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Endeavor Hosts Retail, Food & Beverage Tour for Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Features Presentations from Top Industry Brands

Endeavor hosted a Retail, Food & Beverage Industry Tour for select entrepreneurs in its network, providing them with a rare look into the operations of  some top global brands in each industry. The two-day tour included a mix […]

November 19th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Entrepreneur Mauricio Hoyos Named a Top “Innovator Under 35″ by MIT Technology Review

Endeavor Entrepreneur Mauricio Hoyos was recently named to MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35 – Colombia” ranking, which recognizes ten local leaders who are finding innovative solutions to regional challenges. As founders of the Colombia-based […]

December 17th, 2013 — by admin

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Keeping your business ahead of the curve: articles worth reading

Reprinted with permission from smallbiztrends.com. See the original post here.

Keeping your small business ahead of the curve in a competitive economy is no easy task. It requires a lot of attention to detail, for example, carefully examining your small business and looking for any areas where efficiency or productivity can be improved. There are lots of ways to stay competitive. Read our roundup for tips and other important news for your small business.

Operations

How to stay ahead of the curve and be successful. To truly stay ahead of the curve, you must do better and be more thorough than everybody else. This usually means putting in more worthwhile effort than your competitors. To accomplish this, you must set your own standards, ones that surpass the norm, find the need that isn’t being met and pursue it, do things better than everybody else and go the extra mile. Finally, do the new and unexpected and do it well. Following these suggestions will help you dominate the field. Open Forum

Why content marketing is still king. Surveys show that content marketing now surpasses all other types of marketing. Content marketing has gained popularity due to its ability to economically bring in meaningful leads in a controlled environment. Entrepreneur

Strategy

Take a close look at your website. Is it designed around one product or service or is it designed to attract customers who will take a look at you and want to be associated with you over a long period of time? The problem with the former is that you will have to find new customers all the time. Instead, help your customers look at how using your product or service will help them expand their business. Small Business Brief

10 secrets of successful leaders. The author quotes Eleanor Roosevelt, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” You have a great idea for a new product. You develope it, set up your small business, line up your financing, market your product and started selling. But how will your organization operate? How will you lead and develop your employees? The article discusses ten ideas gathered from successful leaders that you should consider. Entrepreneur

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Managing stress, achieving success: A great list of recent articles for entrepreneurs

Reprinted with permission from Smallbiztrends.com. See the original post here.

Managing stress in small business is a part of the territory. How stressful is the work environment in your company? And how do you make a difference? What if you ran a small business in need of improvement?Where would you begin to make the necessary changes? Here is a list of resources to get you started.

Management

5 tips to manage your relationship with your boss. Believe it or not, bosses are human beings just like you. Some of them are more difficult to work for than others. You must remember that many of them are under extreme work stress which may affect their disposition. However, being able to establish a good working relationship with your boss will result in increasing your happiness and success at work. The article presents suggestions on how to develop this relationship. Main ST

Stress management key to keeping business (and owner) alive. Owning a small business is bound to create more stress than if you worked for someone else. You work more hours, get less rest, and have many more and different responsibilities. Finding the right balance between work and life is crucial both for you business and for you personally. The article lists suggestions on reducing and controlling stress in your life. To reduce work stress, an effective management structure and finding qualified help are probably the two most effective solutions. Business News Daily

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9 common mistakes tech startups make according to investors at Arabnet

Reprinted from Wamda.com. See the original post here.

By Omar Aysha

Some of the region’s top investors, during their panel discussion at Arabnet Cairo, shared their experiences of the most common mistakes tech startups make:

- Not thinking through the practicalities of executing an idea. Giving even a little thought to possible implementation challenges will save a lot of headaches later on.

- Thinking of the investment process as money only. Founders need to discover what value possible investors will add to the project, as this is at least as important as a cash injection.

- Overlooking the chemistry of the team. How the team, including the investment partners, works together is most important, so make sure visions are shared and everyone involved is a team-player.

- Having a bad or non-existent employee ownership scheme. Greedy founders only shoot themselves in the foot if they’re not willing to share possible future wealth, as employee ownership is a fundamental motivation tool.

- Not having a business plan. Financial plans are always wrong, but that’s no reason not to have them. Writing a financial plan teaches the founders the key financial concepts they will need to know to make their company successful.

- Lacking knowledge about revenue and cost streams. Bad cash flow is the biggest killer of startups, so founders must always be clear where the money is coming in and going out.

- Having founders who are not well-rounded. It’s true that founders’ skill-sets should complement each other, but each founder should have a reasonable working knowledge of all of the core facets of running a business.

- Simply copying an idea that works abroad. The environments are structurally different, so something that works well abroad may not work well in this target market, and vice versa.

- Not thinking big enough. Too often local founders, especially Egyptians, limit their thinking and target market. If a local startup idea works globally, then it must plan to target a global audience at some stage.

The VCs were Ziad Mokhtar,a principal at Ideavelopers; Karim El-Sahy, founder and CEO of Genius Ventures; Gideon Simeloff, head of twofour54 Ibtikar; Feroz Sanaulla, regional director at Intel Capital; and Ahmed El-Alfi, founder and CEO of Sawari Ventures.


Omar Aysha is a former video-game developer, turned IT entrepreneur and writer, who is launching an Egyptian entrepreneurship magazine.

Endeavor Entrepreneur revitalizing film industry in Colombia

The Globe and Mail recently profiled Endeavor Entrepreneur Rodrigo Guerrero Rojas, one of the founders of Dynamo Capital.

In the interview, Rodrigo recalls the moment he was inspired to start his venture, visiting the Cinecitta film studio in Rome as a high school student:

“It was there that it hit me,” he remembers. “I thought, ‘I need to get the gears going to make films in Colombia. I’m going to become a vehicle for this to happen.’ ”

After high school he attended film school in New York, and took jobs in various aspects of filmmaking. Upon returning to Colombia, he found that increased government funding and a new generation of eager filmmakers were set to revitalize the country’s film industry.

“I realized there was an opportunity: to set up a private equity film fund in Colombia, because there was no such thing”, he says.

Along with partners including childhood friend Andi Baiz, Rodrigo found a way to turn films into a viable investment:

Dynamo’s fund is a small part of their investors’ portfolios, but they have positioned themselves as a viable option. They’ve reduced the risk for investors by funding a slate of films, rather than pour investors’ money into one major film production. And, through tax incentive programs, investors get back $40 of every $100 they invest.

“We were coming to [investors] not just with a pitch for a movie, but a business plan for a film in such a way that they could put it against any other investment option they had,” Mr. Guerrero explained.

Today, it remains difficult for Latin American films to gain foreign viewers, but Rodrigo and his partners are determined to find new ways of popularizing their Colombian films at home and abroad:

With film business models and markets constantly undergoing change, he’s embracing the challenge to adapt. Audiences are watching movies more and more via their computers, he notes, while traditional models of distribution for Latin American films are still focused on hitting the theatres. “We are way beyond the big screen,” he said. “I’m more interested in everything else that’s cooking right now, where young people are putting their energy, and where surprises can actually happen.”

The full article can be found here (registration required).

Report from World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan – by Endeavor’s Joanna Harries

By Joanna Harries (International Expansion, Endeavor)

I just returned from the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Economic Growth & Job Creation for the Arab World, held at the Dead Sea, Jordan. I attended thoughtful keynote addresses, and panel debates, but think the jury’s still out on whether the overall tone was one of pessimism or optimism. The topics of Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship certainly highlighted massive challenges for the region, but will they prove insurmountable?

As the forum title suggests, one looming issue overshadowed all conversations: how will the region create enough jobs to absorb the burgeoning young population entering the labor force each year? Exact statistics vary, but approximately 100 million new jobs are needed by 2020. Or, as one gentleman said to stress the urgency, “two million Egyptians enter Cairo each day looking for work that isn’t there.” When translated into growth, collectively the region must grow annual GDP by 7-8%. Tough, when 15% of FDI is being pulled from the region, and some of the largest economies are in transition (Libya now joins Tunisia & Egypt). Couple this with impatient youth (the Yalla Energy!), who want immediate change, not long term plans. Then acknowledge the skill gap between the unemployed, and their potential employers. Employers in the region aren’t big on training, and prefer to bring in expatriate workers to close the gap. Enter entrepreneurship, which can empower youth to create their own jobs.

Sounds deceptively simple, but despite the strong case for unleashing entrepreneurship, the tactics needed to get there require cooperation from multiple stakeholders. Regional governments must lower the cost of failure (e.g. going to jail if a check bounces), and open borders to allow truly regional businesses to scale. Collectively, 350 million consumers represent a huge market opportunity, but in reality, most entrepreneurs stay local and small. An Arab Small Business Act, and the creation of a Ministry for Entrepreneurs, were both suggested as possible solutions to accelerate regional entrepreneurship.

As we know at Endeavor, resources are especially needed to back those entrepreneurs with the ambition and business capability to scale rapidly. Only a few will grow fast enough to deliver substantial new jobs (but then, you only need a handful). Regional funding is certainly available, but criticized for not being leveraged or channeled correctly. Venture capital is still in infancy, and risk aversion is pervasive. As Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa (founder of The 99 Comics) pointed out, “the first due diligence question is often: how much did your father invest?” What about start ups without self-financing options?

MENA is a region of Haves and Have Not’s, a tension that largely contributed to the Arab Spring. As WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab expressed in his opening remarks, “we may be different, but we are interdependent.” If regional cooperation takes root, and new governments can learn the lessons from the uprisings, then I echo what I heard from a 27-year old Tunisian woman in attendance: “We can’t afford to be pessimistic.”

A few other notable quotes…

“The Libyan youth continued to surprise me. When I was pushed to settle, and make concessions, they would not.” – Mahmoud Jibril, Chairman, National Transition Council of Libya

“How do you get the Arab youth from the street into discussions with multiple stakeholders?” – Madeleine K. Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group

“The region needs fewer leaders, and more doers.” – Habib Haddad, CEO, WAMDA

The Special Meeting’s full report can be found here.

Good business is built on good values

By Wempy Dyocta Koto (reprinted from Under30CEO).

When I started my career fifteen years ago at American Express, the New York headquartered company defined pre-requisites to my entry, across the Pacific, at their Sydney operations. These included education levels and grades, language skills, personal qualities, references, perceived competence and an expressed preference for five years of professional experience – which my ‘just had lunch with my mates at the University canteen’ curriculum vitae impossibly could not reflect. Armed with ambition and shifting confidence after three rounds of interrogative interviews, I luckily landed the role that kick-started my five year career at the company.

During my tenure, I met Chief Executive Officers, Harvey Golub and Kenneth Chenault. I also had the fortune to directly report into Mira Mikosic, the company’s inspiring former Vice President of International Brand Advertising and worked within John Steward’s group, American Express’ current Executive Vice President of World Markets for it’s Cards business, whom I’ve shared conversations with at the Australian office, outside the company’s headquarters on Vesey Street in New York as well as recently at a pub in Chelsea, London, on a cold English evening.

In and importantly, out of the office, these American Express leaders are groomed to live ‘the blue box values’.

Beyond their individual smarts, the common thread that binds these American Express leaders is that they individually champion, share and embody the company’s shared cultural norms and principles, as defined within American Express’ Blue Box Values:

Customer Commitment – We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our customers’ lives.

Quality – We provide outstanding products and unsurpassed service that, together, deliver premium value to our customers.

Integrity – We uphold the highest standards of integrity in all of our actions.

Teamwork – We work together, across boundaries, to meet the needs of our customers and to help the company win.

Respect for People – We value our people, encourage their development and reward their performance.

Good Citizenship – We are good citizens in the communities in which we live and work.

A Will to Win – We exhibit a strong will to win in the marketplace and in every aspect of our business.

Personal Accountability – We are personally accountable for delivering on our commitments

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The key to an effective business plan

By Alex Pirouz (reprinted from Under30CEO).

Becoming a business owner for the first time in 1977, Bruce Doyle has now owned and operated 27 businesses, 18 of which were developed from conception. Bruce has streamlined businesses that all perform predictably and profitably without his day-to-day input. He has been ranked “Global Coach of The Year,” “Victorian Coach Of The Year” and Action Coach’s most prestigious award, “Entrepreneur Coach of The Year.”

Along the way there have been many key distinctions and things learned, but one which Bruce regards as the most important is Business Planning.

“The most important thing about doing a business plan is becoming clear on what it will look like when it is finished. Most people don’t have an exit strategy. A lot of business owners don’t have clarity in where they are heading because they don’t know the end step. Included in the business plan should also be a succession plan, over 70% of businesses don’t have this. The main purpose is to have the business plan active and turn it into an action plan by breaking it down to 90-day cycles. Then chunk it down to weeks and then days,” Bruce explains.

How long should a business plan be and what should the business plan be based on?

This all depends on the style of business you are in; if you make it too complex they just don’t get followed. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you that any good business plan should be based around the numbers because at the end of the day the only measure of the success in business is the financials and numbers within it.

In saying that, what are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when writing their business plan?

The biggest mistake is not taking the time to write their business plan in the detail necessary to build the foundation to grow from. It is absolutely catastrophic to go into business without a plan. Loss of money and failure will be evident unless the entrepreneur is very lucky.

The second biggest mistake is not conducting market research before launching their idea. Market research is critical and the more you can do it without getting analysis by paralysis the greater your level of success will be in business.

It is much easier to look for the void in the marketplace and provide a solution then it is to try and come up with a solution that is not relevant or existent.

What can entrepreneurs do to increase their chance of success once they have started their business?

• Have the right team around them
• Hire people who are more skilful than they are
• Focus on their strengths and delegate other duties
• Focus on the business and don’t look at any other opportunities
• Get familiar with the financial aspect of the business

Research every aspect of the business to make sure there is a need for what you’re actually coming up with, and most importantly don’t think every idea is going to be a good one without crunching the numbers.

Doing this will ensure you are able to create a business that has the capacity to be scalable and sale-able, because the ideal outcome for any entrepreneur should be to sell and exit their business.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their revenue. Visit www.ridcadvisory.com.au for more details.

Leadership and success: An interview with John Assaraf

By Alex Pirouz (reprinted from Under30CEO).

As a teenager, John was involved with a negative ‘street’ lifestyle that could’ve easily led to jail or the morgue. In his quest to overcome these challenges, live a purposeful life and become a millionaire he studied brain science and quantum physics – as they relate to achieving success in business and life.

Through consistent focus and application of what he learnt he was featured as one of the experts in the hit film and book The Secret. He is a New York best-selling author and has landed appearances on Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, and many other major media outlets.

In the last 20 years he has built several multimillion dollar businesses, and is the founder of REMAX Indiana, a company that has 1,500 sales associates, who collectively generate $4.5 billion a year in sales.

We interviewed John to find out the importance of leadership within an organization.

Having started and built many multimillion-dollar and a billion-dollar business, how important was it to have the right leadership within your organization?

Having the right leadership is absolutely critical, it is no different to setting off on a military mission. You can have the biggest mission, vision or goal but unless you have the right people to buy into the mission and others who have the specific skills to execute the strategies and tactics you can never really achieve the goal.

People will work 8 hours a day for a job that they love, 12 hours a day for a boss they love and 24 hours for a mission that they buy into.

They say anyone can become a leader. Is it really possible? Aren’t their people who have traits that make them unfit to be a leader?

I personally think that in order to be a leader you must first have the propensity and desire to be a leader. Leadership to me is being able to bring out the best in other people. It’s not telling people what to do its showing people and giving them the opportunity to get it done, this is a skill that as a leader you have or you don’t.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Empathy and compassion; if you can empathise with another person’s emotions and situation and be compassionate in the way you lead, then that to me is most important.

What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Not paying the right people what they are worth.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Hiring and keeping great talent. The market place is very competitive and companies have realised that the biggest assets within a company is human capital, not their product or service. So to find the right people, train them, give them the right roles and responsibilities and compensate them fairly is the biggest challenge most leaders face today.

What are the dangers of having the wrong leaders within an organization?

If you have the wrong people executing the right strategy you will never succeed.

Can someone be a good leader, but not a good manager? Which is better for a company?

I happen to be one of those people, I am a very good leader but not a very good manager. I don’t like to manage processes and systems, I like to inspire and lead people with my vision, behaviours and work ethic. One of the things to recognise is to know what your core strengths, competencies and unique abilities are so you know what type of leader you are.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I read at least a book a week, go to at least four events per year and hire a private consultant to help me grow and develop into a more skilled and powerful individual.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

If you are going into a leadership role for the first time, the first thing you must understand is that people do want to be lead. People don’t want to be lead in a way that causes them to feel badly about themselves, they want to be lead in a way that will enable them to grow, love their role and take full responsibility for their actions and results.

People don’t mind being told when they don’t do something right, but don’t challenge who they are as a person, challenge the job that they did and show them that they are capable of doing better.

The art and science of due diligence

By Andrew Sherman (reprinted from Under30CEO).

Due diligence is not just a process, it is also a reality test — a test of whether the factors driving the deal and making it look attractive to the parties are real or illusory. Due diligence is not a quest to find the deal-breakers but a test of the value proposition underlying the transaction to make sure that the inside of the house is as attractive as the outside. Once the foundation has been dissected, it can either be rebuilt around a deal that makes sense or allow the buyer to walk away and prevent the consummation of a deal that doesn’t make sense.

Overall, the due diligence process, when done properly, can be tedious, frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive. Yet it is a necessary prerequisite to a well-planned acquisition, and it can be quite informative and revealing in its analysis of the target company and its measures of the costs and risks associated with the transaction. Buyers should resist the temptation to conduct a hasty “once over,” either to save costs or to appease the seller. Yet at the same time, they should avoid “due diligence overkill,” keeping in mind that due diligence is not a perfect process and should not be a tedious fishing expedition. Like any audit, a diligence process is designed to answer the important questions, and ensure with reasonable assurance that the seller’s claims about the business are fair and legitimate.

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Why venture capitalists invest in pigs, not chickens

Reprinted from OnStartups.com. See the original post here.

By Jeff Bussgang

The following is a guest post from Jeff Bussgang. Jeff is a serial entrepreneur and currently a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, a Boston-area early-stage venture capital firm. Jeff is also the author of “Mastering The VC Game”.

There is an old parable about the concept of commitment when it comes to breakfast. The story goes that when looking at a plate of the traditional fare of ham and eggs, it’s obvious that the chicken is an interested party, but the pig is truly committed.

When I tell this story to entrepreneurs, my point is usually to contrast the approach VCs have to start-ups as compared to entrepreneurs. The VC is an interested party, but at the end of the day, if their start-ups live or die, they typically still have their job, their office and their portfolio of other investments. The entrepreneur, on the other hand, is the pig – truly committed to the outcome, with no fallback.ham eggs

But lately I’ve been thinking about the parable of the pig and the chicken in the context of the characteristics that make a great entrepreneur – and the kind of entrepreneur that we VCs in general, and my firm Flybridge Capital in particular, like to back. In short, we like to back pigs – entrepreneurs who are truly and completely committed to the outcome of their venture, have a lot of stake, and no fallback.

How do we discern the difference between the two entrepreneurial archetypes? It’s usually relatively easy, but sometimes subtle. Here are a few of the top characteristics we see in entrepreneurs who appear to be exhibiting behavior that suggests they’re more like “chickens” when it comes to their start-up:

1) Prefer to wait to start their venture only after they receive funding (“We are ready to go, as soon as you give us your money.” …um, does that mean you won’t start the company if I don’t give you my money?).

2) Don’t quit their day jobs before receiving funding. (“This has been a side project for a year, and I can’t wait to focus on it full-time” … um, if you can’t wait – why are you waiting?)

3) Don’t physically move themselves or their teammates to be in the same geography when starting their venture (think Eduardo Severin in the Social Network spending his summer in NYC).

4) Prefer to play a hands-off chairman role or look to quickly hire a COO/president in the early days rather than operate as the hands-on CEO/president. (I’ll leave out the numerous examples to protect the innocent, but as a rule of thumb, companies with fewer than 40 employees don’t typically need a COO).

5) Are unwilling to fully leverage their own personal and professional networks to drive recruiting, fundraising and business development.

On the other hand, the top five characteristics we see in “pig” entrepreneurs include:

1) Commit to the new company everything they have – even if that means moving their families, quitting their jobs, or even dropping our of their schools (as much as I don’t want to condone or encourage this!).

2) Put themselves “out there” publicly and visibly with the industry, their relationships, family and friends. If the company is a failure, it will not be a quiet one.

3) Have not yet achieved a mega-success already and/or yet achieved wealth beyond the point of needing to work again. (I remember my mentor and boss at Open Market, CEO Gary Eichhorn, congratulating me when I became a first-time homeowner in the mid-1990s and observed: “I hope you got a large mortgage so that you are locked in and highly motivated to create wealth!”).

4) Participate in a minimal set of outside interests and hobbies that aren’t directly related to their business. Starting a company is a consuming, obsessive, 7×24 endeavor. Raising a family and remaining healthy is enough of a battle. When we see entrepreneurs with long lists of hobbies and outside interests, it’s a red flag. One of my partners went so far as to look up the number of times an entrepreneur played golf one summer (which apparently is public information somehow, although I’m not a golfer so still don’t know how he figured this out) as a barometer for how hard they were applying themselves to their new venture.

5) There exists a rare breed of entrepreneurs that have already had mega-success are so special and driven that they remain obviously hungry and scrappy. For these entrepreneurs, the key is to watch and see if they’re still as hands on as they ever were (e.g., obsessed with the product, knee-deep in the financial model, out in front of the organization in selling). Again, these entrepreneurs are very special.

So what are you – the chicken or the pig? Investors clearly prefer one model over the other, not just in the founder, but in the entire team. As a result, as you are assembling your start-up team, be careful not to hire chickens. In the eyes of prospective investors, you may find it’s even less kosher than hiring pigs.

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