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…

Entrepreneurship Series: Men With Hats

From time to time I write articles about the tenets of good entrepreneurship qualities and guidelines, and this article definitely fits within that category. In teaching entrepreneurship classes, one thing that often is discussed is the need for professionals to wear many hats. This is especially true with start-ups and very early-stage companies. Typically these firms just do not have the resources to attract and compensate a full compliment of…

THE FIVE MOST COMMON MISTAKES MOST STARTUPS MAKE

THE FIVE MOST COMMON MISTAKES MOST STARTUPS MAKE In working with startups and early-stage companies for two decades, there are a few common mistakes I have seen these companies make that can be highly damaging to their chances for success. Statistics show that more than 90% of all startups fail within their first year. While there are many reasons for failure, these common mistakes are heavy contributors to the percentage…

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…

3D Printing Creating Explosive Growth Industry as Applications Multiply – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, June 2, 2014

The 3D printing industry has seen rapid growth, and huge gains in stock values for the industry’s top companies. Companies are increasingly turning to 3D printing for new product development because it saves time and money compared with traditional prototyping methods. Despite the growth so far, the future looks exceptionally bright for this burgeoning industry. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of…

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….

Time Is Right to Be a Socially Responsible Investor – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, March 24, 2014

Many investors seek investment vehicles that reflect their social values. This is true for a sizable segment of the investor population in California, and especially here in Santa Barbara. The challenge has been finding investments that meet the investor’s specific social requirements and that also represent sound investment opportunities for real returns. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is not a new concept. In 1758, the Quaker Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prohibited members from participating in…

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,…