Archive for March, 2010

What Health Care Reform?

March 23rd, 2010

 

Okay, so I thought I’d quickly contribute to the already flooded media channels with one more set of comments about the recent Health Care Reform bill that was just signed. I’ve for the most part just stuck my head in the sand while the debate raged on. Why?

Partly because I think the debate is over the wrong thing. This is about insurance reform not health care. If it were about health care we would be discussing ways to change the root causes of poor or failing health and exploring solutions. This hasn’t really been touched, though as Nathaniel Whitmore points out in his blog post via Social Entrepreneurship this is where opportunities abound for entrepreneurs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it isn’t important. It creates the landscape and parameters for businesses and individuals to play within but it is only part of a system and doesn’t strike at vital behaviors-those few things that really move the needle. The hard part about it all is that everybody wants to move the needle a different distance. Talk about market segmentation.

The Startup Visa

March 23rd, 2010

Recently, I’ve been following the development of the Startup Visa in the news. The basis of the Startup Visa is to give green cards to any foreigner who starts up a company in the United States that creates jobs. While there are certainly valid points against some of the technical details about how such a plan is implemented, I’m a big fan of the concept. Now that it has been officially introduced, I’m looking forward to watching it progress and hopefully become reality.

I think we need to find ways to extend the concept of a Startup Visa to benefit all entrepreneurs. Why not create incentives for anyone who has the ideas and willpower to create jobs? Our government needs to focus more energy on creating financial and regulatory benefits for small companies. Here in Arizona, city governments are funding startup seminars and training in hopes of creating new jobs.  Gangplank, a local tech-oriented non-profit, recently announced they were working with Chandler, AZ to expand their workspace in order to attract more businesses and create growth. If only we could allocate more money to similar endeavors I believe we’d see returns many multiples greater than our initial investment.

Interesting…

March 17th, 2010

Interesting… is the most common response I get from people as I describe my business idea. This can mean so many things but mostly I think it means:” I have no response to that..are you kidding? You are crazy but I’d rather avoid an awkward confrontation so I’ll just nod my head until you go away”. Although lately, I have been getting the occassional, “That’s a great idea!” which hopefully means I’m getting better at explaining things.

During a discussion tonight regarding a potential business idea that offers education to potential entrepreneurs the topic of barriers came up. Most people usually have a good idea or two for a business but then never do anything about it or never want to tell anyone. For those that make it past that hurdle then they run into the business plan challenge but most especially Market Analysis. Even business students are taught an overview by most professor or are indoctrinated with marketing how to’s from a corporate mindset and resource view. The bootstrapping entrepreneur is often left to their own devices although there are resources like small business development centers or SCORE chapters they are largely unaware. The really determined ones start calling people, customers, competitors whoever can help them understand what their potential customer wants and why as well as what is missing-where is the opportunity gap?

From there a related issue arises in determining price points and the ROI. Most of the time your company is a substitute for something else or a spend coming from somewhere else-understanding that is the key to making a case for the value proposition you can offer. This leads to the financials which becomes daunting for some because they were never good at math. Besides that it becomes difficult to forecast and plan for all the different expenses. Often times they capture the essentials to their business process but then forget some basics like phone or internet.

The next barrier that pops up is that whole legal paperwork nightmare. Should I create a LLC or a Corporation ? Should it be a S or C Corporation? Should do it in my local state or Nevada? Delaware? (It depends, by the way for those wondering) Where am I going to find a lawyer that I can trust and won’t just hand me a nice leather binder with boilerplate templates?  Then one of the highest hurdles for some is the ability to get the financing they need. Loans? Angels? VC’s? While there are some services like FundingUniverse.com it becomes tough for those without the right connections.

As we looked back at the hurdles on the track meet of entrepreneurship we recalled that one of the most difficult and impactful hurdles was who you were running the race with. Who is on your relay team? When our presenter was asked about resolving that inefficiency in the market he just shook his head and said that it has been a problem forever. What would you say if I said we have the answer to the deepest of dilemmas?

 Interesting…?

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