http://www.angelnetwork.com – In this Angel Investors Network Tip Of The Day I share 5 tips on marketing to accredited investors. These are critical strategies that one can use to raise capital for your business.
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You can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues; but doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.
Sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos with hindsight.
The trick is to catch yourself before you cross that line, because once you share something, there is no going back.
The following list contains the 12 most common things people reveal that send their careers careening in the wrong direction.
1. That They Hate Their Job
The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person, who is not a team player. This brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
2. That They Think Someone Is Incompetent
There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.
3. How Much Money They Make
Your parents may love to hear all about how much you’re pulling in each month, but in the workplace, this only breeds negativity. It’s impossible to allocate salaries with perfect fairness, and revealing yours gives your coworkers a direct measure of comparison. As soon as everyone knows how much you make, everything you do at work is considered against your income. It’s tempting to swap salary figures with a buddy out of curiosity, but the moment you do, you’ll never see each other the same way again.
4. Their Political and Religious Beliefs
People’s political and religious beliefs are too closely tied to their identities to be discussed without incident at work. Disagreeing with someone else’s views can quickly alter their otherwise strong perception of you. Confronting someone’s core values is one of the most insulting things you can do.
Granted, different people treat politics and religion differently, but asserting your values can alienate some people as quickly as it intrigues others. Even bringing up a hot-button world event without asserting a strong opinion can lead to conflict.
People build their lives around their ideals and beliefs, and giving them your two cents is risky. Be willing to listen to others without inputting anything on your end because all it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict. Political opinions and religious beliefs are so deeply ingrained in people, that challenging their views is more likely to get you judged than to change their mind.
5. What They Do on Facebook
The last thing your boss wants to see when she logs on to her Facebook account is photos of you taking tequila shots in Tijuana. There are just too many ways you can look inappropriate on Facebook and leave a bad impression. It could be what you’re wearing, who you’re with, what you’re doing, or even your friends’ commentary. These are the little things that can cast a shadow of doubt in your boss’s or colleagues’ minds just when they are about to hand you a big assignment or recommend you for a promotion.
It’s too difficult to try to censure yourself on Facebook for your colleagues. Save yourself the trouble, and don’t friend them there. Let LinkedIn be your professional “social” network, and save Facebook for everybody else.
6. What They Do in the Bedroom
Whether your sex life is out of this world or lacking entirely, this information has no place at work. Such comments might get a chuckle from some people, but it makes most uncomfortable, and even offended. Crossing this line will instantly give you a bad reputation.
7. What They Think Someone Else Does in the Bedroom
A good 111% of the people you work with do not want to know that you bet they’re tigers in the sack. There’s no more surefire way to creep someone out than to let them know that thoughts of their love life have entered your brain. Anything from speculating on a colleague’s sexual orientation to making a relatively indirect comment like, “Oh, to be a newlywed again,” plants a permanent seed in the brains of all who hear it that casts you in a negative light.
Your thoughts are your own. Think whatever you feel is right about people; just keep it to yourself.
8. That They’re After Somebody Else’s Job
Announcing your ambitions at work when they are in direct conflict with other people’s interests comes across as selfish and indifferent to those you work with and the company as a whole. Great employees want the whole team to succeed, not just themselves. Regardless of your actual motives (some of us really do just work for the money), announcing your selfish goal will not help you get there.
9. How Wild They Used To Be in College
Your past can say a lot about you. Just because you did something outlandish or stupid 20 years ago doesn’t mean that people will believe you’ve developed impeccable judgment since then. Some behavior that might qualify as just another day in the typical fraternity (binge drinking, minor theft, drunk driving, abusing people or farm animals, and so on) shows everyone you work with that, when push comes to shove, you have poor judgment and don’t know where to draw the line. Many presidents have been elected in spite of their past indiscretions, but unless you have a team of handlers and PR types protecting and spinning your image, you should keep your unsavory past to yourself.
10. How Intoxicated They Like to Get
You might think talking about how inebriated you were over the weekend has no effect on how you’re viewed at work. After all, if you’re a good worker, then you’re a good worker, right? Unfortunately not. Sharing this will not get people to think you’re fun. Instead, they will see you as unpredictable, immature, and lacking in good judgment. Too many people have negative views of drugs and alcohol for you to reveal how much you love to indulge in them.
11. An Offensive Joke
If there’s one thing we can learn from celebrities, it’s to be careful about what you say and whom you say it to. Offensive jokes make other people feel terrible, and they make you look terrible. They also happen to be much less funny than clever jokes.
A joke crosses the line anytime you try to gauge its appropriateness based on how close you are with someone. If there is anyone who would be offended by your joke, you are better off not telling it. You never know whom people know or what experiences they’ve had in life that can lead your joke to tread on subjects that they take very seriously.
12. That They Are Job Hunting
When I was a kid, I told my baseball coach I was quitting in two weeks. For the next two weeks, I found myself riding the bench. It got even worse after those two weeks when I decided to stay, and I became “the kid who doesn’t even want to be here.” I was crushed, but it was my own fault; I told him my decision before it was certain.
The same thing happens when you tell people that you’re job hunting. Once you reveal that you’re planning to leave, you suddenly become a waste of everyone’s time. There’s also the chance that your hunt will be unsuccessful, so it’s best to wait until you’ve found a job before you tell anyone. Otherwise, you will end up riding the bench.
TIP OF THE DAY…for entrepreneurs!
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Every startup is unique and different with individual circumstances and needs and there are avoidable mistakes that all startups should consider that can lead to legal complications. Complications which can jeopardize the long-term success of a business and future rounds of financing.
People like to give advice and share their opinion, but wise men seek counsel from someone who has been there and done that! AIN’s goal is to use our years of experience and all we’ve learned to help you.
Here are the 5 quagmires to avoid at all costs!
FAILURE TO DOCUMENT A FOUNDER AGREEMENT AT THE BEGINNING.
This oversight can lead to the so-called “skeletons in the closet”. Early co-founders sometimes drop out of the picture due to disagreements and you might forget about them, but they don’t forget about the verbal agreements you two made. Later when your venture is closing on financing or even going public, that forgotten early partner surfaces demanding shares, warrants or even money.
This problem can be avoided by incorporating immediately and issuing shares to the founders, which are recorded in the minutes of the corporation. Everything you discuss should be documented. There’s a great tool we use titled “Elements To The Perfect Agreement”. This text helps to identify and document expectations between partners. We also recommend and use Laughlin & Associates for all our “Corporate Compliance” . They help make sure Corporate records include minutes and proper documentation that meet legal requirements for everything done on behalf of the corporation.
INCORPORATE & ISSUE FOUNDERS SHARES IMMEDIATELY.
Many startups delay incorporation until the first formal round of financing, which is too late. At this point your entity may already have several million in valuation, so the IRS can tax your shares as income at that value immediately. This is called “phantom income” and is to be avoided at all costs. If you don’t, you might have to pay taxes on stock that has no liquidity and or real cash value.
The solution again is to incorporate early, when founders’ shares clearly have trivial value. Also, file an “83(b) election” with the IRS within 30 days of the agreement. Then you will only have pay tax on the increased value of your shares when they are sold.
DISCLOSING PATENTABLE INVENTIONS BEFORE THE PATENT APPLICATION IS FILED.
Entrepreneurs often put off the hassle and the cost of filing a patent until their first funding. Sometimes they share their invention with the public, the might even launch and start selling their product before filing a patent application. Eventually, they realize that not filing a patent has them looking like a novice, which investors will likely shy away from.
There is no excuse for not filing at least a provisional patent early. This will hold your place in the patent line for a year. The costs and time for this provisional filing are generally less than a full patent would be. Trade secrets need to be documented, and reasonable steps taken to keep them secret. Business plans and other documents should always be labeled as confidential.
MAKING SURE YOU ARE LEGALLY COMPLIANT BEFORE ACCEPTING MONEY FROM INVESTORS.
Laws can be very complicated. Many times, federal laws don’t necessarily line up with state laws, which make it difficult for the novice entrepreneur to understand what applies to them. With the new crowdfunding laws, things are changing dramatically state by state and on a federal level. Bottom line, make sure to get legal counsel when raising capital to ensure you comply with both state and federal laws.
Overall, the biggest legal mistake that a startup can make is to assume that legal problems can be resolved later. Finding a lawyer early is easy, we use and recommend James E. Burk at the law firm of Burk & Reedy. In reality, it will cost you much less to get it right the first time, when the stakes are still low, compared to the heartache and cost of correcting something later.
ALLOCATE FULL TIME TO RAISING YOUR CAPITAL AND DON’T STOP UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE!
We see hundreds of deals every month. Way too many entrepreneurs start the process of raising capital, get a portion in the door, then start to focus on the business without finishing the financing round. They end up in a situation of never having enough money to actually implement the business plan as outlined and then end up raising money for months and even years. I am guilty of this myself, which is why I don’t want you to do down that road.
I think it is great advice to get your plan for funding together and go at it full bore nonstop until the money you need is raised. Don’t let off of the throttle one bit after you get the first few checks in the door. Work at it full time until completely funded before you executing your plan.
The first European Business Angels Investment Forum was held at the Shangri-La Bosphorus and Hayrettin Iskelesi sk hotels in Istanbul,Turkey. It was organized by EBAN, Business Angels Association – Turkey (TBAA), Borsa Istanbul, and Forbes I Para Conferences.
With the theme ‘Access to Finance from Start-up to Scale-up to Exits’ the forum was attended by 284 Angels from 36 countries; university officials and professors, bankers, company officers and crowdfunding platform owners.
It is important that we recognize the importance of angel investments in supporting startups. The European Governments know the importance of angel investment in funding startup and early stage businesses in Europe, so they provide tax incentives to individuals that back small businesses as well. EBAN President Candace Johnson remarked “In Istanbul our TBAA colleagues bridged the gap between Stock Market Exchanges and Business Angels with a most thoughtful, insightful Investors Forum in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Majestically presented to all present with midnight tours and local culture, Istanbul was also the perfect place for our new MBAN Colleagues to come together and have a special Middle East Forum where four world-class entrepreneurs were showcased to investors from around Europe, the Middle East and the world.”
TBAA President Baybars Altuntas said “The forum attendees learned the intricacies of the Turkish ecosystem. Turkey recently passed the Angel Investment Law in one year, legislated the highest tax incentive in the world in nine months, and involved its exchange as an exit strategy for early stage investments”.
He further adds “The Forum also brought together the key stakeholders of the equity market, analyzed the challenges and advantages in angels’ investing, and found out what more could be done in connecting the early stage market ecosystem. We also deliberated if there is still a need to change regulatory and fiscal rulings. We also defined how angel investors should approach the public markets.”
“It has been the greatest privilege for EBAN to work with the newly established MBAN and ABAN entities this last six months and we are so looking forward to a glorious 2015 where cross-border engagement will give way to cross-continent engagement and wonderful global EMEA Success Stories”
Candace Johnson added.
All 18 key findings in the forum will be officially declared at the Special European Business Angels Forum session to be held at the World Entrepreneurship Forum on November 2015 in China.
THE KEY FINDINGS ARE:
1. A reliable local ecosystem is essential for cross-border angel investments. Stock markets can create a platform where angels and startups can meet and negotiate.
2. Open a Private Market for startups and entrepreneurs. In this market, all must register as stock exchanges, be accredited angel investors and have access financing in a secure environment.
3. Mentorship programs, independent audit firms and other service providers must be present in this reliable local ecosystem.
4. Develop co-investment funds. Banks, as public entities, should invest together with angels in startup investments. A certain percent of the profits, say 1 percent, should go to the co-investment fund.
5. Private investors should be allowed to make co-investments with public funds.
6. With European Union funds, policy makers should undergo training on how to’s and the advantages/disadvantages of co-investment funds. Policymakers must be trained to show the best practices, pro – cons and how to’s of co-investment funds. EU should finance these training best practices and how to’s.
7. While pitching to angels, startups should demonstrate their products. Crowdfunders should be considered as mini-business angels, and thus be accepted as a seed funding structure around the globe.
8. Stock exchanges and crowdfunders complement each other, rather than compete.
9. At the start of any entrepreneurial journey, the first to support the startups are crowdfunders and the last help will be from stock exchanges. Thus, there is a need to create an information drive among the key stakeholders and guide the entrepreneurs on where to go for financing.
10. Aside from money, the startups need know-how, mentoring and networking. The public can provide financing, but the rest comes from business angels. Cooperation between the two should be fostered and public money should be converted to smart money.
11. An accreditation scheme should be established to qualify angel investors, and thus be recognized by public authorities.
12. Legislation that will set the same minimum amount for qualified angels to invest in startups.
13. Turkey has a very dynamic and fresh angel investment ecosystem. Within the next few years, the ecosystem will be able to provide successful exits for startups.
14. The Business Angel Networks in Turkey should be able to connect with the global angel investment market to facilitate exit strategies. There is a need to follow global events and create links with key players.
15. Business Angels of Turkey see foreign angels as their ‘mentors.’ Thus, there is a need for policy makers to provide more incentives to foreign investors that work with Turkish angels.
16. Acceleration centers should be established, and be accepted as institutional angel investors.
17. These acceleration centers will check professionally all startup applications for financing, if they are already investment ready. If and when angels receive requests for funds, they will first forward these to acceleration centers for verification.
18. When the acceleration centers are established, then startups should not go to an angel investor directly, but to the said center first. Startups should have to understand that acceleration centers are highways to access smart money.