The Only Reason To Start A Business

Hustle Branding- Kind Snacks

The life of an entrepreneur is extremely challenging. You sacrifice time with your friends & your family, you are on call 24 hours a day and the risk is extremely high. You put all your time, money and effort, all your blood sweat and tears… for what?

A few weeks ago, I did an article in Forbes with David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott called The Journey To Selling A Billion KIND Bars 

The article is about Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Founder of Kind Snacks who has written an incredible book called Do The Kind Thing,  which every aspiring entrepreneur should read. Not because it is one of the most incredible entrepreneurial stories you will ever come across (which it is), but to understand the power of starting a business with a purpose.

The biggest mistake people make in my opinion is trying to start a business for the sole purpose of making money. Money is not a purpose and starting a business without a higher purpose can lead you down a very dark path. Many people (myself included) have made this tragic mistake.

In order to make it all worthwhile there is one ingredient you need that will carry you over valleys and allow you to face the daily challenges with a never give up and never give in mentality.

I encourage you to read Daniel’s book, Do The Kind Thing and find the ingredient you need to start your business and make it last.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!



8 Traits Of The Incredible Team Behind Shark Tank’s Daymond John

Hustle Branding- Daymond John

I was with Daymond a few weeks ago to prepare for a webinar he was doing on the subject of entrepreneurship. The webinar went extremely well as about 900 companies were represented on the webinar and questions were flying in on the bottom of the computer screen in his office.

One of the questions was about what he felt the reason why he is still so on top of his game despite the fact that he no longer necessarily needs to worry so much about money as he did in the past when he was building FUBU.

Without hesitation Daymond mentioned that he gives the credit to having an incredible team surrounded by people that are better than him.

What Makes A Great Leader

As I have said in the past, the jack of all trades.. is a jackass. The greatest leaders find people who are better than them in their particular skill set. Henry Ford was one of the greatest examples that true leaders are defined by how well they can put a team together. He was frequently questioned about his lack of ‘overall knowledge.’

Ford put that to bed when he answered one day by saying (and I am paraphrasing), “why would I waste my time learning a little bit about everything when I can push a button in my office and provide any of you the exact answer you need?’ Henry Ford showed that the greatest leaders show the benefits of  what is called, specialized knowledge.

Being I am with Daymond’s team on a frequent basis and attend his weekly team meetings I have to say I know his team extremely well and Daymond, like Ford, has created an exceptional team of specialized knowledge. That is what makes Daymond a great leader.

A Peak Inside Daymond’s Team

When I look around the room there are a lot of people who were there from the very first days of FUBU. Anyone who has been there from the beginning who has earned his trust Daymond has gone out of his way to find a position for. To be clear, if there is no position, there is nothing he can do, however when I say he tries extremely hard, I mean it. Like I said, he only works with people he trusts.

There are also plenty of people who are not from his original days. They are very impressive and as you can probably guess, very loyal and trustworthy.

Here are some of the qualities I have observed in the team meetings that makes Daymond’s team work so well:

1) Family

Daymond’s team is a family in every sense of the word. Every person truly is acting to better the team. They are not trying to grandstand nor are they trying to put others down, something that I have seemed to witness more times than I care to count in my years in the business world.

2) Accountability

Every department is completely responsible for their agenda. There is no crossover.

3) Open To Suggestion

Despite the fact that each department is completely responsible for its agenda, once the department member gives his or her update, the room is open for any feedback, comments or suggestions.

What’s so powerful is that each department is not only open to suggestion but actually eager for feedback as there are no egos in the room. Let me repeat and create a whole separate line for this and make it bold…

 There are no egos in the room.

4) Masterminds

Once you take away any possibility of ego conflict, amazing things happen. Every week, there seems to always be a comment or suggestion that someone makes from another department that ends up creating an even greater solution.

Since Daymond’s favorite book is Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich, I will use the principle   of mastermind groups. When two or more people come together to discuss something, a third ‘consciousness’ is created which makes the idea even better.

It is also important to note that quite often, a department may tend to get lost in the trees, and masterminds and teams create a very useful outside perspective that a person may not see because well, like I said they get stuck in the trees and need someone to give them an objective view of the forest. Companies who get stuck in the trees often bring in outside consultants, or external agencies.

If you would like to learn more about this, click here.

5) The Power Of Deadlines

Reports are turned in the end of every month. I think this is extremely important as I have found if you don’t have a deadline or write down your progress… you will not make progress.

6) Listening

When everyone goes around the room and Daymond is at the meeting… he listens. He does not interrupt, and does not let any ego get in the way. He will only comment if he feels he can add value. As I have mentioned before, I believe listening is Daymond’s greatest skill and he uses it to great advantage over the other Sharks on Shark Tank.

For more on the power of listening, click here

7)  Correspondence is excellent

The team circulates information to the rest of the company extremely well, not only from the end of the month reports but on a daily basis. Correspondence and clarity are essential to business.

8)  There is no micro-managing

This I believe is the most important… . If you don’t do your job then you become a pain in Daymond’s behind. This has not happened much as Daymond is very clear about how he hates micromanaging as he simply does not have the time… nor do his division heads… nor does anyone.

I’m sure there are many things I have missed but these 8 points are the most important characteristics that come to my head when I think of Daymond’s team.

Please add to the discussion and let me know what you think are the greatest attributes of a team.

Have a great day!


What Aspiring Startups And Music Artists Share In Common


It continues to amaze me that most people feel comfortable in moving in the same current as others. There seems to be a relief in knowing that others are doing the same things. Maybe it’s a mentality of ‘we will all fail or succeed together’ that makes us think in that way.

In business that way of thinking can get you killed – if you are an entrepreneur.

I like to compare the similarities of contrasting business segments. Usually I do so in hopes of finding a similar thread of consistency that propels both segments into success.

Recently, I was thinking how much of a journey to success is similar between aspiring startups and music artists. Both industries seem to operate in a parallel universe where the people with the money are all challenged with investing, or may be even gambling today for a significant return in the future.

Investor vs. Record Label

In most industries there is a person or company that funds the ideas. Record labels fund artists and venture capitalists and investors fund entrepreneurs. Both have limited resources on what they can invest their money in –  which puts extreme pressure on entrepreneurs to develop cool, innovative and useful products and services that deliver significant value to a market segment.

Ideas are cheap, but having a plan, vision and a purpose become prerequisites of those that get funded vs. those who do not. The music artist and the startup have a common responsibility and reality – complete and full differentiation among its competitors. The ‘reality’ part of the equation seems to often elude both, whether it be the music artist or entrepreneur. Many aspiring music artists look in the mirror & tend to give themselves more credit than they deserve, and entrepreneurs fall in that same trap. The judge and jury is the customer and their voice can be heard loud and clear – they either support you with a purchase or they don’t. That’s ultimate metric!

{MJ wrote an article about this here}

To a certain degree, entrepreneurs have a double-sided sword they have to walk; an idea that’s far reaching and maybe too risky versus an idea that’s not innovative enough that gets lost, never to be seen. The closer the entrepreneur and investor are in understanding the realities – the better fit and probably the better outcome will be realized.

 Startups and Music Artists

Initially, the most important thing to know is the approach you will have entering a marketplace and what you want your audience to take away from you.  Kanye West positioned himself as a talented renegade type of artist while Taylor Swift has positioned her self as ‘wholesome’ and ‘Americana.’ Think of it as understanding your brand purpose and building a personality around it. Aspiring startups have the same challenge as music artists – building authenticity and value while increasing their ability to engage with their audience in a unique way.

Though it may be a lot to think about, it’s easier to get that sorted early in your brand development process than to have your target market ‘guessing’ who you are and what you have to offer.

As a music artist has to continually refine their lyrics and several other aspects to their end product, startups are no different. Peter Thiel (PayPal Founder) once said in a video, “ Starting a business is about iteration not laborious research” … he later said, “The latter is cocky and inflexible.”

Translation? Build something, put it out there, and tweak it and repeat until you have a product that is relevant and considerably differentiated from its competitors.

 The Few That Fall Between The Cracks

The very reason you love a particular music artist is the same for brands you love. Great brands don’t always have the coolest products, just like your favorite singer may not have the best voice from a technical standpoint. No matter the physical assets, the brand must communicate certain qualities that embrace the values of their marketplace. It is all about learning how to create a brand personality.

The best explanation of how to create a brand personality is from a video I watched a few years back;

 “ Build up a picture of the kind of brand you think you are. As the brand is learning what it is, It’s also learning what it is not.”

With many startups and music artists, creating a brand personality is often overlooked and usually ignored all together. As  products becoming more blurred, with regard to differentiation, there has to be value established outside of the product or service.

To learn more about this, I suggest watching a short video module I created entitled, 3 Components To designing A Brand Identity.

 The Take-Away

As we can see, startups and music artists have very similar challenges in breaking through and becoming successful. Though a valuable and innovative product or service is the price of entry in building a successful startup, I encourage you to build a soul at the core of your business that reflects the ideals and aspirations of your audience.

Stay Hungry & Hustle Hard!


6 Compelling Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Start In Garages


Steve-in-the-GarageSteve Jobs started his company from a family garage in California. Jeff Bezos from Amazon did the same thing in Washington. So did Larry page from Google. As did the founders of Mattel toys, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Dell Computer. Not a bad roster, huh?

There’s a brilliance in what garages have to offer. Recently, I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, David and Goliath that talks about how people use disadvantages and turn them into strengths. It is also interesting to note that it works the other way around as many people use their strengths to expose potential weakness. It is a fascinating book.

In this post, I want to look at a number of examples of how we can find hidden assets and extract great strength from something as seemingly blah as a family garage.

Here are 6 reasons to make sure you don’t overlook the value of your family garage and to show the hidden assets within this seemingly impractical workspace:

1) No overhead

When you start a business, the last thing you want to do is spend any money that you do not have. That being said, while entrepreneurs are making and mixing, revising and improving their product, service and/or idea, they do so without increasing their bills… or their parents. Your welcome mom.

2) Need a place to be crazy and do what you want

The greatest companies have started with the craziest ideas. The founder of the Post-it note actually started with the idea of trying to create something that would stick to anything. His complete failure at that led to the greatest success of post-its.

In my first business,  I had a friend who didn’t know what to do with excess fabric left over from his factory that was cluttering his garage. It wasn’t enough to make a garment but before he went to throw it out he had the crazy idea of trying to make headbands and wristbands out of the waste… and made millions. Crazy like a fox.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

3) Need a place to work late night or early morning

I have found that creative people work very strange hours. For instance, in fashion, the designers always work at night for some reason. Entrepreneurs work even crazier hours as the demands upon us far outweighs our allocated time (supply). What we often do is work until we cannot work anymore or when our brains are about to explode. A beat-up couch is often one of the biggest necessities in an aspiring entrepreneur’s garage.

4) Get away from the naysayers

Entrepreneurs are most often not understood. So much so, it is as if we are not only speaking a foreign language but hail from a different planet. We need a place to be crazy and foreign… and to be martians.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

5)  Miniature companies

Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank started his company in his garage. Not to test the product but for actual production when he first started. He packed his mom’s garage with sewing machines and seamstresses and made polar fleece garments and discarded the rest by burning it outside despite the fact that his neighbors in Queens were not too happy about it.  Hopefully they are now Shark Tank fans. I wrote a post on Daymond and his creative hustle here .

6)  Quick Turnaround

One of a company’s greatest assets when starting out is the fact that there is no middle man (or woman). The entrepreneur is in the forefront of everything and is nearly always there to take care of pretty much everything at all times. That leads to some very quick turnaround and lightning fast customer service. After all, they are stuck in their garage so they have no choice but to be responsive!

What garage stories do you have?

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

 Have a great day!



How To Go Out Of Business Before You Even Start


Athlete_at_starting_blockI believe that good thinking is one of the greatest assets an entrepreneur can have. Too much thinking, on the other hand, can be an entrepreneur’s worst enemy and put you out of business before you even get off the ground.

I am guessing you have heard the phrase the paralysis of analysis a million times. Paralysis of analysis, in short, is when good thinking goes bad. (To view the video I shot on this, click here .)

Many people think the paralysis of analysis phrase has been exhausted and overused to a fault. I however, believe it is not used enough. For one reason or another, people are either not listening or not paying the phrase any mind and find themselves walking into the same rabbit holes they are being warned to stay away from every day.

I know this because I happen one of them …

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

My Paralysis Of Analysis

One of the biggest problems startup entrepreneurs have is getting stuck in the thinking phase and never moving into the action phase. For the past eighteen months or so, I have been caught up in by far the longest, and most drawn out startup I have ever been a part of. It has been so well thought and looked over so closely and carefully that it is as if we were trying to cure a disease. One thing about diseases, however, is that they only get solved through a lot of testing in the lab. The researchers and scientists can only play around with formulas so long until they need to test it and see if it works. Then what? Well, they go back and make modifications, re-formulate, re-test, etc etc… until they find the cure.

Startups need to do the same thing, I know that… but then again knowing means nothing if it is not implemented in the form of taking action. I talk more about taking action and doing what you know here .

So what did we do? … well we kept thinking and looking things through until we had OVERTHUNK it.

The Line Between Diligence and Ignorance

There is a fine but definite line between due diligence and ignorance and we (myself and my partners) definitely reached that ignorance point. The ignorance point happens when things go from productive to unproductive, from forward to backward, and from positive to negative. It is the point of diminishing returns. In this case, too much information started interfering with the core purpose of what we had created and it was definitely getting the best of both me as well my partners until recently (or so I hope). Quite simply, we were trying to be perfect. This is something I talked about in The Obsession To Be Perfect .

Rubber To The Road

So many startups get stuck at the conceptualization phase and never get the rubber on the road. Luckily, I stepped away for a few days and was able to get an objective view of the situation. I looked back on my past experience in business and realized that there was a point in every one of my businesses where I said, “F*ck it, we have prepared enough, the rest we will have to figure out after we take it to market.”… And that is what we did and, each time I managed to get the rubber on the road (not without a lot of unexpected obstacles along the way I might add).

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Get In The Lab

So we are now back on course, headed to the lab with the test tubes in our hands and ready to mix, modify, change and improve . It took a while, but better late than never right?

If you are a startup I suggest you do the same thing. Work hard, prepare, do your due diligence… but stay away from the point of ignorance and the paralysis of analysis at all costs. Put a plan of action together and act on it without fear or hesitation.


Have a great day!


A Startup Entrepreneur’s Tale: When Good Thinking Goes Bad

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Being a great thinker in my opinion is a tremendous advantage for every startup entrepreneur. OVERTHINKING, on the other hand, is one of the greatest liabilities for startups, especially when they are trying to bring their product or service to market. In this video, I talk about a recent mistake I made with a new startup that Gary and I have been working on, what we did wrong, and what we did to correct our course and get back on schedule.

Daymond John’s Creative Hustle- When Forty Bucks Makes You A Millionaire


Yesterday I had a great time meeting up with my man Daymond John from Shark Tank for a new series I am doing at Forbes with Cheryl Snapp Connor, Mary Michelle Scott, and David Williams.

I want to share a quick story about one of the things I admire most about Daymond. It is what I call extreme creative hustle. Truth is, Daymond has always had extreme hustle. If you don’t want to take my word for it read his book which tells his story.

I am currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David & Goliath, which talks about how many people turn their advantages into weakness, while others turn disadvantages into strengths. Daymond used his biggest disadvantage in the very beginning of FUBU (lack of money) and very creatively and strategically moved it into great strength… with the help of his washing machine (will explain in a moment).

Daymond’s Creative Hustle

He started the business in his garage in Queens. He had nothing but a few random pieces in his line. A friend of his (LL Cool J) had achieved mega-stardom as a rap artist, and Daymond used his powers of persuasion to convince him to wear the product.

Daymond knew he could not stop with LL Cool J alone and needed to wardrobe more recording artists and celebrities in order to establish further credibility in the market. The challenge was that there were tons of artists, but Daymond only had a few samples. Implementing his creative hustle, he devised a strategy. He would take the few samples he had, have the celebrities wear them at their events, videos and concerts, then he would take them back, wash them (or dry clean them) and re-circulate them to other entertainers. I remember when I met him back in 1996, he walked into the conference room where I was and he gave me a VHS tape (yes VHS) to play. I put it on and saw every entertainer in our market wearing FUBU. I couldn’t believe my eyes! How in the world could he have done that???

As his product became visible in the media, he closed a deal with one of the largest corporations in the world who became his strategic partner (who happened to be my partner as well). The rest is history.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

When It’s NOT About Money

Did Daymond go after the money at first? Absolutely not. What he did do was create something that nobody else had and no investor in his or her right mind could ignore. He created the sizzle. So much sizzle, anyone in their right minds should have invested… but all he needed was one company… and he got it.

Why do I know all of this? Because the company that signed the deal with his company simultaneously dropped their deal with me when the demand for FUBU put them in the position where they couldn’t afford to give us both the necessary attention… so I know the situation rather intimately. They actually gave Gary and I the opportunity to jump on board but we stubbornly refused, as we let our emotions and our egos cloud our judgment. If you want to learn about that story, read how my ego destroyed my business. 

So Why Forty Bucks?

If someone were to advertise their brand in a magazine during that time, it may cost thirty thousand dollars. If they wanted to run a thirty-second ad on television, it may cost them several hundred thousand dollars for one single exposure. So, what would it cost to run a ten-minute commercial on prime time television once a month for, say a year? If your math is at all good, it may cost well let’s see…. Ten minutes into thirty seconds is twenty, multiplied times twelve times for the year, multiplied times a few hundred thousand…. Almost fifty million bucks… give or take a few million.

Well, Daymond got the that ten-minute commercial and infinitely more, as his product appeared quite a bit more than twelve times a year…actually, a lot more. FUBU was worn on prime-time television shows, music videos, cable stations, you name it. Hundreds of hours of footage.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

So what do you think it cost him? Fifty million? Perhaps forty million since they gave him a volume discount? Try about forty bucks. I say forty bucks as that was about the cost he paid to make a sweatshirt for a celebrity to wear on a show or a video. Most of the times it was a t-shirt or a hat so it cost even less. Remember, he was washing (or dry cleaning) the few samples he had and re-circulating them, as he didn’t have the money at first to make tons of samples.

Not a bad price for exposing your product to hundreds of millions of people… and that, in my opinion, was the Tipping Point for him (thanks again Mr. Gladwell).

Flip Your Disadvantages Into Strengths

Think about your disadvantages and think about how you can turn those disdvantages into strengths. If you look hard enough, you will find the answer.

Many people think the advantage is the money. This example should show how that is most often not the case. From my experience, the biggest advantage is hustle, and if ever there was a person with hustle, it would be Daymond.

Have a great day!



David Williams owns a super company called Fishbowl Inventory, has a weekly column on Forbes, and wrote an incredible book which you can read about here.

Mary Michelle Scott is President of Fishbowl Inventory and collaborates with David each week in Forbes. You can find out more about Mary and Fishbowl, here .

Cheryl Snapp Connor is Chairman of Snapp Connor PR. You can find out more about her here .

The Ultimate Screw-Up’s Guide To Failing Forward

Fail Forward

I went to college at University of Colorado. The end of my sophomore year, I moved off-campus with a bunch of guys, one who’s name was Tom. I hated Tom (understatement). I think it was probably because he had the one thing that I hated more than arrogance… unjustifiable arrogance. He had ABSOLUTELY no reason to be arrogant. He was about the corniest guy I had ever met in my life, and looked like a chubby grown up version of Richie Rich.

Tom was from a state where guns were legal and he had a permit so he would walk around the house with his gun in a holster like he was a cop, despite the fact that violent crime in Boulder Colorado at the time was about as rare as stumbling upon a mountain lion on 42nd street.

The Numbers Game

If you are not familiar with the school, University Of Colorado is a big school and has a very big campus. Every time I would walk through campus with Tom (we left at the same time from the same house), he would stop nearly every woman that crossed our path and ask them out on a date. It was embarrassing. He’d just smile at a girl, stand in her path, extend his hand and say, “Hi I’m Tom.” So much so, that we eventually nicknamed him, “Hi I’m Tom.” Nine times out of ten times the women would practically run away… Which leaves one woman who didn’t.

The Failure Who Succeeded

After a few weeks passed, I noticed Tom was going on a ton of dates. After a month it became ridiculous as women were coming in and out of our house like we were running a brothel.

As it turned out, he explained to me his process. He would ask women out all day until one woman said yes. Every day. If the first said yes he was good, if he had to ask 100 women, the campus was big enough that he would not run short of women to ask.

OK here’s the math…

1 woman a day

7 women a week

28 women a month.

Like I said, a brothel.

The Business Lesson

In business, much like in life, you play the numbers. The only way to succeed in business is to get rejected a lot. And I mean a lot. If you are interested, I wrote an article on the very subject called, 18 Reasons Why Your Rejection Is My Favorite Aphrodisiac. It may help give you a little idea into the reason why I love to be rejected.

So Tom failed and failed a lot. Or so I thought. My take on failure these days is that the only time you fail is when you quit. The truth is that Tom never quit. He simply failed his way forward into success. What’s more, he failed his way into success not once but EVERY SINGLE DAY. One success after another adds up (which explains the revolving door of women at the house).

I believe that the key to success is to build your rejection muscle and grow super thick skin. In order to do this you need fall on your ass repeatedly. One of my favorite analogies to explain this is the process of a baby learning how to walk. How many times do you think a baby falls before finally learning how to walk?

Conversely, what do you think would happen if the baby gave up after falling a few times and just said, “Oh screw it. I’ll just wait until my legs are strong enough.” What would happen is it would take forever for the baby’s leg muscles to grow, and by the time he or she could walk, the other kids would be running laps.

Be Like Tom

If you are a company looking for an investment, remember, you don’t have to succeed everyday (like Cornball Tom), you only need to succeed once. Like I said, it is all about growing thick skin.  If you knew how many times I have failed (and still fail everyday) you would understand why I dedicate most of my time to help  people learn from the mistakes of others. I wrote a book about it, which contains 55 case-studies of my most infamous screw-ups. If you want to read the first few chapters, click here .

I encourage you to be like Tom today. I want you to tell yourself you are going to fail this week and I want you to be encouraged by the very thought. Why? Because, the more times you come up to the plate the greater your chance of striking out… but that is the only way to give yourself a chance to score.

Here are 3 more articles I suggest you read on the subject of failure, rejection and how to grow thick skin.

7 Actions You Must Take Today To Grow Insanely Thick Skin.

6 Powerful Lessons I learned From Failure and 18 Quotes To Support Them

You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take

*NOTE: You will notice Daymond & I are offering 6 free chapters below from the 3 books. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity as we will not offer this forever! A Lot of people get upset when we take an offer down so don’t let that be you ’cause I’m telling you now! :-)

Have a great day & HUSTLE HARD!


The Startup Entrepreneur Guide To Starting A Business

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If you are a startup entrepreneur and were not aware (or are new to Hustle Branding), I wanted to let you know that Gary & I created 4 free video training modules to offer help for entrepreneurs that I think may be of significant help to get you started with your business.

The videos are  over an hour in total and we spent quite a bit of time preparing them so I figured I should bring this to your attention in case you haven’t seen them.

Again, this video series was created specifically with the startup entrepreneur in mind who may not be aware of what to do or  where to start. I think they are also very useful for existing business owners that may be running into some stumbling blocks or looking to raise more money.

When you go to the page, entitled, The Startup Entrepreneur’s Toolbox, you will see the intro video which I have put below. After watching the video , if you want to watch the 4 Free videos, simply enter your first name and email in the sign up box on the page and we will email you the link and you can start watching immediately. We feel these are 4 crucial steps every startup entrepreneur should find very useful.

The  four sections include:

1)  DIFFERENTIATION:  Research And Set Your Idea Apart From The Competition!

2)  BRANDING:  Build And Communicate A One-Of-A-Kind Story For Your Idea!

3)  BUSINESS PLANNING:  Develop A Roadmap For Your Idea To Reach Its Destination

4)  TIPS FOR RAISING CAPITAL:  The Pursuit Of The Deal

To enter the startup entrepreneur’s toolbox page to get your 4 free videos click here. Please feel free to take advantage of this opportunity and we hope you enjoy the video!



Have a great day and HUSTLE HARD!




5 Ways To Raise Money For A Business The Wrong Way


I don’t know a lot of things. I do, however know a thing or two about how to raise money for a business the wrong way as I have operated in the middle of the table on quite a few occasions. If you are wondering where the middle of the table is that a fair question. The middle of the table is where you are putting two parties together and you are acting as a conduit to make the deal happen. A deal-broker to some degree if you want to call it that.

I have also had five businesses over the last twenty-one years in which I was on the side of the table that was in search of the investment (the asking side)… and I have made countless mistakes during that process. This is one of the main reasons why Gary and I started this blog, as we wanted to provide advice for entrepreneurs who may not know where to go or what to do. Though we eventually were able to secure the investments we were looking for, it was not without some very hard lessons learned along the way. It is also important to note that probably the biggest mistakes is not understanding the difference between finance and capital, which is very important to know when looking to raise money for a business .

The following are 5 prevalent mistakes entrepreneurs make when they raise money for a business the wrong way.

1)    Ideas Don’t Cut It

 The most important thing to understand is that investors do not fund ideas. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they will get their company funded on their idea alone. This is one of the biggest misconceptions entrepreneurs have when raising money for a business. Funding startups on Ideas alone are very rarely funded without various other factors taking place that makes the company attractive for investment.

2)    No Revenue

Trying to get a company funded with no revenue is extremely difficult. One reason is that if an entrepreneur’s idea is worth their salt, the investor wants to see them gather revenue to show proof of concept and market viability. They also want to see that the entrepreneur is not looking for them to do all the work.

3)    Valuation Too High

Many entrepreneurs don’t understand the concept that 20% of something is worth a heck of a lot more than 100% of nothing. Often times, offering higher equity to a potential investor or strategic partner is better, as it creates more of a vested interest in the company succeeding when the investor has more equity.

4)    Focusing Too Much On The Cash

Another one of the common mistakes in business that many entrepreneurs make when trying to raise money for a business is not taking the many other things that are relevant in order to make a business succeed. Entrepreneurs will look at the cash alone when the real secret to the success of most businesses lies in the value of strategic partnerships. Money alone quite often is not enough. In a strategic partnership, the entrepreneur uses the resources and expertise of their strategic partner to leverage their strength far greater than any amount of cash can cover.

5)   Looking for an investment too early

Many investors and VC’s will tell entrepreneurs that the product or service is too early in development for them. One example is a technology company that doesn’t have the technology prototype ready and is looking for the investor to fund the prototype. The problem is there is far too much risk involved. I was in the middle of that one about a year ago and it was not fun.  Another example is trying to sell a fashion brand without making samples. These two examples are great places for pursuing startup capital or seed funding. Seed funding will allow an entrepreneur to get the necessary things done in order to put themselves in a position suitable for investment.

I have seen the above five mistakes first-hand, some that I made myself, and the rest (like I said) sitting in the middle of the table. I think that if you can avoid these mistakes you will greatly increase your chances of succeeding in securing the investment you are looking for.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

Have a great day!


5 Reasons Why Your Business Has 365 days To Live


At some point, like human beings, businesses have a shelf life. Just as we try to prolong our personal lives by staying healthy and doing the things that nourish our bodies for the long term, in business we have to start by understanding what is going to promote good business health as opposed to bad business health.

Businesses have the same challenges as humans in that the decisions we make determine what state our business will be in – short term and long.

I remember the first business I had, which I started in my senior year of college, and how its finality happened much quicker than all the blood, sweat and years (and some tears) I put into it. Much of it’s downturn was result of my lack of experience in business and my excitement. You may be thinking, ‘Isn’t excitement a good thing?’ Yes, and no! Yes, because excitement was my turbo engine that drove me to make the business successful. No, because in a state of excitement I made bad decisions, and when I mixed that with a lack of business experience, the business began its slow death.

Some people believe that developing your startup is a ‘ Marathon, not a sprint,’ but I disagree whole-hardily with that line of thinking!

And I have good reason to, here’s why;  Info by Statistic Brain (Source: University of Tennessee Research)

365 days is not long time to establish a business and neither is 730 (2yrs) or 1095 (3yrs). So, if our business health depends on our decisions, what do we need to feed our business to stay strong in the initial years? Here’s 5 things to think about;

1) You’re Not Fast Enough- Stationary Kills

Being quicker to the punch has it’s advantages. Apple’s competitive advantage is their ability to be first to market and great in their execution. This enables them to to take advantage of the market at a premium before anyone else. As companies try to copy them, they are refining and improving. They stay ahead initially until the innovation slows down and competitors catch up. You should always understand your business’s potential, always keeping in mind that no matter how good you may be doing,  you need to keep improving. Get Faster!

2) The Business Is Getting The Best Of You (Graph by: Anna Vital)

You have to understand that your business goes through peaks and valleys. Push forward and keep learning. Clear out all the mistakes, so you start making the right decisions.

3) It’s About Progress, Not Perfection

The little wins add up. Don’t focus on making home runs at every at bat. Keep getting on base and you will eventually score.

4) Discover Creative Ways To Use Your Resources

Identify your resources and find creative ways to utilize them. Look at them from various angles – strategic partnerships, manufacturing, financing etc…

 5) Persist In The Face Of Failure (Graph by: Anna Vitali)

Michael Jordan said it best, ” The only reason I succeed, is because I failed.” Stay calm in the eye of the storm – they eventually pass.

Do your best to keep these 5 things in mind as you go about your business and hopefully your business will have many 365 day turns ahead of you!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry


Using Capital The Wrong Way – My Painful Story


Many aspiring entrepreneurs are misled into pursuing a capital investment without taking into account financing, which is the key component that gives your company its ability to grow. The majority of start-ups I come across look for capital without taking the necessity of financing into consideration.

I have learned this lesson like I have learned most of my lessons, ‘the hard way’, when Gary and I started our first business in college in 1991. Continue reading “Using Capital The Wrong Way – My Painful Story”

1 Gut-Wrenching Reason Why You Must Bring Your Idea To Market TODAY


Let me give you the moral of the story up front. If you have developed a product or service and you are hesitant about whether or not to bring it to market yet… Bring it to market TODAY. Not tomorrow. Not next week. TODAY. Let me tell you why…

Yesterday, I was catching up on some articles from the NY times that I hadn’t had a chance to read this past week. I came across an article that hit me like a punch in the face Continue reading “1 Gut-Wrenching Reason Why You Must Bring Your Idea To Market TODAY”

7 Reasons Why I Will NOT Invest In You

27. 7-Reasons-Why-I-Will-NOT-Invest-In-You

Investing in a start-up to me is one of the trickiest things to do as I have been on the losing (and winning) ends of both sides of the table on several occasions.

To me, there is no real difference between the investment of money and investment of time, except for the fact that the latter is normally more painful as time we can never get back. Continue reading “7 Reasons Why I Will NOT Invest In You”

10 Ways You Will Screw-Up Raising Capital & Tank The Deal

29. 10-Ways-You-Will-Screw-Up-Raising-Capital-&-Tank-The-Deal

Whether you are looking for an investor or a new customer, I think there are very clear reasons why someone will not invest in your brand. Having been fortunate (and unfortunate) enough to be on both sides of the table, and also being fortunate (and unfortunate) enough to succeed (and fail) at raising capital on multiple occasions, hopefully this will shed a bit of light on some of the prevalent mistakes people make when entering the investment waters for the first time. Continue reading “10 Ways You Will Screw-Up Raising Capital & Tank The Deal”

5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You

30. 5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You

Though the title may seem weird, or maybe even ridiculous, entrepreneurs are truly a breed unto themselves. Most people start out early in life with a very robotic answer as it relates to our professional future – Do well in school, get a good job and retire at sixty-five (or now supposedly sixty-eight). Statements like this have driven me crazy since the age of twenty, coincidentally the year I started my first business senior year in college. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You”

What NOT To Do When Raising Capital: The Jack of All Trades … Is a Jackass

41. What-NOT-To-Do-When-Raising-Capital-The-Jack-of-All-Trades-Is-a-Jackass

When pursuing an investment for one of my fashion brands, Gary and I met with a gentleman who represented a group of investors.

The man was recommended by a friend in the financial world who knew of several companies the man had successfully completed securing investments for over that past year. We were happy to know that the man was on a roll, and had credibility as far as raising money. Continue reading “What NOT To Do When Raising Capital: The Jack of All Trades … Is a Jackass”