Category Archive:Funding

ByCarolyn Keane

How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you’ve spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn’t include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. With that in mind, jump right in.

Executive Summary

Within the overall outline of the business plan, the executive summary will follow the title page. The summary should tell the reader what you want. This is very important. All too often, what the business owner desires is buried on page eight. Clearly state what you’re asking for in the summary.

Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

Business Description

The business description usually begins with a short description of the industry. When describing the industry, discuss the present outlook as well as future possibilities. You should also provide information on all the various markets within the industry, including any new products or developments that will benefit or adversely affect your business.

Market Strategies

Market strategies are the result of a meticulous market analysis. A market analysis forces the entrepreneur to become familiar with all aspects of the market so that the target market can be defined and the company can be positioned in order to garner its share of sales.

Competitive Analysis

The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

Design & Development Plan

The purpose of the design and development plan section is to provide investors with a description of the product’s design, chart its development within the context of production, marketing and the company itself, and create a development budget that will enable the company to reach its goals.

Operations & Management Plan

The operations and management plan is designed to describe just how the business functions on a continuing basis. The operations plan will highlight the logistics of the organization such as the various responsibilities of the management team, the tasks assigned to each division within the company, and capital and expense requirements related to the operations of the business.

Financial Factors

Financial data is always at the back of the business plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important than up-front material such as the business concept and the management team.

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ByCarolyn Keane

Many ‘invention promotion’ companies nothing but scams

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Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.

For me, the “a-ha!” moment often hits in the dead of night, or when I’m in the middle of a meeting or driving. We Americans are a nation of problem-solvers, and it’s no wonder that we’ve come up with some of the world’s best ideas. The list of world-changing inventions dreamed up by Americans is astounding.

Sometimes, what you or I think of as a revolutionary idea has already been tried; other times they’re not practical, not marketable or are hamstrung by red tape and competition. But every once in a while, somebody comes up with something amazing and makes millions. It’s this quest for fame and fortune that drives many people to take their idea for a “better mousetrap” and go for it.

TV shows such as “Shark Tank” have propelled many inventors to riches and glory, as celebrity investors decide whether the ideas are worth a shot. An industry has even sprung up around the potential profit in new inventions, promising to help get your idea patented, protected and marketed.

Related: Feds bite down on ‘Shark Tank’ winner

But, as some budding Edisons have discovered, many “invention promotion” companies are nothing but scams, designed to hook the hopeful into spending big bucks with dreams of getting their products to market.

Also read: Freezing your credit after the Equifax breach

Back in March, the Federal Trade Commission busted a Miami Beach, Florida-based company called World Patent Marketing, which had allegedly promised would-be inventors it could help its clients successfully develop and market their products. Instead, the FTC told a federal court, all but a few consumers found themselves shelling out big bucks with nothing to show for it. In all, the FTC’s complaint alleges, the scheme bilked consumers out of more than $10 million. The complaint also accused parent company Desa Industries and its CEO Scott Cooper of involvement in the scheme.

The company is accused of using a variety of tactics to lure new customers and reassure existing ones, such as made-up “success stories” about people the company had helped. Adding insult to injury, some customers claimed that when they tried to complain or wrote negative online reviews, the company used intimidating tactics to shut them down, including threatening them with lawsuits.

One potential inventor told the Broward County, Florida, Sun-Sentinel that he had given $300,000 to the company to promote his idea for a net device that could be attached to a cellphone case to hold keys and other small items, only to come up empty-handed.

For its part, Cooper’s legal team has noted in court filings that the invention-promotion business is risky, and that fact is made clear on its website and promotional materials as a warning to potential clients.

If you do come up with an extraordinary idea, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office advises that you proceed carefully. The agency has a brochure at https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ScamPrevent.pdf that lists some of the warning signs of an invention-promotion scam, and notes that the law requires invention promotion companies must disclose the following information:

  • The total number of inventions they’ve evaluated in the past five years and the number of those that received positive and negative evaluations.
  • The total number of customers with whom they’ve contracted for actual invention-promotion services.
  • The total number of customers who have received a net profit after working with the firm as a direct result of that relationship, as well as the total number of customers receiving licensing agreements as a result of the company’s work.
  • The names and addresses of all companies associated with the company.

If you want to find out more, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0184-invention-promotion-firms, as well as http://ipwatchdog.com.

Contact Bill Moak at moakconsumer@gmail.com.

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2017/09/17/many-invention-promotion-companies-nothing-but-scams/666212001/

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ByCarolyn Keane

Judge Extends Freeze on Accused Scammer’s Assets

One emotionally disabled 25-year-old New York farmer dreamed up Socially Accepted, a social networking site for people like him or others with Downs syndrome and autism to find friends.

Another North Carolina man thought he invented a device, Teddy’s Ballie Bumpers, to prevent toys from rolling too far under sofas and other furniture.

And a Broward County surgeon envisioned millions of people buying SmartNet, elastic netting snapped onto the backs of smart phones and tablets to secure objects that might otherwise drop or get lost.

They had ideas and they all testified Thursday in federal court that they were scammed out of a total of nearly a half-million dollars by a Miami Beach company.

After hearing their testimony, a federal judge extended for at least two weeks a freeze on millions of dollars in assets amassed by the head of that $26 million Miami Beach patent promotion operation — one the federal government alleges was a scam.

The assets were locked up and World Patent Marketing at-least temporarily shut down last month after the FTC sought a temporary restraining order against the company and its founder and CEO, Scott Jason Cooper.

Cooper, 43, is asking to regain control of the assets, including a waterfront mansion he bought for $3.2 million last April and a 70-foot yacht worth more than $1 million.

But he has more basic needs, attorney Michael Pineiro told the court Thursday. “He can’t access his bank account to pay for food to feed his children,” he said, adding Cooper also can’t pay his lawyers, something Cooper’s mother is currently helping with.

After four hours of argument and testimony Thursday, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles was not yet persuaded to lift the freeze, giving the attorneys two more weeks to obtain more information about bank accounts, credit card histories, companies and trusts which may shed light on whether more assets exist.

So far, a court-appointed receiver has found World Patent Marketing, or WPM, had gross revenues of $26 million from November 2014 through January 2017, but has only about $350,000 left in the bank.

Cooper is also seeking to restart the company, but the receiver, Jonathan Perlman, is for now siding with the government, saying “it is unlikely that WPM can be operated profitably, while also lawfully.”

“It is undisputed, and Mr. Cooper agrees, that no WPM inventor has ever realized a profit from their invention using WPM’s services. Nor has any customer, through WPM, sold a meaningful number of units,” Perlman wrote in a report filed Wednesday with the court.

Read the rest of the story:

https://www.nbcmiami.com/investigations/Judge-Extends-Freeze-on-Accused-Scammers-Assets-418650953.html

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ByCarolyn Keane

We Fact-Checked Seven Seasons Of Shark Tank Deals. Here Are The Results.

The hit ABC show that gives entrepreneurs a chance to pitch celebrity investors depicts some business owners walking away with life-changing deals. But more often than not, those hand-shake agreements change or fall apart after taping.

FORBES found that 319 businesses accepted deals on-air in the first seven seasons of Shark Tank. We spoke to 237 of those business owners and discovered 72% did not get the exact deal they made on TV. But tweaked terms or dead deals don’t necessarily spell doom for a business; for many contestants we spoke to, the publicity of appearing on the show ended up being worth more than the deal.

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ByCarolyn Keane

Early Stage Capital For Entrepreneurs

WHEN:
March 30, 2017 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
WHERE:
Venture Hive
1010 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33132
USA

Most high growth start-ups are fueled by capital – product development, staffing, go-to market. There are many avenues for raising capital and an increasing number of unique investment models available for entrepreneurs to pursue.
Listen to a panel discussion featuring 4 professional investors in early stage businesses. Hear what models they use to invest in, support, and help grow the companies they work with. What financing models and structures are available to entrepreneurs? What criteria to does each investor look for in transaction? What are the best ways to engage with sources of outside capital?

Seating will be limited to 70, so please register early to reserve your spot. Agenda as follows:

  • 6-7pm: Networking
  • 7-8:30pm: Panel discussion/program
    • 7-8pm: Moderator questions for the panel
    • 8-8:30pm: Q&A from the audience
  • 8:30-9pm: Networking
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ByCarolyn Keane

Daymond John: ‘Real entrepreneurs’ will thrive under Trump, despite uncertainty

Daymond John, star of ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” and entrepreneur behind the $6 billion urban street-wear brand FUBU, says that while a lot is changing in America right now under President Donald Trump, the challenge should please any real entrepreneur.

I “know there is a lot of uncertainty out there, but to a true entrepreneur, that doesn’t matter. We have always had uncertainty,” John said at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit Wednesday.

“That’s what an entrepreneur does. They wake up every single day and they deal with adversity.”

Read more:

Daymond John: Real Entrepreneurs will thrive under Trump

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ByCarolyn Keane

From Australia to Germany to Seattle, Applications Are Open for 13 Techstars Accelerator Programs

Are you considering an accelerator or know someone who is? Applications are now open for the Techstars accelerator. Apply now to join the Techstars network with more than 10,000 mentors, investors and founders. Not a founder? Let us know if there is someone we should be talking to. We’ll also hold global info sessions to connect with the best startups and founders in the world. Stay tuned for more details on these events and how you can meet the Techstars teams from different programs. Most applications close April 9th with programs kicking off in July 2017.Are you considering an accelerator or know someone who is? Applications are now open for the Techstars accelerator. Apply now to join the Techstars network with more than 10,000 mentors, investors and founders. Not a founder? Let us know if there is someone we should be talking to. We’ll also hold global info sessions to connect with the best startups and founders in the world. Stay tuned for more details on these events and how you can meet the Techstars teams from different programs. Most applications close April 9th with programs kicking off in July 2017.

 

Techstarts.com/apply

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ByCarolyn Keane

Indiegogo Launches Equity Crowdfunding Platform

Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their startups now have another place to go: Indiegogo.

“Wait,” you may say, “can’t I already use the crowdfunding platform to raise money for my dream product?” That’s right, but today Indiegogo launched an equity crowdfunding service, which utilizes new government rules that took effect in May and allow anyone to invest in startups. Previously, only accredited investors who met certain financial requirements were eligible to back businesses in this manner.

Related: Indiegogo Expanding Beyond Crowdfunding to Be a ‘Springboard’ for Entrepreneurs

“Our mission has always been to make it easier for individuals to raise money for projects they are passionate about, and this is the latest way we’re helping entrepreneurs access the financing they need while also giving backers the chance to invest in new companies,” Indiegogo CEO David Mandelbrot said in a press release. “Since Indiegogo first launched we’ve wanted to offer these sort of investments, and we’re very excited to be officially giving the millions of people who visit our platform every month the chance to get involved with equity crowdfunding opportunities.”

As of today, about $11.7 million had been raised for businesses using equity crowdfunding, according to NextGen Crowdfunding. This count includes three projects that have raised $1,000,000, the maximum amount allowed by law.

Related: 4 Steps to Establishing a Good Business Credit Score

For its new portal, Indiegogo teamed up with MicroVentures, which helps companies raise funds using equity crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding campaigns will be listed on both sites, with transactions made through MicroVentures. Legal documents will also be automated through an online questionnaire for funding-seeking companies through iDisclose.

“It’s great to see an industry leader in the rewards crowdfunding space jump into the equity arena,” says Kendall Almerico, CEO of BankRoll Ventures and an attorney who works with crowdfunding campaigns. “The long-term success of the JOBS Act laws and regulations will be accelerated when people already familiar with pre-purchasing goods on rewards-based sites like Indiegogo move to actually investing in small companies and emerging businesses through equity crowdfunding.”

During a previous interview with Entrepreneur, Mandelbrot said he wants Indiegogo to be a “springboard” for business owners.

Related: 7 Problems Preventing Your Business From Being Profitable

More than $1 billion has been raised from more than 8 million people on Indiegogo, according to a press release. The company says it is “well-positioned” to introduce entrepreneurs and investors to equity crowdfunding. The service is launching with four offerings, according to the release:

  • ArtCraft Entertainment: A game company looking to fund Crowfall, a massively multiplayer game.
  • Play Impossible: A new gaming company “using powerful, miniature sensors to transform athletic balls into game controllers connected to a smartphone.”
  • BeatStars: A music marketplace and distribution company “where more than 350,000 music producers and recording artists collaborate, sell, distribute and share their music worldwide.”
  • Republic Restoratives: A women-owned craft distillery and cocktail bar in the heart of Washington, D.C., that seeks to expand its product lines and distribution market.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/indiegogo-launches-equity-crowdfunding-platform-173000013.html

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