Show me the money…

Over the last few weeks I have been on what some say is an impossible quest.  Raising capital in today’s economy.  The journey is not a new one and the road has many twists and turns.  It’s taken me from the coffee shops of Phoenix, to the islands north of Vancouver and the mountains of Winnipeg.  From Singapore to Europe and back to Arizona again.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJS_zTnUiBc&hl=en&fs=1]

The two projects could not be more different. 

One – a biotech company is pre-revenue with a vision of detecting dread diseases, including cancers, before the disease can spread and harm the ones we love.  SBIR funding and early stage capital has taken them far in the lab, but now to commercialize takes funding from the equity markets or strategic partners if we are to make vision  reality.

The second – a manufacturing company – has product, inventory, a proven system, an experienced sales and management team, AND, best of all, customers. 

In multiple conversations, across multiple continents, in the quest for money, the secret is to find the RIGHT partner and show them the value.  Only then will they ‘show me the money.’

I have not reached the end of the quest yet, but I am learning along the way.  Here are a few of the lessons I have learned:

1.  Be creative – funding streams can come in all forms from traditional lending and equity, to more creative funding streams like loan guarantees and debt conversions.

2.  Be passionate – if you can’t get excited about what your opportunity- how can you get an investor excited?

3.  Be flexible – they have what you need.  You can’t call all the shots.  Know what points you can flex on and those you can’t without jeopardizing the success of the business plan.

4.  Do your homework – not just on the company you are working to build but on the needs of a potential investor.  What do you need and when.  What do they need and when.  Look for strong matches.

5.  Reach out to your network and listen.  You’d be surprised who knows who or who’s done what in the past.  Your network can connect you to the perfect partner if you take the time to listen.

So wish me luck along the journey and stay tuned…

The Economy and Your Economy

When you view the world news on The Economy, its pretty dismal as recounted in the attached report from the Associated Press. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rib6oprOsuo]

The important thing to remember is that WE are the economy. And while the Federal Government, Wall Street, and the Big Banks clean up their act, it will be up to all of us, the entrepreneurs and small business owners to innovate, expand, create jobs, and save jobs.

As I make my way around the valley and talk to companies across the country and around the world. I am seeing some incredible things. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are creating innovative products and services – the kinds that can pull us out of this economy the old fashioned way – with American spirit and entrepreneurial ingenuity.

Here are just a few:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDNW7GzWNXA]

  • Imagine a Convenience Store open 24-7 that has when you need but is totally automated. This video shows the first one in the US. Now there are three and soon to be more. Check out Shop24 and be sure to view the video press releases. This cool technology may be coming to a corner near you some time soon!
  • How about having a guardian angel looking over your company or property with video surveillance and live reporting. That’s what Iveda Solutions is doing. Click their link and see what this cool Arizona company is up to.
  • GangPlank in Chandler in Chandler has created an incredible environment where entrepreneurs can gather for learning, support, and even locate their new business.

So don’t let all the doomsday news from The Economy keep you from being innovative, reaching out, working with others, and continuing to build up Your Economy. The opportunities are out there!

Being in the right place…

250px-Bob_Hope_in_The_Ghost_Breakers_trailerOne of my favorite quotes is from entertainment icon Bob Hope.

The quote is simple: 

“I’ve always been in the right place at the right time..of course I steered myself there.”

Whether you are looking for a new job, building a business, or looking for financing for the business you own, being in the right place can make all the difference.  The right place can be a frame of mind, a networking event, or a new business opportunity.  Steering yourself there starts when you open yourself up to new things, take sage advice when it is offered, leverage your personal relationships, and always extend a helping hand to others.

It has been so rewarding to be out in our community and see so many examples of Arizonans ‘steering themselves there‘.  Friends, old and new, making introductions – offering advice – making time for others – and most of all creating new opportunities. 

The photo in this blog (courtesy of www.wikipedia.org) shows a young Bob Hope in 1940.  That’s right Hope in the Great Depression.  Recently I have heard so many (from the President on down) compare our current economic times to that period in history.  Yes, there are some similarities, but there are also many differences.  In many ways we have contributed to steering ourselves into this mess. And we can steer our way out of it again.   American ingenuity, innovation, our determination to overcome adversity, and our willingness to lend a hand have served us well in pulling through each historical downturn.  There have been a number of booms and busts. Remember the S&L debacle and the Internet bubble bursting.  I sure do!  We recovered then, and we’ll recover now.  So start steering yourself there.  All it takes is a little Hope.

Two Sides – Same Story

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoGYx35ypus]

Louis CK on why we’re amazing…courtesy of YouTube.

I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about what’s wrong with this country. 

  • Our banks are in a mess.
  • We’ve created faulty and misleading financial instruments on Wall Street.
  • We’ve put too much faith in technology and it won’t ‘bail us out’ this time.
  • The Government let this happen – let the government fix it.   
  • America’s lost the will to compete, the ability to lead in manufacturing, the fire to innovate. 

Are you totally depressed yet?  Click here to watch a video for a different perspective on American innovation before  you read on. 

Hopefully you feel a little better now.  It may be a bit irreverent, but then perhaps we have been taking ourselves too seriously.

Last night I had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Lynn Tilton at the AeA meeting in Arizona. 

LYNN TILTON is the CEO of Patriarch Partners, LLC, a firm she founded in 2000 to manage and monetize the distressed portfolios of financial institutions.  Patriarch has since evolved to focus on direct investments in distressed American businesses, managing funds with over $6 billion of equity and secured loan assets.

I did not agree with everything Lynn had to say, but she made some points that I definitively do agree with.  Here are a few views we have in common:

  • Government alone will not be able to spend us out of the current economic situation.  Changes are needed in how we manage markets, how we do business AND how we value it.
  • Small and mid-sized businesses are and will continue to be a key factor in turning things around, putting people to work, and restoring our economic base and through it or tax base. See YourEconomy.org for a better picture of the sizes of businesses that create jobs in your community.
  • It is up to all of us to use our own strengths and talents to affect change and move things forward.  We’ll have to be creative AND flexible.  
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkwSloggR-g&feature=email]

Lynn has a few more resources than I do.  OK, a few billion more.  She used her position to get the word out in a Clarion Call that was published in the NY Times and the Washington Post. Sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Geitner proposing solutions.  She’s speaking out on national media, to small groups and large.  And, agree with  her or not, she is not sitting back and just letting things unfold as they may.

So ask yourself.  What can I do.  Share ideas on this blog?  Start a business?  Support a business that is struggling and help them make it through this – while saving a few jobs in the process? Help someone who needs it to find a job? There are answers all around us.  The trick is finding that one thing we overlooked before and putting it back to work for us in a new way.  We need to use our networks and our contacts.  And most of all, stop listening to the nay say-ers and just get on with it.  

CorePurpose Founder Elected President of the Board of Directors of NSA AZ

Saturday, June 10, 2006,  the membership of the Arizona Chapter of the  National Speakers Association  (NSA-Arizona) inaugurated its 2006/2007 leadership team at NSA’s national headquarters in Tempe.  The new leadership includes:

  • President of the Board of Directors – Joan Koerber-Walker
  • Immediate Past President – Beth Terry
  • President Elect – Alan Rigg
  • Treasurer – Jeffrie Story
  • Secretary – Dave Sherman
  • New Board Members:  Eileen Roth, Larry Colbert, Hilari Weinstein, Deborah Gardner
  • Returning Board Members – John Coe, Joe Hammer, Joe Contrera

“It is an honor and a privilege to represent this great organization” shared Joan Koerber-Walker. “Arizona is home to some of the most successful and talented professional speakers in the world. NSA-Arizona provides a place for us to come together to share, learn, and connect with our fellow speaking professionals. In addition, the presence of so much insight and talent – right here in Arizona – is a great resource that can be tapped by businesses and organizations across the state.”

About NSA-Arizona

NSA-Arizona is the central connection point for the best professional speakers in Arizona.  NSA-Arizona offers its members and its partners the experience of a rich, year-round training program designed to develop powerful, focused, expert speakers who deliver to their niche audiences the best contemporary solutions on a variety of interesting topics, and at a price point for every program budget. NSA-Arizona is an award-winning chapter of the National Speakers Association, with Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE) designations held by nearly a dozen of our current members. Another dozen of our members have earned the coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation. Five of our members are Past National Presidents of NSA. Ours is a sharing chapter with an impressive history.
To learn more about NSA-Arizona and the depth insight and talent available from its membership, visit www.NSA-Arizona.org.