First impressions, you have heard this before: You only have one chance to make the first impression. Therefore, you need to answer these two questions in a compelling way and this can be challenging:

Who are you?

What do you do?

Therese Samudio has suggestions on how to craft answers to these questions. View Comments

Here is a Quick Guide by Lawrese Brown to address questions such as ‘tell me about you’

Whether it is a job search or an elevator speech you need to be able to address questions such as ‘tell me about yourself, who are you, and what do you do.’ And everyone has different ideas of what makes a great response, however, when we get down to the basics, we realize that there are only few rules to consider:

– It should be short, 30 seconds or less.

– Your skill (or how you benefit a potential employer or a customer) should be clear.

– You should have a goal (or an ask) in mind so you can engage your listener.

Check out Lawrese Brown’s Idealist Career’s website for some suggestions

Small Business (SBA) and Encore Entrepreneurs (AARP)

AARP and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have partnered to host Encore Mentoring events that help Americans over age 50 get real-world information they need to start and grow small businesses. Attendees will get counseling, training and mentoring on how to small business creation. Check out the AARP website for more information.

Kauffman Foundation Sponsored Training

Entrepreneurs and Startups need to be able to be able to quickly and simply explain who they are and what they do in a few sentences.  These few sentences should engage and encourage the listener to want more.  A few of these Wow statements are needed as not one message fits all audiences. Check out the training from the Founders’ school on how to craft these Wow statements.

Crafting your wow statements

Entrepreneurial Selling: What’s Your Story?

Craig Wortmann , University of Chicago, did a series for Kauffman Foundation on crafting your Story and the Power of the Story when selling.  His point is that ‘stories can help you in ways that facts don’t.’  In his videos, he explores why stories are important and how you can use stories to influence others in your selling process. Check out these videos.

Check Out These Videos

Manasota SCORE

Live your dream, Manasota SCORE can help, you don’t have to go it alone. The Manasota Chapter of SCORE covers Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida and has over 60 volunteers locally to assist you with Education and Mentoring on a wide range of business issues. Online Podcast training is available free of charge to support your business development. Manasota SCORE Services include:

– Business Education Workshops and Seminars, examples are:

– Simple Steps for Business Startup – a 5 course series

– Specialized Workshops – Business Planning and Growing Sales using the internet

– For Existing Businesses – Join our Meetup Group – Success Strategies for Business Owners

– Free Business Mentoring (Request a Mentor) and confidential business advice for existing entrepreneurs

– For first time Entrepreneurs, workshops and an assigned mentor to help educate you on the business startup process

Manasota SCORE Online Podcasts can be found on ‘Been There and Done That.’

SCORE Workshops: Simple Steps to Starting Your Business

Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

The Sarasota Chamber of Commerce agrees that starting a business can be challenging. Many questions come up and the Chamber’s website offers a set of steps entitled “Starting your own Business,” under its site’s Business Resource tab to assist and to help Entrepreneurs initiate a successful business start. The site includes:

• Information on how to connect and join the Chamber,
• Links to local contacts or local resources to educate or train, assess your idea as well as to provide business assistance,
• Information on where to find information and data about the local economy, market factors, etc.,
• Help in discovering the right business location, and
• Information-on and access-to the paperwork or government forms you may need to fill out.

Details available on the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s website

Manatee Chamber of Commerce

The Manatee Chamber of Commerce website states that the Chamber ‘is comprised primarily of small businesses and those organizations are the backbone of our society.’ There are links to the paperwork or forms that business need to fill out and information Chamber membership. The Chamber’s website also has information regarding local resources in Manatee County and links to various sites that support business startup or business growth. There is an additional link on the Chamber’s website that contains a check list for businesses that operate from a home.

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance (LWRBA) mission statement is ‘To Connect, Educate, and Strengthen the business community in the Lakewood Ranch Region.’ The LWRBA site contains information on how to join the Alliance and promotes the Alliance membership as a way to connect your business to other businesses and residents in the Lakewood Ranch region. The Alliance holds monthly, quarterly and special events as this is ‘the oldest way to market your business and it’s still the most effective for making long-lasting business relationships.’ Many of these provide training and there is a monthly educational breakfast series. Their website provides a list of their planned events and business tools.

Details are on the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance’s (LWRBA)website:

Business Canvas Tool

The Business Canvas tool provides an ability to create on one page business plan. Without a plan any direction or road will do and without a plan there is less chance of success or an ability to reach you goals. Startups and entrepreneurs need a framework to build and focus their actions on their business. A business plan will be needed if you plan to work with companies for financing and the Business Canvas tool is a quick approach to jump start your business planning process.

There are at least three business plan development approaches, Strategy Canvas (using a SWOT (Strength, weaknesses, external opportunities and threats), a lean business model approach that brings in different aspects to your plan such as competition analysis, and the traditional business approach.  Below are a few links to YouTube videos that provide instructions on what and how to build the Business Plan Canvas for your business.

In addition to the template for the Business Canvas template, there is another automated tool called the Canvanizer. SCORE’s preference in mentoring its clients is to introduce the Entrepreneur to the Canvanizer tools.

This tool allows the user to create post-it notes to populate the sections of the template. At any point the user can share the Business Canvas Plan and the user can also use the features of the Canvanizer to create PowerPoint slides of the plan.

The post-it notes are created and inserted into the plan sections and the notes can be edited or addition post-its notes can be added to sections. You can use different background colors for the post-it notes. I use this as a way to track my plan progress, e.g. green notes are completed content, yellow notes are content that needs review, and red notes need more work or input from others. The colored notes can also makes it easier for multiple people to work on and comment as partners can use different colors for their comments.

What Do Investors Look For When Evaluating a Startup

There is no shortage of startup advice for startups, including thoughts on what investors and loan officers look for when they are making investing and funding decisions.  Basics you should consider when seeking funding include:

  • Know your personal finance history, e.g. your credit score and your credit history and bill payment patterns.
  • Can you articulate clearly what user value the product is brings to the market, the distinction between that and the founding vision and what is your unique advantage.
  • Know your numbers and what you have to have ‘drive’ and focus on to meet your goals.
  • Focusing on business fundamentals, e.g., have a business plan, know who the customer is and what is driving their buying decision, understand even at the earliest stages what is the marketing plan, what is the business sales strategy, and are resources identified for execution.
  • Understand your market and what are your major problems, e.g. who is the competition for example (and not just local for everywhere).

Entrepreneurs and startups typical get funds from these sources:

  • Self-funding
  • Family, Friends or Peers
  • Loans from Financial Institutions or asset equity
  • Crowdfunding and GoFundMe sites, and
  • Through Venture Capital arrangement.

Click here for a discussion on Financing Your Venture with Venture Capital

What is the difference between choosing an Angel and Equity investor?  See the discussion by the Kauffman Foundation about this topic and what you need to consider before you make this decision.

“Invest in yourself” – In the future multiple careers will be commonplace and learning will be continuous. There will be a strong need for workers in the future to be lifelong learners, be adaptable, collaborative thinkers, and able to understand and integrate media literacy skills as technology evolves.

Listening as a Skill

Listening is a key skill for Startups and Entrepreneurs, just as important as who you are and what you do statements. These YouTube video provide you a refresher on listening techniques.

10 Rules for Success from Entrepreneur Malcolm Gladwell’s

Have the Courage to Pursue Your Idea
Believe In Meaningful Work
Distinguish Yourself from Others
Understand the Rules of Business

Try a New Approach
Constantly Revise Your Conclusions
Be Patient
Outwork Others

Resource Map


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