Best Business Plan Software

Best Business Plan Software

live plan 

Best Business Plan Software: using the best software is a critical component of startup success. I have been practicing and teaching new business creation for 35 years and have tended to veer away from ‘template’ business plans for two reasons: first, they relieve you of thinking and questioning your own assumptions too hard, and second they encourage you to believe that there is a set formula. However, that was before I encountered LivePlan from Palo Alto Software.

Any plan must convince the audience that you are the person or team to make your solution produce results, though personally I don’t believe there is one right way to write a business plan, though I insist that it is not a job for an entrepreneur to subcontract. Outstanding business plans can be written on the back of a napkin, or in a 50pp document + appendices. I have lots of advice to offer about how best to craft a compelling story and indeed, I offer a table of contents for what I believe should be in a business plan.

Structuring the Plan

However, LivePlan offers business plan writers a structure for approaching the content. It’s a cloud-based software that leads you through the process. Though I have written many business plans starting with a blank screen, LivePlan can accelerate the process, without losing authenticity or immediacy.

Sure there is a structure, but you can change or reorder it. For instance, in the ‘Opportunity’ section I both reordered and added subsections that I determined to be important. There was no subheading for ‘Value Proposition‘ or ‘Business Model‘ that I wanted to include—but two clicks later, they were added.

Plan and Pitch

There is a tendency among my clients to try to write the executive summary or pitch at the outset, whereas I recommend that it should be the last step in the process, to ensure that the argument presented in the main document is convincing, and that the summary covers the main points lucidly and sequentially. Like any consultant, I don’t always take my own advice! I tend to dart from one item to another in a haphazard way as ideas strike me. LivePlan allows me that messy way of working, jumping around and crafting my pitch and my plan iteratively.

Given that space is limited in the Pitch Section of LivePlan, it really concentrates the mind. On the other hand, I found that as I worked on the Plan Section, especially where I had to produce data to support my argument, I could test the assertions in the pitch against what I claimed in the plan. LivePlan forced me to revisit my data on the Market Size and Competition many times before I was satisfied. Here’s a slide that it generated for the competitive landscape for the business plan review service.

Business_Plan_Review_Service_Pitch_pptx

Plan Help

LivePlan’s video tutorials and examples, helps you write a good plan in much less time, and often as you constantly go back to the writing process they can inspire you and help you realize what’s missing. There are very helpful and short intros to topics such as the Revenue Forecast or Personnel Plan. I review many business plans, both of clients and students and am continually amazed at the gaps they have not spotted. With LivePlan, it’s possible to reach those ‘ah-ha’ moments on your own.

There is another huge benefit to using LivePlan: it’s easy to share the plan with others. Business plan writing often is a solo occupation, but without feedback from others whom you trust, or members of your co-founders or startup team, the document is likely to flop. The software allows you to share the draft with or without the ability to edit. That is a vital component of the tool for entrepreneurs, just as it is with several of the tools you can find at Accelerate Your Startup.

Additional Benefits

LivePlan is much easier to use than many competing products. At the outset I thought it looked too simplistic but as soon as I started to use it, I realized that that was deceptive. It really helped me to structure my thinking, but allowed me all the flexibility I needed. Of course, it also has many bells and whistles, like themes you can customize, if that’s your bag, and the ability to import financial data. It does your financial calculations with you having to create formulas in a spreadsheet. Indeed you can keep the numbers updated without a separate spreadsheet. You can also compare your profit to industry averages with LivePlan’s benchmarks. The Milestones section can keep you up to the mark, and really it will be the only ‘dashboard’ you’ll need, once the business has started.

Perhaps the biggest benefit is the price. An annual subscription is only $11.66 a month, however many plans you write; a monthly subscription otherwise is $19.95. Both payment plans include phone, email and chat support.

Automatic Calculations and Presentations

A super aspect of LivePlan is that is carries out spreadsheet calculations. You put in the numbers and it does the rest. But it does not stop there. Your pitch can be automatically converted into a slide deck. When you download it, it’s in Power Point form that can be easily edited if you don’t like the way it looks, though mine have looked pretty good. The pptx file can obviously be converted to Keynote if you are a Mac user.

Business Plan Reviews

A significant part of my work involves reviewing business plans for both clients and students. The business plans I see come in all shapes and sizes. The curious thing is that that some immediately reek of ‘template’, showing up the lack of deep thinking by the author. Others reek of ‘blank screen’ and are all over the place. The first category need feedback on real strategic thinking. The latter need a complete rewrite. Recently I had to return my fee, since the plan submitted was such a mess that it needed to be re-thought and re-written from scratch. Fortunately neither of these is likely to be the case with a LivePlan plan. 

Have I convinced you? If not, click the link and go straight there!

Live Plan

Raising Capital with an Internet Go-Between

Raising Capital with an Internet Go-Between

Hall_T__Martin

Hall T Martin, internet go-between, founder of TEN Capital

Entrepreneurs often come across finance brokers of various kinds, including many on the Internet, but I recently met Hall T Martin who founded TEN Capital in Texas. Hall T has created an organization that has been very successful in raising capital for new ventures in Texas. I forecast that we will see more of this kind of new Go-Between, elsewhere in the United States or across the globe, if TEN Capital doesn’t get there first.

What is special about TEN Capital is that they use a service model that enables entrepreneurs to join the program for a monthly fee of $295, once the viability of their business model has satisfied Hall T or one of his colleagues. Entrepreneurs who join the program can stay as long as it takes to find funding or give up the race.

A member of the TEN Capital team helps the entrepreneur prepare the company and its investor documentation, as well as to develop a campaign plan for whatever kind of funding is appropriate. The neat part is that in addition to the mentoring, TEN will steer the client towards the form of funding that is most appropriate for the company at its particular stage. They can help with raises of between $5K to $50M.

Financing Ladder

TEN Capital is not restricted to one kind of capital raising. TEN has built a financing ladder, across many kinds of finance, each with its own particular characteristics. The first rung of the ladder that’s appropriate for very early stage companies is likely to be on the basis of donations—from friends and family, with the expectation of raising between $5-10,000. It generally sounds simple to the budding entrepreneur, but the process is often fraught with difficulties, both in terms of how to raise the money, as well as in the establishment of appropriate documentation. In the case of debt finance, it will probably involve a promissory note, whereas for equity finance the creation of the right share structure will be a bit more hazardous.

The second rung could involve using reward-based crowdfunding on a larger scale and involving a bigger network to raise something between $5-50K. Though this process also seems simple, the campaign will involve a lot more work to plan, as well as executing a social media campaign. At the same level, TEN Capital can help with P2P (Peer-to-Peer) lending, which is a special form of crowdfunding, but using the same kind of social networking campaign.

The next big step might involve an Intrastate Crowdfunding raise, for up to a quarter of a million dollars. This process exists in more than 35 States, including Texas, and came about because the SEC was slow to issue the rules for what is designated Title III crowdfunding at the Federal level. Many States created exemptions from Federal public fundraising that made it less onerous and expensive for companies to raise equity, provided that investors are only drawn from within the State and with limits on the scale of the offering.

Higher up the ladder, Hall T and his colleagues will guide entrepreneurs towards accredited investor raises among business angels. In Texas, such raises will be from single or multi-family offices (a family controlled investment group). An accredited investor is one who can deal with securities not registered with financial authorities, by satisfying one of the requirements regarding income, net worth, asset size, governance status or professional experience—essentially very wealthy individuals.

TEN Capital works also with many other forms of business finance, including revenue-based funding, where loans and interest are paid as a percentage of the borrower’s revenue stream; partnerships and acquisitions, where another business can bring funds to mutual advantage; grants from foundations or government bodies; straightforward, old-fashioned bank debt and lines of credit.

Fundraising Model for the Future

The new kinds of financing becoming available through what I would call the democratization of equity markets, means that entrepreneurs have to choose the appropriate kind of money raising process and the best sources, not only in terms of the kind of financial arrangement, but also which kinds of individuals or institutions can bring added value because of who they are.

The freeing-up of capital markets has been spurred by the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act of 2012. It has taken the intervening years for Federal and State civil servants to establish the new rules of the game, which are now in place for 2017. In part, this has been because bureaucracy is complicated, but also because the powers that be have not wanted to create financial markets without protection of the consumer/investor. The democratization of equity markets has resulted in a clearer set of rules, still protecting the investor, but more appropriate to the Internet age.

Now that new energy has been pumped into the financing of startups, the field has become even more complex than it was before. Hence the need spotted by Hall T and his colleagues—entrepreneurs full of passion for their creation tend to lack the overview and knowledge of what may be the most effective financing the way to turn their ideas into reality. The tendency for borrowers will still tend to be a knee-jerk reaction for creators of new ventures to go to a retail bank, cap in hand, with the hope that their credit score and house valuation will persuade the bank to make a loan. The tendency for capital seekers tends to be that they have to aim at an angel or a VC, but even today that route is open to a small proportion of startups.

In the tech world, many business accelerators attract business founders, since if they are accepted, they get the kind of support and networking that TEN Capital can offer, but in exchange of a small equity stake. TEN capital partners may decide to invest, but their business model does not of necessity require the entrepreneur or co-founders to part with an equity stake.

There are some alternatives to the TEN Capital process. One is Onevest, that offers entrepreneurs the CoFoundersLab, for learning, ways of building startup teams, as well a network to find advisors and provide investment. However, such platforms as Onevest, or Angellist which is not dissimilar, do not offer such a range of financing options.

The banks themselves have not really woken up to the sea change taking place in the financing of new enterprises, so they themselves are not always a good source of advice, most particularly because they are actually risk-averse. These are reasons why a Fundraising Go-Between, like TEN Capital, provides a really good model for the future. Traditional CPAs, another ‘first port of call’ for many aspiring entrepreneurs, are seldom well versed in all the options now available, and in any event, will cost much more to hire than the $295 monthly fee that TEN charges.

If you are not starting a business in Texas, you better hope that either TEN Capital will expand to other States, or that you can find as creative a go-between near you. My prediction is that one way or another there will be a growth of such go-betweens, both on the Internet, within other States, and among nonprofits that are dedicated to fan the startup flames of their region or sector.

Entrepreneur Who Isn’t

Entrepreneur Who Isn’t

Entrepreneurial Manor

drawing by Andrew Davies

Lost City Beneath the Sod

Stuart Wilson, 37, is a graduate archaeologist—and entrepreneur, though he might not classify himself as such. He was a toll collector when he invested in his passion: archaeological excavation. He followed a conviction that he was on the trail of a long lost major medieval city in Trellech, Wales.

Whereas he might have put a deposit on a home, or bought a sports car, he actually bought a 4.6 acre field—for £32,000 (about $40,000 at current exchange rates). He used his life savings and took out a bank loan to cover the cost. His mother, Barbara, said at the time, “Ah well, if you don’t find anything, it’ll make a nice picnic site.” So he had a risk mitigation plan right from the start!

This field was where he was pretty sure part of the lost city lay, buried beneath the farmland. He was sure enough of his passion that he gave up his job in the toll booth and settled in to demonstrate that his passion was about something real—and important, through digging up the site.

Without formal backers for his enterprise, he invested heavily of his time and energy, and precious little else, except an army of probably as many as 1,000 volunteers from across Europe as well as the locality, over the last eleven years.

The volunteers included archaeology students, who paid a small fee ($61 a day) to participate, as well as people from the surrounding areas. He also raised funds by selling T-shirts and other small scale revenue producing efforts. So convinced was Stuart, that he gave up his full-time job and worked shifts at a betting shop to help fund the project.

A Hidden Manor House

One of the major finds has been the remains of a large medieval manor house. But many other buildings, artifacts and whole streets have been unearthed. Stuart believes that there is much more that will see the light of day.

He was amazed to find that walls were fully intact, and floors, a well, drains, road surfaces, cobbled pavements, entrances, and now a fireplace with a chimney and a courtyard have all been found. Though they have unearthed parts of a street, know where many more exist, since they are still used as roads or tracks.

But now, following massive world-wide media attention, he envisions permanent on-site dig structures, an interpretive centre and recreations of Trellech buildings. His persistence is now paying off and he is dreaming much bigger. What in entrepreneurial terms one might call scaling. Part of the scaling might include a takeover—of more land, surrounding his own plot, since it holds but a fraction of the sprawling lost city.

Entrepreneurial Characteristics

From my own 50 years of living, observing and writing about entrepreneurship, I have come to distill seven characteristics that will almost certainly be present in a person who creates a new venture of any kind.

Such a person:

  1. is predisposed to action—“I could have done that, but…”, you’ve heard many people say something similar, they never do
  2. enjoys investigating & innovating—comments on the idea like, “it’ll never be worth it, because…” incite finding a solution
  3. experiences learning as a way of life—rather than shutting up shop and sticking to the known
  4. tolerates ambiguity—and allows creativity to resolve it, often coming up with innovative solutions to problems
  5. is a (controlled) risk-taker—will always consider how to deal with the downside
  6. is able to put vision into practice—the passion has to have an expression in reality
  7. while remaining very much in the present—to deal with the unexpected rather than being floored by it.
entrepreneurial archaeologist

Stuart Wilson archaeology entrepreneur

Stuart also suggested that, “When you are a small fish in a big pond, then bigger fish tend to ignore you, leaving you alone.” However, his time of swimming in a ‘Blue Ocean’ where there are few predators, is now ending—as he is discovering.

He knows that he’s beginning to swim in a ‘Red Ocean,’ where a lot of blood is spilled, as competitors fight for prey. His solution like many entrepreneurs faced with that situation, is to become “a much bigger fish to make them think twice about attempting to take a bite.”

Financial Bootstrapping: the Wilson Example

Much that is written about entrepreneurship assumes that significant amounts of capital are needed. However, the reverse is true for about 99 per cent of new ventures started on a wing and a prayer. Stuart bootstrapped his venture big time. He cobbled together enough revenue and muscle to persist in his endeavor—a bootstrapper par excellence.

It is a particularly interesting example of bootstrapping, in that he did not set up a business, or even a nonprofit to achieve his ends. His venture is an example of something that is happening ever more frequently—and especially in the hands of creative individuals like Stuart, who don’t find that any conventional kind of organization meets their needs, and may not even think that they need a legal structure to change the world, anyway.

Of course, there are many instances in which it becomes necessary to have a formal legal entity. Stuart is now faced with choices that he did not need to confront at the outset. Two things have happened as a result of his efforts. First, he is beginning to gain traction, as the startup jargon calls it. The venture capitalists might call traction ‘evidence of market demand,’ and in Stuart’s case, it is the sheer numbers of people that have become involved with his dig, as a consequence of its revealed importance.

The second thing that has happened, is the notoriety he has been receiving from the world’s press and television media. That kind of public attention has followed disruptive startups in many sectors. When they can no longer contain their success, predators start showing an interest. There have been numerous instances of that happening. One of the more spectacular recent examples was the behemoth Walmart’s acquisition of jet.com—the online retailer.

In the case of the Lost City of Trellech, it is not buyers who may be circling the site, but government bodies or professional associations who may consider that such an important archaeological site cannot be left to what they may consider a maverick, despite his professional degree.

Potential Predator Poses a Problem

Right now, Cadw, the historic monuments arm of the Welsh Government threaten to ‘schedule’ his site. Stuart refuses to accept that they should take control, just as a business founder might fend off a takeover suitor. He has been assured by current officials that things would stay as they are, with him running the show. But he is savvy enough to know that officials come and go, just like management in an acquiring company.

Wanting to reach an accommodation, Stuart has offered to form a Heritage Partnership Agreement with Cadw, so that they can work together, without him losing control. But he’s not leaving it there. He is about to write an open letter to the Welsh Government to bolster public opinion in his favor.

It is not surprising that he has started this one-man lobbying effort, since he now has plans to turn the site into an public attraction. Stuart has submitted plans for an archaeological research centre and camp site to Monmouthshire County Council, signaling the dig site as “a valuable community asset that supports local tourism, hotels and pubs.” To ram the point home, he adds that it’s also, “an important archaeological site as well as a training and educational facility.”

Now that’s scaling, business or otherwise, and Trellech, the Lost City of Wales would inspire any aspiring entrepreneur who lacks big bucks, but dreams big.

Note: Stuart’s dad, Alan, applied for a job in total quality in our company. At his group interview, he demonstrated the quality process by baking a loaf of bread before our eyes in the office, portable oven and all. He got the job and worked with us for several years. Clearly, creativity runs in the family.

Startup Learning Opportunities

Startup Learning Opportunities

will-teaching-nvc

New Venture Creation course being taught by Will

Startup learning opportunities abound. Not all of them require you going to business school to do an MBA. Many are available on line. Some are even free.

Plenty of people have business ideas and at the same time lack any notion of how to turn those ideas into a business reality. It is highly likely that, with a bit of knowledge and structure, those budding entrepreneurs would have a much better chance of success that if they launch themselves into the abyss.

This course on How to Start Your Own Business is one that is well with looking at. It’s from Michigan State University. Another in the same league is from the Wharton School, renowned for the financial emphasis of its MBA program. It is simply called, Entrepreneurship. Another good place to start is The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship by Guy Kawasaki.

Many good offers exist for startups in particular fields. You may already think you know a lot about the healthcare industry. Maybe you have worked in it for years, but working in it and starting a business in the field are two very different things, and you’d be well advised to take the course on the Healthcare Marketplace, to get yourself up to speed and maybe avoid some pitfalls arising from thinking that you know it all.

Social Entreprise

It may of course be that your new venture will seek to change the world—the chances are high. There is much talk about social entrepreneurship and the trend is so universal that many social enterprise startups don’t even name themselves as such. For those who do self-identify themselves as social entrepreneurs, a good place to start would be the Social Enterprise course from the Copenhagen Business School. An alternative could be 8 Things Everyone Should Know About Social Entrepreneurship.

On the other hand people who have a mind to start something, but are searching for ideas, could do worse than doing a course on the Internet of Things, as a way to gain inspiration. This course could lead you to ‘things’ other than those that require you to be a great software engineer, but unveiling open blue ocean market spaces where there is little to fill the void. Entrepreneurship: Quit Your Boring 9-t0-five Job & Do Business, could help, too.

These courses are from Coursera and Udemy. It’s well worth checking out all of Coursera’s offers on Entrepreneurship, as well as Udemy’s offers of courses on Entrepreneurship.

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Change the Social & Economic Story

society-startup-economy

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Change

the Social & Economic Story

Men and women who create for-profit and nonprofit new ventures can and should do things of the kind that the President-Elect is likely to neglect, negate, or avoid. Entrepreneurs can quietly change the story, one organization at a time, whatever government may or may not do.

Here are ten ways venture founders can alter the course implied by what we know of Donald Trump’s intentions. They are all within our own authority, not those of government. We can:

  1. actively appreciate the economic and social needs of disadvantaged groups and consider how our own organization can make a difference—or start a new one that can; at least ensure that our own organization does not contribute to disadvantage;

  2. be inquisitive about rural and underserved populations adversely impacted by political, economic and tech change—and examine ways that our organization can make a positive contribution, including the offer of products, services or employment;

  3. create employment inclusive policies on gender, race and religion; offer all employees dignity and respect, by providing healthcare, parental leave, clear policies on sexual harassment, and the opportunity for participation in decision-making and sharing organizational success;

  4. take the opportunity to participate the life of local communities to mutual advantage, through direct civic engagement, as well as supporting employee volunteering; become involved in community supported enterprises;

  5. evaluate all practices of the organization that may contribute directly or indirectly to climate change—and introduce ways that will reduce pollution; seek to be powered by clean energy and move to zero waste;

  6. ensure that the pay ratio between the highest and lowest paid members of the organization does not exceed 20:1 (as it was in 1965) to reduce financial inequity, given that the ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303-to-1;

  7. re-examine the consequences of all purchasing decisions, in order to avoid pain and hardship, either in supplier organizations or the local and global community; research supplier behaviors on socio-economic parameters;

  8. commit to support the lifelong learning of all members of the organization, regardless of where they are starting or what position they hold—through internal development programs and external qualifications;

  9. employ socially responsible financial policies that do not disfavor any stakeholder, either close at hand or nationally, as well as avoiding immoral or self-serving practices, such as the avoidance of repatriating foreign profits;

  10. build a widely communicated progressive corporate story that is reflected through the behaviors of everyone in the organization and enshrined in all official organizational procedures; regularly monitor its reality.

The USA is #1 on the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) for 2017

GEI scores 137 countries on 14 pillars of a healthy entrepreneurship ecosystem 

Will Keyser, Venture Founders LLC; November 2016 (will@startupowl.com). Venture Founders was a founder BCorp in 2007. BCorpsleada global movement of people using business as a force for goodTM.

What about us little local guys ‘n gals

What about us little local guys ‘n gals?

happy village

“There is plenty of conventional “establishment” writing and advice to startups as to how to raise money from billion-dollar VC funds, how to design companies for rapid growth then acquisition by big pharma/tech, how to ingratiate themselves with bankers and high finance—in general, how to become the growth cogs for the 1% (by convincing the founders/management that they personally can join the 2% as a goal). There is very little true attention to small/local, environmental responsibility, or social contribution—all of which get crushed as grist for the mill and personal greed.

“Developing a literature and culture to mutually support responsible entrepreneurs is an important effort, especially to highlight where the ethical/moral (and especially financial) entrapments and pitfalls lie — and how best to avoid them with alternatives. I am reminded for small (generally younger) farmers succeeding against big agrobusiness by growing high-quality organic crops that can support higher margins and better employee/partner respect.

“Building a parallel universe to the establishment—and avoiding self-destructive confrontation/interaction—reminds of guerrillas effectively competing with a big conventionally powerful army. As Bernie Sanders espouses, we need a revolution.”  This is a quote from my friend Bill New,  a physician, social investor and small school advocate, based in the SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley. This week is his birthday, starting his 75th year, and trying, as he says, ” with moderate success to downsize and simplify, spending time with promising students looking for their path, struggling young companies, and stumbling schools seeking a sustainability paradigm.”

Actually, Bill was co-founder and chairman of Natus Medical for 15 years, among other things. The company is  a leading provider of medical devices, software and services for the Newborn Care, Neurology, Sleep, Hearing and Balance markets, with revenue approaching $400m.

He was responding to my comments in the latest issue of Insights for Founders.

 

See the world more clearly

See the world more clearly

dharmaco

‘Vision’, created for DharmaCo by Libat Ohayon.

Founders who want to change the world are achieving their goal. More and more major corporations have decided that their values should not just be nice catch phrases, but be exhibited in all their actions. Without a band of founders prepared to say “enough is enough”, they might well have gone on their merry way, rather than beginning to see he world more clearly.

Like many other among my MBA New Venture Creation students, Dhruv Jagasia, founded his own business: Dharmaco—that makes prescription eyewear available on line. I can attest to the fact that the glasses are all stylish and high quality. If ever they were to break, they covered by a lifetime warranty.

Every pair is dispensed by a licensed and board-certified optician, so you know you’re getting the clearest vision possible. You can try them on at home using their fun and easy to use Virtual Try On apps, or you can try on a few pairs at home for free.

Dhruv decided that Dharmaco should to try and shake things up. Tired of seeing sameness everywhere: overpriced, poorly-made products, purely profit-driven philosophies and a lack of authenticity and transparency. Dharma Co. was founded on the idea of accessibility; not only do they make all of their high-quality products affordable, but they want to help provide access to those who can’t afford proper vision care. That view of the world led to partnering with Optometry Giving Sight, a global nonprofit that trains local eye-care professionals, establishes vision centers, and delivers eye exams and glasses in areas of need around the world. They are donated 5% of each sale, which means that you make an impact with every pair you purchase.

 

Female Founders

Danielle Tate, author of Elegant EntrepreneurFemale Founders

Female Founders is a new feature at Startup Owl. Among other things it lists over 30 sources of startup and early-stage funding that are specifically aimed at female founders. There is pointed advice from female founders for intending female entrepreneurs. The page is written by Will Keyser in conjunction with Danielle Tate, founder of misnowmrs.com and author of the Elegant Entrepreneur

Why do I as a male think the issue of the low proportion of businesses that are created by female founders is important? Because we need men and women as founders. While we also need gender not to be a determining factor in the founding and development of new ventures, we need to dramatically increase the numbers of women involved in entrepreneurial leadership.

There is a thread of gender imbalance throughout the economy. The one-sided, male-dominated control of major corporations and Wall Street has a ripple impact on the availability, maybe insidiously, of investment funding for female-founded businesses. This is not a cause of there being so many fewer female founders than male ones, but creates an atmosphere of expectation. Expectation that anyone called an entrepreneur will be male.

While half of US investment capital comes from women, women are severely under-represented on the other side of the desk.  According to Women in Fund Management: A Road Map for Achieving Critical Mass – and Why it Matters, from Re:Gender, (formerly the National Council for Research on Women), women represent a scant 10 percent of traditional mutual fund managers and an even lower percentage in alternative investments fields. Only 3 percent of approximately 9,000 hedge funds have a woman in charge. Though the report dates to 2009, my impression is that the proportion has changed not much since.

A similar situation exists in other sectors of the money business. Women make up over half of the US population, and they control the majority of consumer spending. They earn more college degrees than men, but they still aren’t in charge of many investments, but there are said to be only 9% of fund managers who are women. Some shining examples exist, though. One is Systematica Investments, launched last year, was founded by Leda Braga and manages over $8 billion. Only 2% of the $12.6 trillion in US stock mutual funds is handled by female investment managers, according to a report by Morningstar last year.

Female Founders are growing in number, though, and this is significant given that they are vital to

  • instilling a cultural rebalancing of society,
  • strengthening the depth of the economy, and
  • re-ordering priorities in business life.

As I said to Gail Cooper, VP of Programs, at Re:Gender, this is not that I’m like my historical British female compatriot, Emmeline Pankhurst the suffragette who chained herself to railings to promote women’s suffrage. But I do want to see a radical change in the number of women starting businesses and being cofounders with men.

Storybeing: India in Corsica

Storybeing: India in Corsica

Bollywood_in_Corsica

Storybeing

What do you think is going on in the image above? 

No, you are wrong.

It is the making of a Bollywood film on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Last July an group of Indian filmmakers descended on the island to make a film called Tamasha and they were amazed to find rituals, music and culture that made them think of home—so far away. You will enjoy watching this 3-minute video. It’s fun just for itself.

An old Corsican acquaintance of mine, Jean-Patrick Constantini, who makes films and was involved in this one, makes the point that this film will be an amazing piece of publicity for the small island, where I used to live. 

Why?

Storybeing

Because it is storybeing, almost without being storytelling. It does not labor the point of the beauty and culture of the island, but shows it happening, without intentionally being promotional. So often we are so wrapped up in our own story that we insist on the message instead of letting it unfold and manifest itself. 

Startups are often good at storybeing, because they are not caught up in the norms of how one is are supposed to behave as a corporate being. They live their own entrepreneurial story day to day. The startups who are really good at it go on storybeing into maturity and growth. They allow themselves to be themselves and avoid business pretension.

Living the values and value of the enterprise is much more telling than ‘crowing’ about them. 

 

Are You and Entrepreneur?

 

Are you an entrepreneur?

8 questions to help you decide.

Here are 8 questions that will help you decide if you have what it takes to start your own business. If you only score a total of 8, this is probably not the life for you; if you score 40, go for it right now!

Check each how strongly the statements apply to you, with a 1 being not very applicable and 5 being absolutely how you are. Think about the characteristics carefully and be honest with yourself. Nobody is going to check your answers.

You might want to see if friends or colleagues who know you well agree with how you scored yourself. Sometimes we know what we’re good at, and sometimes we can’t see it. On the other hand, we may know that we are not good at something, or we may not even be aware of our incompetence.

Personal Characteristics

1

2

3

4

5

I am predisposed to action; I like to get things done

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy investigating things and resources needed to create the new

 

 

 

 

 

I feel a need to achieve things, more than having power, or belonging

 

 

 

 

 

My life is filled with constant learning that I can then apply

 

 

 

 

 

I can tolerate ambiguity and seeming contradictions—and still progress

 

 

 

 

 

I am not foolhardy, but am good at determining degrees of risk and reward

 

 

 

 

 

I am good at putting vision into action, while remaining in the present

 

 

 

 

 

I am able to make use both of my intuition and my ability to analyze

 

 

 

 

 

TOTALS

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND TOTAL

 

If this exercise confuses you, don’t hesitate to contact me (will@startupowl.com) and we can talk it through.