ENTREPRENEURSHIP SERIES: USING REALISTIC ASSUMPTIONS CAN BE TRICKY, BUT VALUABLE

Over the years I have written many business plans and created countless financial forecasts for startups and early-stage companies. One of the most difficult aspects of creating a financial forecast is identifying realistic assumptions. The earlier the stage of development of the company, the more difficult it typically will be to make reasonably accurate assumptions. Depending on the main purpose of the financial forecast, or the business plan that the…

After an Impressive Debut, Arlington Tavern Continues to Impress – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, July 28, 2014

About three years ago, when Diego Barbieri first approached me about writing a business plan for a new restaurant concept he and business partner Ron True were contemplating, I was not sure what to expect. The restaurant business in Santa Barbara is highly competitive, and requires a significant up-front investment to have any chance of success. But the more I spoke with the Arlington Tavern team the more impressed I became with the project,…

Crowdfunding Appears to Have a Bright Future, But It’s Not Ready for Prime Time – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, July 14, 2014

Recently, I began working as interim CFO with two companies to assist them with fundraising. One of the avenues we’re pursuing is a crowdfunding round — an equity round for one company and a convertible note for the other. While there are certainly some positives to crowdfunding as a concept, unfortunately, the current capabilities of crowdfunding companies are strictly limited. As with most startups or early stage companies, the two…

Angel Investors Can Mean the Difference Between Startups’ Success, Failure – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, April 7, 2014

Throughout my 25-year career, I’ve been working with entrepreneurs, with a specific focus on early stage businesses. In that time, the emergence of angel investors as a primary funding source for these companies has changed the landscape for startups. Today, angels serve as more than merely a source of capital, providing advice, guidance, connections, customers, suppliers and sometimes direct management service, in addition to seed capital for early stage businesses….

Santa Barbara Business Expo a Resource Gold Mine for Business Owners – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, March 31, 2014

The Second Annual Santa Barbara Business Expo (SBBE) will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. The 2013 Expo brought in more than 175 attendees, the majority of whom were local business owners. The overall impression expressed by attendees was the high level of professionalism, the warmth and attentiveness they received from the exhibitors, and how much they learned from the speakers….

Clean Business Investment Summit Returns to U.C. Santa Barbara – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, September 9, 2013

The Clean Business Investment Summit (CBIS) returns to UC Santa Barbara’s Corwin Pavilion Center on Thursday for the fifth year. The summit features 14 presenting companies, along with four additional presenters from local colleges and high schools, and a full day of investor round tables, discussion panels on topics of interest for entrepreneurs and investors, and high-profile keynote speakers. Since its inception, the summit has featured more than 575 start-up and growth companies,…

The Essential Elements to a Powerful Business Plan – Published on Nerdwallet.com on Monday, August 12, 2013

First impressions are always important, in every aspect of life and business, but they are absolutely critical when entrepreneurs are seeking funding for a new project.  Often, either due to financial constraints, deadlines, or a lack of understanding of the importance of making a strong first impression, entrepreneurs fail to deliver a powerful business plan to potential investors.  Just as often this oversight results in missed opportunities for funding; opportunities…

Santa Barbara Needs Venture Funding Structure – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, February 18, 2013

All who live in Santa Barbara recognize how unique this community is, and many understand how important entrepreneurial innovations are to our local economy. We have a powerful combination of new ideas from some of the most creative minds in the world along with substantial wealth capable of funding new ventures. Unfortunately, we lack the infrastructure necessary to link ideas with capital. Since 1960, $450 billion has been invested in…

Using reasonable business plan assumptions is critical – Published in the SB News Press in May of 2011

The process of writing a high-quality, effective business plan involves many key steps.  Throughout the process, the writer must make numerous assumptions about the future needs and performance of the company.  Often, business owners feeling optimistic about the prospects for their business, and make optimistic assumptions that may be unrealistic.  Even one unrealistic assumption can stop a potential investor or lender in their tracks, resulting in a lost opportunity for…