Is it Better to Start a Business on Your Own or With a Partner?

Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Person You Want to Start a Business With!

When starting a business by yourself you are going to face some long lonely nights working until 3am. It’s just all you and you have to sacrifice all of your life outside of work on a period of time. The angel investor and co-founder of Frontline Mind (https://www.frontlinemind.com); Mike Weeks recommend you to start a business with a partner, but only if you can find the right person with the right qualities. Here are the top qualities Mr. Weeks are looking for when choosing the right partner to start a business with:

 

1. Same Values 

Choose someone who has the same values as you, for example; “same environmental ethics” or; “everyone that works for us will be payed way more than an average person.” Mr. Weeks explains that if you are not aligned with the same values as your partner, then it will create a lot of problem between you and your partner and your startup would most likely not become successful.

 

2. Different Skill Set Than Yours

Mr. Week’s currently has a business partner that he partnered with because they have different skill set. His partner is a Professor in Neuroscience and Mike has a lot of practical experience, so they make a great team, Mike develop the online site of their company and his partner bring in the academic side. But imagine If Mike would have an extremely good academic and science approach and that is what his business partner is also excellent at, then they would have stepped on each others foot and been wasting their time.

 

3. The “All In” Motivation

Investment is about getting more money back than what you put in at first place. It starts with having a great idea, but as long as you don’t have a great team, and if your partner is not living with high hopes and big targets you are not getting far. The most appealing element when looking for a business partner is according to Mr. Weeks to know that this person is going to be “all in.” That means to be fully committed, and to have a mature and more grounded approach. From his experience he find that people in their 40’s are more motivated than people in their 20’s, because they usually have higher risks at stake, such as responsibilities for their kids. The more responsibilities you have towards others, the less you want to start over with a new business idea and the more you stick to your current idea.

 

4. Image 

Have a look at your potential partner’s Instagram account before you choose your partner. Do you want to have a partner who is drinking on flashy bars surrounded by gorgeous girls and simply showing off? Or would you be more impressed if their pictures are related to what they are working on and that they are going to their gym 6am every day before work? You can tell a lot about people from what they are doing outside of work.

 

 5. Problem-Solving Skills 

Mr Weeks looks for partners that view problem-solving in a very optimistic way. As he expresses; “the problem is not the problem, the problem is the state you approach the problem in.” If you approach problems with a curious problem solving mindset, then your outcome will be more in line of what you are after than if you solve it in a very anxious and stressed way. Now we all have doubts, but if you can get into a clever problem solving state before you approach the problem, then the problem is not a problem, it’s just a challenge that you need to get creative about.

 

Learn more about Mr. Week and his previous investments at Expert Dojo’s podcast called “The Art of Startup War”;

 

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

What is the Best Advice for a Young, First-Time Startup CEO?

 

Top 5 Advices for First-Time Startups!

 

Brian Mac Mahon, founder of Expert Dojo often gets asked; “What is the best advice for a young, first-time startup CEO?” Here’s what’s wonderful about this, for all of you people who are not young first time CEOs, the advice for young CEOs is the same as the advice for older CEOs. As long as it’s your first time, you have to recognize a few points.

1. Surround yourself with the right people

There’s a lot of people in this game who are way smarter than you at getting their objectives done. So surround yourself with friends. Surround yourself with mentors who give you good advice. Search out for people who come recommended elsewhere.

Mr. Mac Mahon normally start on that journey with investors. A lot of people ask for money from investors, but Brian always says;  “if you ask for money, you get advice, but if you ask for advice and say you don’t need any money, than you get great advice and you also get a higher chance of getting everything that you possibly want.”

So get those investors around you and make sure that the investors are actually giving you advice. The ones that give you great advice, have them part of your advisors, have them part of your team. If they’re exceptional people who have exited multiple businesses, and they can help you in your growth, see if those people can actually join you as official advisors in your team.

2. Recognize your weaknesses

Recognize that you will probably not be a great CEO for the entirety of your company. Over 65% of all CEOs will get fired from their own venture-backed business, and that’s not just because the investors are a bunch of jerks that want to fire CEOs, although sometimes that is true. It’s also because the CEO you are today requires a different skill set from the CEO who’s running a medium sized company, and that requires a different skill set from the CEO who’s in a boardroom, running one of the largest companies in the US.

When you recognize that, you can truly grow your company at levels that would not previously have been possible. So recognize your weaknesses, surround yourself by people who supplement those weaknesses with strengths, themselves, and make sure you know at what stage you actually should be moving on and moving aside so other people can actually take the reins to go further.

3. Focus on Revenue Generation

Number three, focus on revenue generation on day one. Brian explains that he doesn’t care if you’re building your product, building your design or building your brand. He doesn’t care if you’re building your team or just trying to build your life. Every single company who is successful is successful because of their users, and they are people who either pay to use their product, or people who love their product. So focus on the user on the first day. How do you get them to your business? How do you get them on your website? How do you then convert them into a paid customer or someone who’s of the most value to whatever your product is?

4. Continue to Grow Outside Your Company

Another advice for early stage CEO’s, is to continue to grow outside your company. We get so insular with the day-to-day things that we need to do, just to survive, especially in the early days, that we forget continual learning. It is really important that you surround yourself with people who are going to help you grow, or you read books, or you go to seminars, or you have a great coach. You have to make sure you’re training for the next level.

It’s the same as a great athlete. If a great athlete has learned how to run in a specific period of time, they don’t continually measure themselves to that period of time. They train so they can go stronger and faster. That’s what you have to do as a CEO. Always look at where you’re going and train yourself to be amazing at that before you get there.

5. Enjoy the Journey

Really, more than anything, enjoy this journey. So many people get so stressed because of the immense pressure that you’re on as an early stage founder, that you just forget the beautiful, incredible, creative new world that you’re putting together. So embrace that every single day. Every morning, when you wake up, say to yourself, “I am doing something that 99% of the people don’t have what it takes to actually step out and be brave enough to do it themselves. You did. Own that, live that, and be proud of what you’ve achieved.

Enjoy the journey is what Brian Mac Mahon from Expert Dojo is encouraging you to do! Visit our website at https://www.expertdojo.com for startup programs or just drop into Santa Monica and say hi.

Expert Dojo is located here:

395 Santa Monica Place
Unit 308 Santa Monica, CA 90401

3 Great Tips for Female Entrepreneurs to Become Successful

 

“If there is a WILL then there is a WAY!”

– Nicole Quinn

 

Photo credit: Lightspeed

Nicole Quinn is an investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners (http://lsvp.com), focused on early stage consumer technology companies, having invested in companies such as Girlboss, Goop, Zola; the largest online wedding registry, Rothy’s; the most comfortable stylish shoes made of plastic recycled bottles and Dote; the virtual mall. She spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley covering the European and US e-commerce, retail and consumer companies. Nicole is passionate about the trends in human behavior, especially consumer technology, and also helping entrepreneurs who have the ability to improve our every day lives. She holds a degree in math and economics from the University of York, England and an MBA from Stanford Business School.

 

In short, Nicole has a lot of expertise in entrepreneurship, and female entrepreneurship in particular. She encourages more females to believe in themselves and never give up their ideas. Here are her top 3 advices on how to become a successful female entrepreneur:

 

  • 1. Never Settle Down – When Nicole meets new entrepreneurs one of the key things she evaluates is their motivation level, she expresses; “they have to believe anything is possible, and having the solutions to make these things done no matter how challenging it is.” She is looking for people who does not take “no” for an answer and who doesn’t settle down. As she explains; “if there is a WILL then there is a WAY!”, so it’s important to be stubborn. These are the type of entrepreneurs that will go far. A good example of this type of persons is one of her biggest role models: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Nicole refers to him as someone who just gets things done, everything he touches turns into gold only because he is trying so hard. If it doesn’t work, he tries again and again and again. Mr Bezos doesn’t stop until he gets it done! Nicole wants more female entrepreneurs to do exactly that, to not give up because they hit the wall. No matter how difficult and challenging it is, you got to go through that wall. You owe it to yourself; to figure out were your idea can take you!

 

  • 2. Diversity When Building Your Team – Men and women working together in a startup has a higher success rate than a group of men starting a business together. Nicole thinks that diversity is the key to success, in the perspective of difference of age, gender, background and religion. It’s important because it gives you different angles on your business idea, from brainstorming to problem solving. So have that in mind when you are building up your team for your startup! 

 

  • 3. Turn off Netflix – Most people who gets home from their daily job eat dinner and then turn on the TV and they watch Netflix through the end of the evening. If you are one of them, then you need to change that behavior. Instead, start going to networking events, read more about your specific industry and learn more about things that will take you further with your entrepreneurship journey. You can’t live like the other 99% of the population, you need to take action to get somewhere. The more you are educated, the more you know and the more you are going to know what step you need to take and in what direction. 

 

To learn more about female entrepreneurship, listen to her discussion with Brian Mac Mahon in the third episode of Expert Dojo’s startup podcast “The Art of Startup War”;

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

 

 

Finding an Investor Should be Like Finding a Partner You Want to Marry

Are you Going to Make a Great Fit with Your Potential Investor?

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Asher Leids is a prominent super angel based in Santa Monica and specialized in early stage startups. Previous to investing individually he practiced venture capital, securities, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. In short he is an expert in what he is doing and knows startup investment inside out.

 

A vital task for entrepreneurs who are in the process of finding an investor is to figure out if you are going to be a good fit for each other. You don’t want to take the money from just anybody, you want to take it from someone who is a great match for you. But how do you know if you are going to be a good fit for each other?

 

Mr. Leids suggest to look at the investor as if it’s someone you want to marry, like choosing a life partner. You don’t want to end up in a nasty divorce. For example, if you go for lunch with you investor and during lunch the investor yells at the waiter or waitress, then you can figure out that this person will act the same way to you at some point. And will you be okay with that?

 

You need to be aware of who you are choosing, but also make an effort yourself. If you are not asking the investor the questions that makes him or her comfortable with the relationship, then it’s not going to lead anywhere. Imagine if you are on a first date and you didn’t ask your date any questions about what they were like, what their habits were or other personal questions, and just asked how much money they were bringing in to the relationship. Then that person will enter the relationship with a very different perspective.

 

Besides showing interest, according to Mr. Leids one of the other main things you need to think about when meeting your potential investor is to show that you are passionate about what you are doing. Tell the investor how strongly you feel for your product or service, don’t start the subject about needing investment.

 

At the end, it’s not only about the expectations that you have from the investor. It’s also about the expectations that the investor has about you what you should want from them. If it’s just the money then you are going to have problem right at the beginning. To learn more about the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors, listen to Asher Leids episode of Expert Dojo’s podcast; “the Art of Startup War” here:

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit: https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

Top 5 Things to Make a Remarkable First Impression!

What does a Potential Investor Consider UNRELATED to Your New Business?

 

Michael Miller’s over 30 years of experience in the trenches of Wall Street law and finance provide him with a unique aerial view of the “do’s” and “don’ts” in start-up land. Mr. Miller’s Expert Dojo’s Podcast last year was voted as 2017’s most favorite. Known as one of LA’s most sought after mentors and advisors, Mr. Miller is generous with his time and advice, always willing to sit with anyone that asks for a 15 minute coffee. He reminds me with a smile, “Advice is really only worth what you pay for it”. Finally fortunate enough to shed the Wall Street uniform of coat and tie, he is focused on the things he loves. Including philanthropy, building Over 21 Capital Partners, which upon completion, will be the largest private fund in America, focused on adult-oriented investments (including cannabis, caffeine and alcohol). The launch of Table 21, the first conflict-free cannabis dining salon bringing together investors, companies, and legal, medical and legislative professionals. To add, he is the Senior Venture Partner for Fusion LA, which mentors and accelerates Israeli startups selected out of the 8200 Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. He is also writing his second book entitled, “Weedonomics: From Criminal to Capitalist Enterprise”.

 

Mr. Miller, I mean Michael, (he firmly noted) that the most important factors are typically the ones that are never discussed, considered or even taught. “If I am going to bet on the horse, I better damn sure love the jockey” is a very powerful message. Even the most “perfect” companies have failed, when those involved forget something so simple. “We are both people.” My mother always told me, “Son you only have one chance to make a first impression. Make sure you wear clean underwear.” How will YOU make your first impression? As Michael expresses: “how can you have the greatest idea, but flame-out tragically?” Here are Michael’s top 5 things to consider to in making a remarkable first impression:

 

  1. Maturity

    Do you have the emotional intelligence to realize that you can’t know everything? Those that do, surround themselves with those SMARTER than they are.

 

  1. Articulation

    Are you clearly, concisely and effective? Do you look someone in the eye? Get to the point!

 

  1. How You Dress

    What is YOUR uniform? What image do you want to project? What take-away do you want to leave with a potential investor? Read more about how to dress for business purposes here;  https://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/dress-impression.htm

 

  1. Confidence

    Are you capable of getting outside your self-created comfort zone? Exude passion. Exude confidence. Or.. go get a 9 to 5.

 

  1. Genuineness

    Humble wins EVERY time.

These are the human skills that are not taught in school or in an MBA program, but that are so essential. These are the things that matter in life that you weren’t taught in school. To learn  more about how to impress your potential investor, listen to the first podcast episode of “The Art of Startup War”, click here: 

 

 

For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

If you would like to have a coffee with Michael, contact him at michael@millerlawla.com