom and financial empowerment.  There are definitely benefits to seeing our entrepreneurial dreams come true!    

Did Cobb make it back to the United States? {Spoiler Alert} Yes, he did!  He completed his mission.  But once again, he could not have done it without his team.  That’s what I want you to hone in on.  Let it really sink in that Cobb didn’t do it alone.  He had the help of individuals who excelled in everything from architectural design to acting and chemistry, and he needed each one of them in order to make the Inception work.

So, let me ask you, who’s on your team?  Have you sought out mentors to give you business advice?  Have you surrounded yourself with individuals who have strong skill sets in areas that you need assistance in? 

 A major problem with entrepreneurs is that they try to go at it alone.  They don’t seek council or assistance, oftentimes because they’re afraid that someone will steal their ideas, or they’ve had a negative experience working with people in the past.

I was once a chronic ‘go-at-it-alone.’  I had what I considered valid reasons too. There was, “I’m a perfectionist (which I am) and if I do it, then it will be done right.”  I also never wanted to feel like I owed anyone anything.  I didn’t want anyone to ever be able to come back and say, “Stephanie, do you remember when I helped you with your project?” And one excuse that I’m definitely not proud of is that I simply wanted the credit for the things that I worked so hard on.   

With planning the 2011Detroit: Creating Our Own Future seminar one of the first things that took place was the formation of a team.  Yes, initially it was difficult to accept from other people.  But I humbled myself and allowed them to help me, and because of this, the event was extremely successful.  Early on in the planning stage, my husband said to me, “You can’t come up with all the ideas on your own.”  In the past, I sure tried to. 

It’s important that we yield to the gifts in other people.  We are not islands, and we were created and wired to work with people.  As the saying goes, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!”

Stephanie L. Jones

SURVIVOR, SPEAKER, ADVOCATE, AUTHOR

Have you ever been molested? I have. Thank God for healing!

www.StephanieLJones.com

 

View over 300 downloadable photos fromDetroit: Creating Our Own

Future event (with The Shark Daymond John):

www.CreatingOurOwnFuture.com

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Taylor’s Word on Debt

By: Michelle Taylor

First let’s ask the question what is Debt?   According to Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia, a debt is created when a creditor agrees to lend a sum of assets to a debtor. Debt is usually granted with expected repayment; in modern society, and in most cases, this typically means the original sum plus interest.

Simply stated Debt is a No-Win battle.  The more you pay the more you seemingly owe.  To get into debt with no means to repay can lead down a dangerous path of spiritual, moral and ethical turmoil.  Debt carries no joy, peace or freedom.  One of the root causes of Debt is instant gratification, which can create more and more Debt.  Debt can block the future God has for you.

Some staggering debt Statistics:  The 2010U.S.census reports that theU.S.citizens have more than 886 billion in credit card debt, the amount of consumer debt in theU.S.stands at nearly 2.5 trillion as of March 2010.  What’s more frightening, research shows that one out of 100 households in theU.S.will file for bankruptcy.

I amassed amountainofDebttotally close to a Million dollars.  Debt invaded my every waking moment.  I experienced anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, loss of appetite, deep despair not to mention countless phone calls throughout the day and night.  Debt gave me no peace.  My Debt was created from a combination of bad decisions, trusting in man’s system and not God’s and a healthy dose of naivety helped contribute to my financial difficulties.  I exhausted all options and at the end of the day was left with the painful alternative of filing for bankruptcy.  While I remain one of about 1.4 Million Americans who has filed for bankruptcy according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, that distinction doesn’t define me.  It’s made me wiser and more understanding of the affects of making ill-advised financial decisions.  I turned into a student during my experience and absorbed every aspect of financial relevance I could.

One of my favorite quotes: “A life spent making mistakes is not only honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing” George Bernard Shaw.  I realized that we all make mistakes but God can turn our mess into our message in order to help others avoid the pitfalls we encountered with Debt.

Now that we know where we messed up, let’s first forgive ourselves and then ask God to forgive us for allowing our fear and anxiety to cause us to not trust Him to work out our problems.  We must remind ourselves that nothing is too hard for God.  Roman’s 13-8 reads, “Keep out of Debt and owe no man accept to love one another.” Hebrews 13:5 states, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.”  Matthew 6:24 reads, “No man can serve two masters, God and money.”  Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Debt can keep us from fulfilling what God created us to do.  I felt that way.  My attention and focus was placed on my financial situation, leaving little, if any, room for spiritual growth.  Debt is a distraction from our purpose. First step in getting your finances in order:  Start by ordering a copy of your credit report. This request can be made online at www.annualcreditreport.com  You can order one free copy every twelve months or call877-322-8228. Be sure to ask for all three reports, Transunion, Equifax and Experian.  Each credit agency reports differently and it’s best to see the results of all to dispute where needed.  Once you receive your reports look your report over carefully for any inaccuracies.  Errors on your report can be costly when looking to buy a house or car.  If you locate any errors or a creditor showing on your report that you do not recognize, be sure to notify the credit bureau.  This can be done online or by a letter.  The credit bureau must investigate the problem according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  If it’s found that the information is incorrect or cannot be verified, then it will be removed. It will take up to 30 days before any corrections will be made.  If a creditor listed on your report is old, dispute to have old debt removed.

  • Make sure to seek God first by studying His word to receive wisdom. 
  • Keep track of your incoming/outgoing expenses
  • Keep open dialog with your creditors
  • Attend a seminar or workshop about financial literary
  • Talk to or work with a reputable financial advisor
  • Most importantly trust God for He is the creditor of all things.
  • Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to His riches and Glory in Christ Jesus.

Note:  I pray this information was so helpful that you will forward to at least 5 of your friends to plant a seed.

Website: www.taylorsword.com, amazon.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Taylors-Word-LLC/103798066381197Cached

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9 Things to Know when Pitching to a Shark!

By: Eric Hamilton

For the past few months, I have been in the midst of acquiring funding for my technology startup called AdSmoke.  It is a video ad network that allows websites with video to make money by showing commercials.  For AdSmoke, I was able to raise a small amount of money (less than $30,000) from bootstrapping/friends/small investors. I started this company with  friends who were former co-workers at Yahoo!.  I was recently featured in Black Enterprise Magazine for pitching my company to the Shark himself– Daymond John of Fubu and the star of ABC’s reality TV show Shark Tank.

These tips are for doing a 5 minute pitch to an audience of investors (sharks).  I am hopeful that some of my lessons learned will help you in your quest.

(1)    Deck

You will be asked to present your deck.  A deck is simply a PowerPoint presentation with slides.  Have a deck prepared for your pitch.  In your deck you should (a) use large legible fonts (24 pts or higher), (b) images which highlight your points, (c) avoid writing paragraphs, and (d) avoid adding any text that can’t be read from the back of the room.

(2)    Overview

When you start pitching, dedicate about 45-60 seconds to explaining your industry.  You are the expert in your industry, not the venture capitalists.  In my overview, I explain how much advertisers are spending in online advertising vs. television advertising.  I use terms like “TV commercial” instead of “online digital video ad.”

(3)    Pain Point

Talk about what’s wrong with the current system.  How are people currently doing it?  Emphasize the specific pain points that impact your solution.

(4)    Your Solution

What is your solution?  Why is it better?  Briefly highlight your solution and explain why it is better than what is currently available.  Avoid doing a product demo.  Many entrepreneurs feel as if they need to prove that their product works. This is neither the time nor the place to show off all of your product’s bells and whistles.

(5)    The Market

How big is your market currently?  How big will your market be in 4 years?  Be prepared to prove it.  If your market is less than $1 billion then you are probably in the wrong business.

(6)    Business Model

Explain how you will make money or grow membership.  An answer such as “We will go viral like Facebook” is not a good answer.  Understand your acquisition costs (which are the costs to acquire 1 user/customer) and the amount of revenue you will earn from each user/customer.

(7)    Competitors

Who are you competitors?  There is always competition.  An answer such as “We don’t have competitors” is not a good answer.  When the home refrigerator was invented, the inventor could have easily stated “We have no competition.”  Actually that was not true.  People ordered blocks of ice from ice houses which were stored in ice boxes in the home.  Before the invention of the refrigerator, the inventor of the ice house could have stated “We have no competition.”  That was not true.  Before ice houses, ice was cut from Canadian lakes and shipped south via freight train to the U.S. for purchase.  In summary, identify your competition.  A failure to do so will undermine your credibility.

(8)    Team

Highlight each team member and briefly explain why they are important to your business.

(9)    Finances

Talk about how much you have raised and how much you want to acquire. Investors want to know that the entrepreneur is financially invested in the business.

Venture capitalists are looking for high risk, high reward, and fast growth ventures.  It could be that your business is a great traditional business opportunity.  Venture capitalists are not interested in traditional businesses.  You don’t want to explain everything in your 5 minute pitch.  Your pitch should be enough to tease the potential investors into doing a follow up. 

I wish you best of luck swimming with the sharks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Hamilton, CEO AdSmoke

In video advertising & video monetization

330 Madison Ave 6th Floor

New York, NY 10165

Office: 866-295-7820

http://AdSmoke.com







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