Kickstarter

The book Crowd Start explained crowd funding perfectly.  There description took me back to when I was a kid and we would watch the crime stoppers telethon.  Locals would create video’s that were shown throughout the weekend and people would call in to donate money and challenge certain groups or people to donate.  Just like the book stated, at the last minute, they would show how much money was raised and everyone would celebrate.  Kickstarter began in 2009.  The idea is to have a platform for an entrepreneur to raise money to back their future or current endeavor.   My discussion on Kickstarter will show how one can raise funds for their future endeavors.

Fees to for Kickstarter

Kickstarter will get a flat 5% of the total money raised through the campaign.  Processing fees on average of 3% and .20 cents for each transaction will go to whomever is processing the payments.   The fees paid to Kickstarter will not be paid until the campaign has reached its goal.  What happens if your campaign does not reach its goal.  This is where Kickstarter gets you in my opinion.  You lose out! Everyone’s money is returned and you have no more than what you started with. 

Processing time of receiving your funds    

It takes 14 days after your campaign is over for your money to be transferred to your account.  You will receive your funds in one transaction.  Of course, your fees will already be deducted, so that is not something you will have to figure out later.

Restrictions

            You are not allowed to give to your own campaign. One aspect of Kickstarter I do not like is that you do not get the funds if you do not reach your goal. I mentioned this earlier and this can do one of a few things.  It can push you to work hard and really promote your idea, you can sit back and wait for people to catch on to your idea, or you may realize that even with hard work, this may not be something you need to pursue.   One can not raise money for charity to donate.  A nonprofit can launch a project, but the funds have to be used towards facilitating the project.   Investments are also not allowed on Kickstarter.  Below is a list of things not allowed on Kickstarter pulled directly from the Kickstarter website.

  1. Any item claiming to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition (whether via a device, app, book, nutritional supplement, or other means).
  2. Contests, coupons, gambling, and raffles.
  3. Energy food and drinks.
  4. Offensive material (e.g., hate speech, encouraging violence against others, etc).
  5. Offering a genetically modified organism as a reward.
  6. Live animals. Projects cannot include live animals as a reward.
  7. Offering alcohol as a reward.
  8. Offering financial, money-processing, or credit services; financial intermediaries or cash-equivalent instruments; travel services (e.g., vacation packages); phone services (e.g., prepaid phone services, 900 numbers); and business marketing services.
  9. Political fundraising.
  10. Pornographic material.
  11. Projects that promote discrimination, bigotry, or intolerance towards marginalized groups
  12. Projects that share things that already exist, or repackage a previously-created product, without adding anything new or aiming to iterate on the idea in any way.
  13. Resale. All rewards must have been produced or designed by the project or one of its creators — no reselling things from elsewhere.
  14. Drugs, nicotine, tobacco, vaporizers and related paraphernalia.
  15. Weapons, replicas of weapons, and weapon accessories.

Reporting requirement

            Everyone needs to research their own territory to determine what the IRS requires you to report.  This is where it is important to have a good CPA, and do your research before you launch your campaign.  Money received from Kickstarter is considered income, so you will have to report the money.  You are also able to “offset” income with expenses and again, this is where a good CPA and Financial Advisor is beneficial.

Resources

Crowd Start, The Ultimate Guide To a Powerful & profitable Crowdfunding Campaign. Ariel Hyatt.

Kickstarter website; www.kickstarter.com

Making time

With so much going on in the world today with COVID, work, trying to give kids some normalcy, and just making it day to day, are you making and taking time for yourself. As I am writing this, my answer is no. I don’t even have kids (well except 4-legged), and yet I struggle daily to find the time to just take in what is given to me. Working a full time, demanding job, going to school, taking care of older parents, and my sister who had a stroke a little over a year ago and her two children who live with me, takes a lot of time. I would not have it any other way, but in the same breath, I need to take time. Entrepreneurs can easily get lost in their work. If they are not working, building, and planning the next step, who is? In my current class, I have been working on papers and financial spreadsheets all weekend. Finally last night, I stopped took time for me and went to a local minor league baseball game with a friend. It was needed and refreshing. Whether you are a student working endlessly to get that degree, a full time employee working hard to meet those deadlines, and or a parent shuffling kids from one place to another, take the time out for you, regroup, drink a glass of wine, pickup a book, and just sit outside and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. We all need to fill up or cup before we are forced too. Enjoy your week, and make time for you.

Harvesting

In the final chapters of the book, we talk about harvesting. After readying the chapter, it is basically the exit plan.  There are five positive methods and two negative methods.  Andrew Blair states, “The exit has to be engineered as carefully as the deal itself” (pg. 289).

Walking Harvest is where the company distributes case directly to the investors regularly and could take time for that to happen.  Once it does, it is normally a steady stream of income.

Partial sale takes place when the investor is ready to exit the deal.  Here the investor will either sale the shares to management with cash or a buy-out-agreement or sell to another investment company that specializes in buying minority positions in small and medium sized companies.

Initial public offering is investors who aren’t waiting for the public offering, you are waiting for the point at which the company has created the most value (Daryl Wash pg. 294).  Here the company sells a percentage of their shares and makes it easier for the company to raise capital, basically getting the business to where it has the most value.

Financial Sale is purchasing the company based on its current and expected cash flow. If you have cash flow, this is a great deal. 

Strategic sale, Bert Twaalfhoven say that the best returns come from strategic sales (pg. 297).  They are usually looking for value beyond the cash flow.  The return for the investor could range from 10x to 40x.

Chapter 11 would not be a good way to exit, bankruptcy.  This is an option where you can reorganize, but most if not all of your equity holders are gone or have reduced their shares considerably.  This option will save you from filing chapter 7 and give you another chance.

Chapter 7 is total annihilation, you have lost everything.  Not the way to exit

I said it earlier in a discussion that there is so much that goes into investing.  After reading this book, it was clear how much I do not know.  I think it is so important to understand and or surround yourself with those that do understand investing.  I still feel that in the end, it is the relationships that matter the most.  They are the ones that are going to be honest with you and have your best interest at heart.  Network, have a good lawyer, financial advisor, and friends that will look out for you.

Reference

Winning Angels: the Seven Fundamentals of Early-Stage Investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001.

Supporting

In the first paragraph they talk about how the angel investor has may have a combination of roles.  The role taken on depends on what the need is at the time. The entrepreneur may need the business to take off ASAP or it could be months down the road.  This will determine what type of support the investor will and needs to give. I am going to discuss five fundamental roles in supporting investors. 

First we have silent investors.  These investors do exactly what the title says.  They sit there and do nothing except sign some documents when needed and hope for a return on what they have invested. If the investor has time to jump in and help with possible coaching, they will.

Reserve force investors are ready willing, and capable to help the entrepreneur (Amis & Stevenson, 2001).  They also are able to help with training on raising capital and give strategic advice.  This sounds like someone you would want in your back pocket, having someone that can come through with information you are unable to get yourself. 

Team member role can be a sticky one.  Having an investor become a team member could be tough for the entrepreneur if the investor becomes a micromanager. Having the investor become a team member could also be a very good opportunity for the entrepreneur since they will bring skills to the company that will help the company.  The investor wants the best so they have a good return.  This is where making sure you choose someone you can work with before you go into business together is important.  Everyone needs to be on the same page so everyone succeeds.  This relationship could be good or it could be bad, work together for the best of everyone.

When the investor become the coach, they become very involved.  Do not get this confused with a controlling investor.  The coach is meant to do just that, help the entrepreneur through the process and teach what you know. They provide support, advice, and any assistance needed during this venture.

Finally we have the controlling investor.  They do just what their name says, they come in and take over the company.  Obviously this will cause issues with the investor and entrepreneur.  You have someone who has come up with this business and worked hard only to have an investor come in with enough capital to take it over.

These different roles are a lot to thing about with looking into what type of investor you would want to be.  I can say I would never be able to take over someone’s business like a controlling investor.  I see myself more as a coach as I am one to reach out to people and help in any way I can.  I am also not someone who can sit back silently if I feel something is going the opposite way it should.  I would also hope as an entrepreneur I would be able to make the right decision on who I wanted investing in my company.   

Reference

Winning Angels: the Seven Fundamentals of Early-Stage Investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001.

Negotiating

The question is, do you negotiate or not?  While reading this chapter it reminded me of something I wrote in the first blog of this book, the show Shark Tank.  That is what the show is about.  Entrepreneurs coming to the table to negotiate the best deal with these investors.  They can take it or they can leave it.  You have both sides protecting themselves while trying to get the best deal.  These investors have a lot to bring to the table, and they know they are worth what they are counter offering to the entrepreneurs. 

            Every deal is different, and some angel investors may decide to not negotiate. Like I mentioned above, they know what they are bringing to the table and what it and they are worth.  Another aspect of negotiating is personalities.  I feel like a keep repeating this in every discussion, but the relationship you have between angel investor and entrepreneur will go a long way.  I do not want to negotiable with someone I feel is not is not quite up to par.  I have learned as I have gotten older and meet more people, there are many snakes in the grass. This is where having people in your corner, lawyer, financial advisor, and other people who are smarter than you to discuss deals with.  Make sure you are negotiating fair. Weed out the deals that not good or you do not feel comfortable with and work with the ones that are good.

            This book once again is showing me how much I do not know about investing. I still feel this route is not for me, but, I will research it more and take my own advice and talk with people who deal with these sorts of interactions and learn from them.  Listen to what they have to say and take it all in for consideration. In order to grow, I know I have to step out of my comfort zone and talking with angels would definitely be out of my comfort zone.  It could be the biggest blessing in disguise.

Structuring

Structuring is the topic this week in Winning Angels.  Personally, I need structure, but would this be a complete deal breaker for me if it isn’t exactly laid out, no?  Will an angel investor go into a deal that seems to be lacking in structure?  Maybe, maybe not. I feel like this is where the relationship and belief in one another comes into play. Amis and Stephenson state that “the what and who of your investment are far more important than the terms.”  I will say that Carl Guerreri and other angles stated that they like to build reporting into the deal, and I agree with this.  Not only are they able to see what is taking place, but also keeps the entrepreneur accountable. I think that at some point, the investor and the entrepreneur can come together and make a plan allowing structure throughout the project. I personally work better with structure and timelines, so maybe that is why I like this idea. 

We have also seen over and over in this book, they state keep it simple. Lucius Cary, an angel investor, states in Winning Angels, that “it should be possible to get the entire agreement on one page”. George Kline, also an angel investor agrees and says, “I prefer a simple structure”.  This will be best not only for when the startup occurs, but over the future of the investment. As I have stated in another review of this book, there is so much more that goes into angel investing and just investing than I ever realized. 

Winning Angels: the Seven Fundamentals of Early-Stage Investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001.

Valuing

I never knew so much went into investing.  Yes, I know each side does their research, interviews the business owner, and brings money and knowledge to the table, but when you think about it, some have millions on the line.  So of course everything needs to be addressed.  Valuation is about placing a price on a stake in a company, based on future, potential capital return. (Amis & Stevenson, 2001) 

            One method discussed and most traditional angel investors invest at valuations of between $2m-$5m with $2.5m being the sweet spot.  They also discuss that if they ask for less than $2m, they are unsophisticated or lacking in significant progress and if they ask for more than $5m, they either have dollar signs in their eyes or are quite advanced and really ready for venture capital and not an angel investor.  It is really interesting to read these different assessments or opinions on these methods.    

            I feel that before we can seek out an angel investor, we need to have or business plan done and solid to show what we have to offer.  An investor of course is going to their own research, but have the valuation ready for them, research the investors yourself first and don’t waste their and your time if you know it will not be a right fit. 

            As the business owner, we feel our business has so much value.   Part of the process that needs to be understood is not every investor will feel this way and that is okay.  Our job is to show every investor the value and show they do not want to miss out on this journey.   

Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamentals of Early-Stage Investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001.

Evaluating

This section is about evaluating the potential deal between investor and entrepreneur. Like Winning Angels highlights, an investor has to be confident in the entrepreneurs they are going into business with.    The people include, not only the entrepreneur, but also the team members, other investors, advisors and stakeholders.  Also they mention “when assessing an entrepreneur, there are three “base” to cover: their goals, their knowledge, and their capabilities.” Assessing is important.  What are these investors getting into, is it worth the risk, how is their character, are they honest? So not only is the investor looking at the business plan, but they are looking at you as a person. 

            Another aspect that is important is timing. When is the right time for this venture, do we have customers ready for this product or service now, what is the competition and how well are they doing it.  It isn’t always about being first, but it needs to be done right and right time.  Whole there are some investors out there that want to only work with first movers as they say in the book, many others are more concerned with and focus on quality business models and teams. This is the type investor I would want for my business, someone that sees the long term goals and knows that the team is important. 

            Another discussion point was on page 120-122, what do investors do and what do winners do?  Love this section. I want to focus on the winners portions.  Reading through it, it is all about the plan of your business, your team, exit plan, and working with other investors.  This to me is what I would look for in an investor.  Someone who is not only interested in the business, but what makes the business happen (team), and the future even as far as exit plan. 

            So much to learn about investing and what goes into it.  Not only as an entrepreneur are you looking for the right investor, but the investors are also looking for the right investment.  As it said in the sourcing portion of the book, the partnership has to make since on both sides. Everyone has something to bring to the table, it is just about finding the right table for both sides.

Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamentals of Early-Stage Investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001.

Sourcing

            When I started doing research on Angel Investing before my book arrived, my first thought was, “is this like Shark Tank?”  While reading these chapters, I am reminded of how important it is to network.  Even in the learning community for this course, you never know who you are going to meet that can completely change your life and the life of your business.  I am also reminded of the book we read in an earlier class, It’s a Jungle in there, where he partnered with the build a bear to make the dinosaurs.  This helped both businesses. 

Networking as said above is important.  These potential angel investors have more than just money, they have resources, a network, and experience to bring to the table.  As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to give up some of your company for this opportunity.  As stated in the book, you need to know what you are willing to give up and what kind of deal you want to make.  It can be a hard decision giving up part of your business, but you have to look at the big picture.  Where will this deal take you and what will you gain?  You need to think outside the box and be innovative. 

            Doing your research on investors is important as well.  The partnership needs to make since for both parties. This opportunity is to take some of the pressure off of your shoulders, not make it worse.  In order for everyone to be successful, this partnership needs to be strong.  Of course there will be disagreements and stress throughout, but looking at the big picture, knowing that you need this angel investor to succeed, this relationship will hopefully be strong so everyone succeeds. 

            In closing, after this first reading, we see that networking, building relationships and investing is important. If you want to grow your business, but do not have the means to do so, this is the way to go.  I look forward to reading more about angel investing and discussing this with you all.

Reference:

Amis, D., & Stevenson, H. H. (2001). Winning angels: the seven fundamentals of early-stage investing. Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Outdoor Billboard Ads

This billboard uses humor to promote their nose trimmers.  They used actual power lines as nose hairs.  In the comments, people loved this billboard even wanting to go see it themselves.  They also suggested you could use this for your ear hairs as well.  This billboard is in Indonesia.

Product: Nose Hair Trimmers, Panasonic

Title: Nose Hair Trimmers

Link: https://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/11/27/clever-nose-hair-trimmer-ads/


Date: November 2009

Company: Saatchi & Saatchi

Objective: To show their nose trimmers and its safety cutting system.

Target Market: Anyone with long nose hairs, mostly men

Action: To get customers to get their product          

Value Proposition: Men to keep their nose hairs short and not flying in the wind.

This is probably the neatest billboard I have seen.  McDonald’s took 3 weeks to grow this billboard.  They wanted their customers to see the freshness and watch the 16 different types of lettuce they use for salads grow.

Product: Salads

Title: Fresh Salads

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u57WJzrqzqc, here you can watch a time lapse of the billboard coming to life


Date: December 2008

Company: McDonald’s, Leo Burnett

Objective: This ad reinforces the idea of “freshness” precisely by letting viewers in on a genuine growth process.

Target Market: Anyone who eats salads

Action: They want customers to go to McDonald’s and eat their salads.

Value Proposition: Customers that eat their salads will have the freshest lettuce

These billboards are in Chicago and followed the lettuce billboard.  I think McDonald’s has done a great job.  This egg hatches every day. The egg stays hatched from 6am until 10:30 am.

Product: Eggs/ breakfast at McDonald’s

Title: Giant Egg

Link: https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/mcdonalds-giant-egg


Date: July, 2008

Company: McDonald’s, Leo Burnett

Objective: To keep the audience engaged after the lettuce billboard.  Inform people of their fresh eggs, breakfast and time they serve breakfast.

Target Market: Everyone who eats breakfast

Action: They want people to come in and get their breakfast.

Value Proposition: People will see the hatched egg and they will know they are serving breakfast and go eat with McDonald’s.

Where users expect another flat board, provide a 3D experience that leaves them wondering what the brand is all about. Edina Realty hit a home run on this billboard to catch the eye of people going by it.

Product: Realty Group, Edina Realty

Title: Realty Boxes

Link: https://mnfx.com/stories/out-of-home/edina-realty-billboard


Date: 2020

Company: MNFX

Objective: To catch the eye of people and remember them when they are in the market for a house and or to sell their house.  This also shows they have helped thousands every year and want to help you as well.

Target Market: Potential home sellers and buyers

Action: For people needed to buy and or sell a home to contact them.

Value Proposition: To get your house sold and to purchase one as soon as possible

What a powerful billboard.  This is in London and is an interactive billboard.  As people look at her, her face heals

Product: Domestic Violence awareness

Title: Look at me

Link: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-trp-001&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=trp&p=look+at+me+billboard&type=Y149_F163_202167_081020#id=1&vid=5e92eb1d42adab355bf8af5883307f49&action=click  Great video on making it and talking about the billboard.  Also shows the face change.


Date: March 2015

Company: WCRS for Woman’s Aid

Objective: To bring awareness to domestic abuse

Target Market: Everyone

Action: They want everyone to open their eyes and look at people.  Be vigilant and do not turn an eye when you think something is off.

Value Proposition: If we all stand up, we can get people out of situations they feel stuck in and even save lives.