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!

MJ

 

Daymond John’s, ‘Power of Broke’

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Many people believe that the main ingredient necessary to get a business off the ground is money. In today’s video I discuss Daymond John’s new upcoming release, The Power of Broke which offers incredible insight into the the hidden power that entrepreneurs have at their disposal which unfortunately they do not recognize.

Daymond uses case studies to highlight some of the most incredible success stories of entrepreneurs that had absolutely nothing to do with money and everything to do with utilizing resources and hustle to get their businesses off the ground.

I also discuss why his two previous books, Display of Power and The Brand Within should be required reading for every aspiring entrepreneur and small business to properly prepare you for the journey ahead.

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

MJ

Don’t Create A Startup, Create A Conspiracy!

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Today it seems like we’re in a churn and burn state of mind. I look across the myriad of start-ups that pop up every second on the second, and begin to think that speed has become a strategy over quality. To a certain degree that strategy works, but it works at the expense of quality and differentiation.

Building on that strategy is not a failure but a bad case of self inflicted poor decisions that starts off as a bad cold and ends ultimately in death. A slow death is better because the pain is negligible – for most people.

Success hinges on investment, and return relies on compounding. The entrepreneurs that would rather go the slow death route are investing time, money and resources that slowly but surely kill off their companies. Those mis-guided decisions compounded over time return nothing, nada and eventually end in despair.

The Entrepreneur’s Mission

 To avoid sickness and hopefully death we must start at the beginning and ask, “Why do entrepreneurs (you) become entrepreneurs?”

After reading Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One, he stated, that the function of an entrepreneur is ‘to conspire to change the world.’ Those are big shoes to fill for anyone to get their mind around. I know that wasn’t my frame of mind when I started my first business. Was it yours – is it yours? I probably would have folded up the tent long ago and trekked back home to a cozy 9-to-5 – which I’ve done before.

On that trek (process) I lost something and gained something else. I learned how to do what everyone else was doing (loss), and simultaneously learned that agreement by large committee is strategic dilution. In other words, if enough piranhas pick at something (self interests) long enough an idea goes from being a living and breathing process to a carcass with only remnants left of the original idea.

Obviously there are exceptions but how many brands keep the process an inspirational journey throughout.

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

Creating A Conspiracy

 I learned that entrepreneurs start businesses because they believe things can be done differently and ultimately better. The art of bringing an idea to market without dilution is why entrepreneurs exist. So yes, conspiracy is a good word to use when talking about entrepreneurs.

No matter whether you’re a mom and pops startup, or the next Facebook, your modus operandi is the same – to create new thinking clear of traditional thinking. When it’s all said and done, a startup’s survival and eventual growth depends on continuous radical (I stop using disruptive) thinking.

This thinking starts with a question that entrepreneurs must ask, what do we do exceptionally well compared to our competition? That’s where the conspiracy starts.

–       Apple

–       GoPro

–       Under Armour

–       AirBnB

–       Facebook

–       Tesla

–       Virgin

–       And many others

These brands did not start as startups. They were(are) conspirators. They dominated a niche with a new way of thinking, and then scaled. Business plan done!

Tom Peters once said, “Why would you plan to be like someone else one year from now today – to be a year behind?”

Amen Tom!

The Takeaway

 Be a trailblazer! To copy is not a form of flattery; it’s a means to a disastrous end. Iteration is good – if it’s significant. Take rational big risks. Don’t be afraid to fall flat on your face – your face will get used to it. There was a point you couldn’t walk, ride a bike… you fell, but you also learned how to advance.

Creating and building a conspiracy takes the same process!

*NOTE: You will notice Daymond & MJ 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! :-)

Stay hungry, & HUSTLE HARD!

Gary

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Consider Adversity The Breakfast Of Champions

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Failure and setbacks continue to ‘appear’ as giant hurdles that seem impossible to overcome. If only we realized that setbacks are opportunities for us to grow! I recently looked at my own progress in this area, and started to link my success to my ability to find silver linings in otherwise tough situations.

Once you build this skill-set you will be able to overcome the different challenges that present themselves throughout both your personal and business life. So TREAT SETBACKS AS SETUPS, so you can reach your potential and realize your dreams!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!

Gary

The 1 Critical Question That Entrepreneurs Must Answer To Be Successful

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In this video, I talk about a very important question that many businesses and startups have trouble answering. I consider this question a very important one in building a successful business.

The majority of the answers come back as a laundry list of what they do. Of course, this response does not answer the most critical question facing a businesses  success and its eventual differentiation proposition. Ultimately, we all have to answer this question – because if we don’t our customer will surely do it for us.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!

 

Gary

 

6 Compelling Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Start In Garages

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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!

 MJ

 

How To Go Out Of Business Before You Even Start

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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!

 MJ

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.

3 Fearless Ways To Stop Double-Crossing Your Core Purpose

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I consider myself a life long student of those who came before me, both personally and professionally. Success is often hard to teach, quite simply because circumstances and timing are hard to replicate – but they do, however, give us a chance to take away core values and principles, two things that rarely change in the formula for success.

Many entrepreneurs make decisions based on a mix of gut and rationale. Entrepreneurs must keep their creative intent and core purpose intact at all times, even when presented with opportunities that may sound unattainable or even too good to be true. Keeping your core purpose will enable you to not only enjoy the ride from start to finish, but also align what you do with how you do it!

 Chase Jarvis- Marc Ecko

I recently watched a video that Chase Jarvis did with famous clothing designer and media mogul, Marc Ecko, who has created a billion dollar empire. As I listened to the video, one part of the interview jumped out at me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. He discussed how he made some big mistakes when his brand reached the gates of success. Because he was riding a tidal wave of success, he started to lose focus on what was important to him, and he started to make decisions that nearly crippled his company.

He explained that he ‘double crossed’ his creative intent – which was why he started the business in the 1st place. Basically, he got away from the values and energy that made the company successful in the beginning. Once he got back to that place, his passion and ultimately his success was back in play.

Here are the 3 Be’s that will ensure you don’t double-cross your own creative intentions, and help you lead a life and business worth getting up for.

 1- Be The Gate Keeper

The only person that can insure your dreams and goals are met is YOU. Your vision is very specific and vivid as to how you see it become reality. Obviously I’m not saying you will not have to make adjustments and some compromises, but the essence must stay intact.

As entrepreneurs we’re always faced with decisions and opportunities that may ‘double cross’ our true intent, but we must remember that we are the gatekeepers and we determine what goes out and what comes in. If we abandon the gates, then we become what everyone else wants us to be – not what we want to be.

 2- Be More Selfish

I know the word ‘selfish’ has a bad meaning to it, but it shouldn’t. As the saying goes, you simply can’t please everyone, and if you do, you wont mean anything to anybody

So How do you differentiate yourself, if you do? … and If you’re not doing it for yourself, then whom are you doing it for?

It’s your dream and you will be living it everyday, so don’t get caught up trying to please everyone and finding out one day that you are living other peoples dreams. As Simon Sinek says, ‘Connect with people that believe what you believe,’ and you will be happier, and those that you work with will be to.

3- Be Intellectually Honest

Deciding to be more ‘selfish’ doesn’t mean to stop being smart – especially regarding how you assess yourself. It’s easy to evaluate others but ourselves – extremely difficult. As hard as you may try, you can’t lie to yourself and believe it.  True success comes when you are able to pursue the truth and not let your personal beliefs interfere. We can all be accused of being so head strong that we would rather be right than entertain something that conflicts with our beliefs. There’s no learning from that rigid and ‘Mr. I know I’m right” position, and even worse, there’s no growth from it either.

There’s nothing wrong with being stubborn, but be open and smart enough to hear and observe things that can make you better. Being the gatekeeper allows us to filter the noise (the bad stuff) from the things that add value and strengthen (the good stuff) us.

Don’t be afraid or fearful of being more selfish – it can be good as long as it’s not toxic, so don’t get carried away. Use it to stay focused and on the path.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry

 

Gary

The 7 Key Ingredients To Create An Unstoppable Power Partnership

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I’ve had a partner in business for the majority of twenty years. In my opinion, one of the single greatest benefits of having a business partner is knowing that I have someone who is not only there in times of success, but also by my side in the trenches when times get tough. That is a feeling that only those who have great partners can relate to. But that only scratches the surface of a successful business marriage.

Just like in personal relationships, careful deliberation is the order of the day. I’ve found that most partnerships are either formed by way of creating a synergy of two existing entities to produce a dynamic outcome, or it comes from a personal standpoint – which is how it happened for me. MJ (my business partner) and I have been partners in a number of different ventures since 1991.

Match Made in Heaven

Our first venture was in college where we built an apparel company that eventually sold merchandise to the best retailers in the country. Our foundation was formed at a very early point in our entrepreneurial careers. We were just two excited guys glad to be doing something new and exciting. Since we didn’t know what to really expect, there wasn’t a lot of pressure initially – just two guys going for it. As the business got more complicated, we gradually understood what each other’s strong points were and divided the responsibilities up accordingly.

Fast forward twenty plus years and our partnership is based on the same things as it was back then – trust, integrity and FUN.

My significant other, and yes, I’m talking about MJ not my wife. Sad isn’t? Or maybe just plain pathetic!  But none-the-less true – I talk to him more than my wife and have probably gone out to dinner with him more as well – yikes!

Power Partnerships Defined

So, how do I define a great partnership? Well if this sounds personal… it’s meant to sound that way – here we go:

1) PassionInevitably a partnership has to start (and end) with both parties possessing equal passion for the business or idea. I believe passion is a mandatory component to create any successful venture.

2) In It To Win It (All In)–  It’s a great feeling to know that your partner is all in and will do whatever it takes to make the business succeed. This often means doing things under pressure situations and under extreme duress. This all in attitude fortifies your posture of being an unbeatable team!

3) Dedication & Commitment To GreatnessWe’ve seen how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created one of the greatest companies in American history, and that takes both partners pushing each other to be better and innovate at the highest level. It’s not about being good, it’s about being great.

4) Respect And HonestyThis goes without saying but deserves saying again. When honesty is lost, dissension bears its ugly head. A lack of respect causes the partnership to rot from the inside out. Conversely, having mutual respect for one another and being honest creates a path to success and acts as an investment each other’s outcomes. There is nothing I am afraid to tell MJ and the same holds true the other way around.

5) Appreciate The Differences You will never see everything through the eyes of your partner. As the old saying goes, ‘Focus on what enriches your relationship, not simply what reflects it.’ Appreciate your differences! MJ and I certainly do not agree all the time. Some may feel this is not good. To us, it’s how we grow. Being able to be willing to view a situation from the perspective of your partner will stretch your comfort zone and make you a better company if you have the respect I mentioned above, and you are open and willing to not always be Mr or Mrs. Right.

6) CommunicationJust like personal relationships, communication is the foundation of a partnership. At the very least, great communication will improve awareness, reduce tension, and create better decision making. At the very best, it makes the company work like a well-oiled machine.

7) Humor – The final component of a great power partnership is the necessity to have fun. In order for a business to last, the partners must enjoy the process of running a business. Not a day goes by that MJ and I are not cracking each other up over one thing or another. Humor is a necessity. Why? Because life is too short not to have fun.

One quick note on egos… Egos destroy businesses. I personally don’t think MJ and I have egos as we believe there is tremendous strength in humility. We weren’t always like that but I like to think we are now. What I can say, however, is if egos are involved, be sure to leave them before you walk through the door so you can reach your goals without interference and unwarranted roadblocks.

Summing It All Up

As you can see, business relationships mirror personal relationships in several aspects. At the heart of all business relationships, small or big, are human beings. Understanding what makes each other tick is an essential tool in being a successful duo. MJ happens to love working very early in the morning. I, on the other hand love to work late into the night. Because of this, we are open for business from early morning to late at night.

When you start thinking about entering into a partnership, ask yourself, what do I want in a partner? Draw up a profile of your partner, and use it as a reference. Going into a partnership based on feelings and gut can be your undoing and create massive setbacks. Think marriage. As we all know, entering a marriage on a bad foundation is costly – both time and money. Nothing is perfect, but you have to understand what you can live with and what you can’t.

If you’re already in a partnership that has it’s challenges, address it immediately. Let the person(s) know what you expect and open up the conversation. Find out what they expect. Often times your expectations are similar, but have gone off-course for some reason. It’s your job to get understanding, so you can right the ship.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!

Gary

 

 

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!

 

MJ

 

Everything You Wanted To Know About A Blog But Were Afraid To Ask

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One of the things I love most about our blog is that Gary and I write and or say what we want, when we want. Another reason is there is no debating as to why we write or say it. We simply want to share our experience with you if you care to hear it. This is our digital home and, unlike our own homes, ‘Mi casa es su casa’, so everyone is invited… and can leave any time they want. That is the true beauty of the internet.

The Great Thing About Blogs

Blogs are incredible when you know how to navigate them. Unfortunately, there is no good way to extract all the good information unless you have a guide to help you. If you have a blog, I suggest you create a post like this to help people find all the articles you have worked so hard and so long to write. It is such a tremendous injustice that most blogs have less than 1% of its information read.

I was inspired to do this post as Gary and I constantly send article links to people who ask questions about various subjects that we have covered in detail somewhere on this blog… So I have created this guide..

Here is a simple, easy-to-follow guide through that should include everything you wanted to know but (perhaps) were perhaps afraid to ask.

Branding

 If you look at the last few entries you will see they are very solution-based and offer quite a bit of information on branding, something Gary (in my opinion) is one of the best at. Gary has spent the last 23 years handling the branding for four of companies in which we have owned together, as well as for some of the top brands and entertainment personalities in the world. If you want to catch up on all branding posts, click how to brand your product.

Turning Failure Into Success

 I, on the other hand, write a lot about what I have learned from failure, and how to turn failure into success. So much so, I wrote a book about it. It is no twenty- page E-Book.  It is an eleven chapter, 213-page book that contains fifty-five case studies of what I have learned from the mistakes I have made over the course of the last 20 plus years as an entrepreneur. If you want to find out more about it, click How To Ruin A Business. You will see that some people and brands you may have heard of have said some good things about it.

 I have also dedicated an entire section of this blog to everything an entrepreneur should NOT do when running a business. My belief is that, by reversing the traditional way we learn and teaching people to learn from the mistakes of others, we take the ego out of the equation so entrepreneurs can take their guards down and learn objectively, while still allowing them to enjoy the freedom of their own experience. If you want to go to that section, click what not to do in business to see the list of articles.

How To Raise Money To Start A Business

 I have also written a number of articles on the subject of raising capital and pursuing investors. I have been on both sides of the table as well as in the middle quite a few times so I have an interesting perspective and decent insight on the subject I think. If you want to read those articles, click how to raise money to start a business.

Help For New Businesses

 If you are starting a business, there is a section you should not miss, as it will give you access to 4 training modules that Gary and I spent quite a bit of time on. It is called The Start-Up Toolkit.  A lot of people contact Gary and I and ask us questions that we have already answered in detail in those videos. To find out about The Start-Up Toolkit, click help for new businesses.

Business Strategy Tips

There is another cool section on the blog that contains short video modules offering business tips that you can implement in your business to help you. It is called the Bear Essentials. To access it click business strategy tips.

For The Entrepreneur

We have developed a section specifically with the entrepreneur in mind. This area of our blog highlights a lot of the challenges we have faced as entrepreneurs and what we have learned in our experiences along the way that may be of help to you. To access this section click help for entrepreneurs

Success Tips & Advice

One of the biggest portions of the N2ITIV blog contains stories of success and various tips and advice on how to be successful in your business affairs, whether you work for yourself, or somebody else. If that is more your speed, click success tips & advice.

 Videos

 If videos are more your speed, we have tons of videos on this site as well. To watch videos, instead of reading text, by all means, click entrepreneur videos.

 Who Are MJ & Gary Anyway?

 If you want to learn about who Gary is and what he does both professionally and personally, click who is Gary O’Neil. If you want to find out about me, click who is MJ Gottlieb?.

So there you have it. That should keep you reading and watching for weeks. Enjoy and let me know what your favorite section is!

Have a great day!

 

MJ

 

5 Ways To Raise Money For A Business The Wrong Way

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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!

MJ

When Trust Is A 4-Letter Word

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Before I started my first business in 1991 my father gave me one piece of advice.

He told me, “Ninety-nine point nine percent of all the people you will meet in business are full of sh*t… and most of them would sell their souls for a dollar.”

The rest, he said, I would have to figure out for myself. Continue reading “When Trust Is A 4-Letter Word”

Using Capital The Wrong Way – My Painful Story

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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”

7 Reasons Why I Will NOT Invest In You

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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”

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”