Corrections or additions?
Dan Conley: Venture Catalyst
You can’t win in the pros if you have bush league
on your team, says Dan Conley
catalyst." As head of the Somerset-based Silicon Garden Angels
+ Investors (732-873-1955, E-mail: OnCallCFO@aol.com.), he works with
entrepreneurial business owners to help acquire the most appropriate
form of capital, debt, or equity at a cost and structure fitting their
overall goals and philosophy. Part of his success as a catalyst is
screening-in deals and screening-out those that still need weeding
and tending in the garden.
Find your "early stage" money by hiring professional help
— or go it alone. But whatever, you do, avoid these 10 deadly
sins, advises Conley. Watch out that you don’t do the following:
having trouble making payroll, don’t expect an angel to ante up.
of dollars is not to be treated lightly.
articulate the "big picture" now and be ready with the details
take calls only when referred by someone they trust.
is intuition." These rules can only be likened to an intuitive
sniff test that must be passed by an entrepreneur and his company
before Conley will take the person as a client. Often one can actually
smell success in a company, and these veritable corporate pheromones
are an unstated factor that attracts the capital one needs to grow.
As Conley says, you have to be "fundable as well as
Conley’s bottom line advice for entrepreneurs:"if you have a
mousetrap, and you know it, get to a venture catalyst as quickly as
possible." That is the only way to assure yourself the best
chance that your mousetrap is on the right track, and you don’t lose
Fred Beste of Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds (610-865-6660) keynote
this year’s "Best of the Best" meeting of the New Jersey
Network Wednesday, January 5, at the Doral Forrestal
Beste has his own set of rules: the 12 "show me keys" to
seed stage capital:
is promoting the company so funding and talent are drawn to it. He
or she is the most important spokesperson for the company so you need
a leader to bring the company to the next level.
the sky based solely on industry estimates from a consulting company.
VC for money if you and your people haven’t laid your own money on
CEO has a driver, watch out.
If you are not consumed by your idea, you might better be off working
for someone else.
someone else to join your team? If not, that’s a bad sign.
plans are expected to have a certain element of "smoke and
but at least some of your predictions should be well grounded.
so don’t expect to conquer all the competition in your first year.
that entrepreneurs make is to assume that a "good idea" is
also a money-making idea. Too often, it’s not.
John Ason, an "angel" or accredited private
investor active in NJEN, offers these rules for attracting seed stage
capital, for a first round of financing (E-mail: Ason@home.com).
Now the entrepreneur, the attorney, and the bureaucrat
can work off the same page. The state’s 94-page book, "Doing
in New Jersey", can answer all your questions about state
and more. It is available for $5 by calling 973-353-5950.
Interlaced between the nuts and bolts rules is some good advice. A
chapter on procurement activities, for instance, has more than two
dozen names, addresses, and phone numbers of the agencies you might
need to contact, everything from bonding agencies to agencies that
issue bidding lists. Qualifying as a government contractor still seems
like an onerous task, but at least what you would have to do is all
set out for you.
The chapter on regulations for starting a new business has a sample
business plan outline and lists of "Smart Risks" and
Among the smart risks: Assess your company’s credit policy
Realize that some customers won’t pay on time and some won’t pay at
all. Hire people who have different skills, abilities, and
last dollar, expecting that people will pay you in time for you to
cover your expenses. Hire people who share your background and
Hire a friend’s friend or hire solely on the recommendation of another
is how to form the business — as a sole proprietorship, a
a corporation, or a limited liability company. This book sets for
the advantages and disadvantages for each.
to do business, and with this information the state is certainly an
easier place to be an entrepreneur.
Corrections or additions?
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