Mentors

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Should I target a niche or go mainstream?

4:45AM | Tuesday, 30 April 2013 | Philip Alexander

In the early stages of running a business, you must be extremely focused on your target audience. Whether you diversify as your grow, however, will depend on market conditions.

Is age a big issue for investors?

12:24PM | Friday, 2 December 2011 | Philip Alexander

Use your youthful passion and drive as an advantage, and reassure potential investors with your willingness to seek counsel from good people around you.

How can I confirm a potential investor’s experience with start-ups?

2:00AM | Monday, 25 February 2013 | Philip Alexander

As with any major recruitment decision, you must perform due diligence on your potential investor.

Which start-ups will attract the big bucks this year?

2:55PM | Tuesday, 5 February 2013 | Philip Alexander

It’s important to remember there are always more good ideas than there are dollars – but there are a few key ways to boost your chances.

How do I get noticed by investors?

11:44PM | Wednesday, 28 November 2012 | Philip Alexander

While media attention will improve your chances with potential investors, be warned that public relations professionals don’t work pro bono.

Is the economy slowing and, if so, how will that affect start-up investment?

11:42PM | Wednesday, 7 November 2012 | Philip Alexander

The reason why some sectors are slowing down – such as retail or print media – is because they’re being challenged by disruptive online start-ups.

As a tech business, should I be looking overseas for finance rather than Australia?

2:02PM | Tuesday, 1 February 2011 | Philip Alexander

While it might feel like Australia suffers from a “conservative” investing culture, the true situation is a little more complex.

Do I need a “big name” on board to get investors?

8:43PM | Monday, 13 August 2012 | Philip Alexander

A high profile name can certainly attract attention from investors. But that will count for nothing if you aren’t doing the basics by building and running a great business.

I know very little about finance or operations. Should I seek a co-founder?

6:24PM | Tuesday, 19 June 2012 | Philip Alexander

If you’re self-aware enough to identify your business blindspots, you’re on the right track to spotting the right co-founder.

A potential investor claims to have overseas contacts. Should I trust them?

6:01PM | Tuesday, 5 June 2012 | Philip Alexander

While I would not go so far as to fly overseas, I most certainly would try to test your investor on their claims.

Are there any issues with having an interstate investor?

5:31PM | Wednesday, 16 May 2012 | Philip Alexander

Cloud computing has made interstate business partnerships technologically possible. However, you need to be careful when managing the human side of your relationship.

My potential investor wants a 90% stake in my start-up

4:48PM | Thursday, 12 April 2012 | Philip Alexander

Your current potential investor is clearly either trying to take advantage of your requirements for capital or has little idea about the issues surrounding founder motivation.

How hands-off is a “hands-off” investor?

2:43AM | Friday, 24 February 2012 | Philip Alexander

Before you sign anything, make sure your investor explains what they mean by “hands-off” in writing.

Is it hard to borrow money from the banks?

1:14PM | Tuesday, 24 January 2012 | Philip Alexander

Generally, major banks do not lend to early stage businesses, but there are other options.

Are there any particular investor questions I should prepare for?

10:13PM | Monday, 24 October 2011 | Philip Alexander

Investors’ potential questions are a good roadmap for how you should present your business opportunity.

I am starting a green tech business but have little experience in the sector. Will investors care?

9:11PM | Wednesday, 21 September 2011 | Philip Alexander

You have identified a critical issue for investors – do they back the jockey or the horse?

How do I value my contribution in a joint venture arrangement?

8:01PM | Thursday, 25 August 2011 | Philip Alexander

The key to any successful JV is ensuring that the partners have an aligned strategy and a clear agreement on roles and responsibilities.

Are there any areas that investors just won’t touch at the moment?

7:13PM | Tuesday, 19 July 2011 | Philip Alexander

Investors in start-ups are wary of risk, uncertainty and slow growth. If your business plan does not answer or solve these issues, you may not attract funding.

How far advanced should my ‘end game’ be when negotiating with an investor?

6:05AM | Tuesday, 21 June 2011 | Philip Alexander

If you are an early stage or high growth company it is very difficult to forecast how and when you will exit the business.

What skills and experience should I be looking for in an advisor?

3:47AM | Friday, 18 March 2011 | Philip Alexander

Your advisory board member should ideally add more than assurances to potential investors. They should also bring connections, customers, industry expertise, and a path to exit.

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