Ten Characteristics of the perfect entrepreneur

We’ve all considered the possibility of taking the plunge and starting out on our own. Not all of us end up taking the leap. Some of us do and get it totally wrong. Some of us just take to it like a duck to water. So what are the characteristics that seem to define a good entrepreneur? You can find 10 characteristics which are important in describing the ideal entrepreneur.

1. Risk Taker –We all know that there is a degree of risk with any new venture as much as you think you can negate it. You just don’t know what is around the corner. As an entrepreneur you need to make decision every day that involve some risk. Which contract to use, who to employ, where to grow? You have to be able to take this in your stride and not be risk averse or it will holt the growth of your business.

2. Communication skills: It does little good to have a strong mission, vision, and goals–and even a solid budget–if the executive cannot easily and effectively convey his ideas to the stakeholders inside and outside of the organization. He must regularly be in touch with key individuals, by email, v-mail, meetings, or other forms of correspondence. Of course, the best way to ensure other people receive and understand the message is with face-to-face interactions. Getting out of the office or touring different sites is an irreplaceable method of building rapport and sending and receiving messages. “Management By Walking Around,” or MBWA, meeting employees at their workstations or conference rooms, or joining them for lunch are just a few of the many effective approaches leaders can use to develop positive contacts with employees.

3. Organizer – Although entrepreneurs can be out there characters, as business people they must well prepared. It is there role to set up the systems and process by which the company should run. This means a great degree of organisation to be able to manage systems, people and priorities to best manage the current and long-term development.

4. Marketing Expert – As a skill set we often think that the ability to understand marketing is perhaps the most useful of all skills to a business startup. As an entrepreneur you must be equipped for understanding and making use of marketing tactics both internet based and offline.

5. “People” Person – An entrepreneur must enjoy people. It is them that carries the brand of the company and to interact with clients, customers and partners. They must have a desire to interact with individuals. Successful entrepreneurs are comfortable relating to other people; they easily create rapport and are at least more extroverted than they are introverted. These factors help leaders seem approachable, likeable, and comfortable in their position. Those qualities contribute to staff wanting to interact with their leader. They also help motivate employees to do a better job. When workers can relate to their boss, they believe that their boss is more concerned about them, with their performance, and with their output. Furthermore, they believe that they can go to their boss with problems they encounter on the job without fearing consequences for not knowing how to resolve issues.

6.Go getter–Entrepreneurs recognize if you want a job done well do it yourself. They are not afraid of hard work and can take on any role that is required. Versatile and hardworking to make sure the organization runs as it should. These are practically never lazy and are very easily inspired.

7. Knowledgeable –Entrepreneurs view the services and products they offer as well as have not an issue conveying each and every area of their business to interested customers or affiliates.They are not afraid to know their own limitations and to hire when they know they lack the required skill.

8. Inspiration: Quite often, employees need someone to look up to for direction, guidance, and motivation. The entrepreneur needs to be that person. Hopefully, Human Resources has hired self-motivated individuals. Nevertheless, there are times, when many employees need the boss to inspire them by word or action. Employees need someone to look up to, admire, and follow. Even when the production or delivery of services looks like “it is all going well,” the leader may at times need to step in personally to offer a suggestion or encouragement to ensure that employees perform their jobs in an optimal manner.

9. Vision: Where do you want your organization to go? A vision needs to be abstract enough to encourage people to imagine it but concrete enough for followers to see it, understand it and be willing to climb onboard to fulfill it.

10. A strong team: Realistically, few executives possess all of the skills and abilities necessary to demonstrate total mastery of every requisite area within the organization. To complement the areas of weakness, a wise leader assembles effective teams of experienced, credentialed, and capable individuals who can supplement any voids in the leader’s skill set. This ability is what sets leaders apart from others. However, the leader needs to be willing to admit he lacks certain abilities and go about finding trusted colleagues to complement those deficiencies. After building the team, the entrepreneur needs to trust that team to understand issues, create solutions, and to act on them.

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Twitter Roundup

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The Perfect Investor Pitch, Part 2

Following on from Part 1 last week of the The Perfect Investor Pitch, here are some tips about what to include in your elevator pitch.  We’ve broken it down into 8 slides we’d recommend using in your PowerPoint presentation:

Slide 1 – The Introduction 

This should be eye catching yet simple. You need to include these points:

  • Your Company Name
  • Your Logo
  • Your “Tagline”
  • Who you are and your role in the company / job title

Slide 2 – What is the Pain or Problem?

  • What does your business do or what service does it provide?

This is integral to securing interest, as it is your ‘hook’ to the investor. If your service or product is particularly technical it is worth setting the scene with a real life example. i.e. The entrepreneur has a product  which is a Resource Management Software. You then tell the Investors. Imagine you work in an advertising agency and you are the production manager. You need to allocate work efficiently, on time and within budget etc

Slide 3  – Premise, what is your Unique solution?

  • How does your product or service solve the problem?
  • Having identified the problem it is essential to give a clear, and concise solution

Don’t be overly technical, as impressive as it may sound it could lose Investors interest.

Slide 4 – People

  • Who is in the management team?
  • Position in the company?
  • What’s their relevant experience?
  • Previous Positions held
  • Industry Experience
  • What do they bring to the team?

Don’t labour over this too long this is just to reassurance the investors and  give them confidence in your ability to make this happen and deliver the results being promised.      Don’t live in the past. Going over company history and the backgrounds of the founders takes a long time and only adds to the pitch if it’s something really distinctive.

Slide 5 – Proof

  • What evidence is there to show that your company makes money?
  • Are you making sales?
  • Have other people invested / have you received grants? How much have you invested?
  • What patents have been granted or are pending? Have you been officially approved or certified?

Slide 6 – The Market

  • Size
  • Segmentation
  • Growth
  • Market Share

It is very important you show investors you have taken the time to think this through. Intimate knowledge of a company’s prospective market helps to clearly define strategic aims. Investors will therefore look at it as a strategic investment.

Slide 7 – The Competition

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What makes your product or service better?

They don’t necessarily like to hear that you “don’t have” any competition, because you do, and you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t know who it is and why customers will choose you instead.

Slide 8 – Purpose, the Financials

The two key things the Investors want to know are how much money are you going to make and what are you offering investors for their money (ROI / Equity).

  • Previous turnover & profit
  • Projected turnover & profit
  • What are you offering the investor?
  • What is your exit strategy?
  • What return do you expect the investor to make?

Be conservative with your financials Investors are very weary of over inflated projections.

Let us know if you’re looking for funding, as we may be able to help put you in touch with some investors.

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Twitter Roundup

Angel Investment News 

  • Angels spread their love more widely: http://bit.ly/kYdOZo
  • Annual report on the business angel market in the UK (with contribution from our very own Angel Investment Network):http://bit.ly/kFBekS
  • New angel investing networks spread wings across India: http://bit.ly/jedxOp
  • You call this a tech bubble? Silicon Valley insiders dismiss bubble talk, and they’re right (for now): http://bit.ly/lCGaHy

Business Plans & Pitching

Fund Raising

Marketing & Social Media

Start-Up & Entrepreneurship

To stay updated, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network.

Read anything interesting? Feel free to add links to any articles or resources you’d like to share with the angel community.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Current State Of Venture Capital Funding And Startups

According to an infographic created by Column Five, venture capital interest in startups has greatly increased since the dip in 2008 and 2009. Though it’s still lower than pre-collapse numbers, the infographic shows that now might be a good time for many startups to find funding. The overall amount of funding has increased from $7.1 billion in the first quarter of 2008 to $7.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

The infographic examines the growth and location of venture capital funding over the last year. In the first quarter of 2010 there was $1.27 billion given out in funding across 221 deals. In the first quarter of 2011 that number greatly increased. There was $2.32 billion in funding given out across 289 deals. California is by far the leading providers of investments accounting for 52 percent of funding in the U.S. while New York only accounts for 6 percent.



Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Funding Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the recent seed-stage and angel deals from around the world: 

  • Altly, the startup headed by Dmitry Shapiro which is developing an alternative to Facebook, has raised $1 million in seed funding
  • US-based web site analytics specialist Mixpanel has raised $1.25m from new investors, and plans to use the money to hire more engineers
  • OpenChime, a startup that allows users to get online quotes & information from a number of services, lands $700K seed funding from Lightbank
  • PunchTab, developer of a service that helps businesses and website owners create loyalty programs, has raised $850,000 seed funding
  • Activation Media, developer of an interactive entertainment platform, has landed seed funding from a group of private investors
  • Software development Ajatix, a software development company, raises USD 30,000 seed round funding provided by Microsoft
  • CodeGuard Inc. nabbed angel funding from Imlay Investments for Website protection
  • Social media monitoring firm ThoughtBuzz has raised SGD500K in funds under the Technology Incubation Scheme from Plug and Play Singapore
  • Eventovate, an Irish start-up company which provides software for the hotel sector, has raised €700,000 for its expansion plans
  • CoverHound, a new car insurance shopping service, has raised $750,000 in seed funding from Blumberg Capital
  • Ecoroof startup Columbia Green Technologies Inc. lands $500,000 angel investment that will allow them to staff up to keep up with demand
  • Product-focused social media application development company Adepto Solutions lands $300,000 funding from Blume Ventures & angel investors
  • A group of investors that includes Google chairman Eric Schmidt has invested near to $1 million (estimated) in rich media ad firm Spongecell
  • Hyper Wear, who create innovative products for sports performance training, fitness, physical education & health, has received angel funding

To get regular updates, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network.

Have you managed to raise capital for your company?  We always love to hear from entrepreneurs who manage to get funded.