11 Tips for Starting a Conversation With a Potential Investor

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

I landed a short meeting with a potential investor thanks to a warm introduction. Where do I start the conversation?

1. Get to Know Them

Diana GoodwinBefore diving into the details of your business, start with some lighter conversation topics, perhaps by bringing up the person who made the introduction. And let the conversation naturally flow to business talk. The meeting shouldn’t just be about money — it’s important to make sure you get along on a personal level as well.

– Diana GoodwinAquaMobile Swim School

2. Be Clear and Concise

Zachary BurkesLook, we’re all incredibly busy — imagine having people pulling you in every direction to invest in their next great idea. It has to be exhausting. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to be clear, concise and effective in how you communicate your company and product. If you can’t explain your company in 30 seconds, it’s either too complex or you don’t understand it well enough.

– Zachary BurkesGatekeeper Innovation Inc.

3. Start With Background

Mark CenicolaThe first step is getting to know each other. Find out as much about the investor’s background as possible and provide them with your background. Keep in mind that an investment doesn’t happen in a single meeting. Finding common ground can create mutual trust, create a basis for an ongoing relationship and ultimately lead to an investment.

– Mark CenicolaBannerView.com

4. Sell Your Method, Not Your Product

Murray NewlandsTell the investor how big the market is and how much money they are going to make from investing in your company that is inevitably going to succeed. Far to many founders start with demonstrating the product and talking about functionality without selling the problem and the business case first. If there is no problem or business case, it doesn’t matter how great your product is.

– Murray NewlandsDue.com

5. Ask Questions to Build Trust

Joseph WallaYou’re either raising or you’re not raising. And unless you’re having five investor meetings a day for weeks on end, you’re probably not raising. In this case you should use the meeting as an opportunity to build the relationship without indicating that you want money. Ask the investorsquestions to qualify them. Building trust in a genuine way is priceless, so take advantage of the not-raising mindset.

– Joseph WallaHelloSign

6. Discuss the Person Who Made the Introduction

Jason LaYou should start the conversation by talking about how you know the person who made the introduction, including why the person thought you and the investor should meet. You want to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework by displaying knowledge of the investor’s past projects. The next step is to present your pitch. Investors are busy, so don’t waste time.

Jason LaMerchant Service Group, LLC

7. Find Out What Caught Their Eye

David CiccarelliInvestors hear about thousands of ideas each year and sit through hundreds of pitches; they’ve seen it all. The fact that you’ve landed an in-person meeting means that you are doing something new or have a unique approach. Find out what that is. I’d open the meeting with, “Before we get started, can I ask what specifically caught your eye?” That becomes your hook for future meetings.

– David CiccarelliVoices.com

8. Ask Questions About Past Investments

Jayna CookeIt is so important to understand what the potential investor is looking to invest in. Ask them questions about their past investments that have done really well. Find a way to compare yourself and your ideas with them. Take this as a launching point and have your deck ready with information that you know they will want to talk about.

– Jayna CookeEVENTup

9. Build Rapport

Joshua LeeStart by building rapport. They’re already warm to you so let them get to know who you are and what you’re about outside of your company. Investors want to know your character and a big part of that is what you stand for outside the business arena. They’re looking to reduce risk. Knowing the reason you’ll fight so hard for your business and your big “why” signals to them how serious you are.

– Joshua LeeStandOut Authority

10. Find Common Ground

Christopher KellyFind some common ground and keep the conversation lighthearted before diving into business. After you have established a personal connection, the investor is more apt to help you. This help could come in the form of honest feedback, connections, added time or maybe even funding.

– Christopher KellyConvene

11. Be Prepared

Alfredo AtanacioBecause investors have limited time, you need to be prepared with a pitch that explains your business or idea in 30 seconds. You need to show the value you will deliver to the market and how the investor will get his money back. Remember that the meeting is not about you; it’s about the investor and what can you offer them.

– Alfredo AtanacioUassist.ME

10 Signs Your Are Relying Too Heavily on Technology to Run Your Business

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

At what point are you relying too much on technology to run your business? Why?

1. When Automation Replaces Personal Interaction

Shawn PoratIf all or most of your communication with customers and prospects consists of automated messages, you are missing out on the chance to connect with people in a more direct manner. Smaller companies in particular should take the time to answer social media comments and emails personally whenever possible, especially regarding specific comments, questions and inquiries.

– Shawn PoratFortune Cookie Advertising

2. When No One Has Work if the Internet Goes Down

john ramptonWhen the Internet goes down and you have 100 people in your office doing nothing but twiddling their thumbs, this is a problem. People should know that they can still get some of their job done, have leads to call, etc.

– John RamptonDue


3. When You Begin to Lose Business

Nicole MunozOccasionally, a client will contact us with a confusing issue. They switched to online services and lost a lot of business. Simply, online marketing means you’ve moved to a digital format, not that you can take the human element out of your operations. You’ll need to invest in educating customers on the new way to work with you, especially if it’s an older customer base.

– Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

4. When You Don’t Understand Your Business

Adam Roozen“Too much” technology is not inherently a bad thing. It’s possible that your business can be fully automated and you can disappear. The risk comes in when you no longer understand your business because the technology is beyond your understanding. Without understanding, you don’t have control. Without control, you can’t mitigate risk.

– Adam RoozenEchidna, Inc.

5. When it Replaces Higher Level Decision Making

Randy RayessMany times technology and data allow us to make smarter decisions and can be very useful. However, there are still many higher level decisions that we have to make based on intuition and experience that will allow us to innovate and be creative.

– Randy RayessVenturePact


6. When You Don’t Talk to People to Sell Your Service

Andy KaruzaToo many entrepreneurs are trying to automate lead generation through CPC advertising. However, the best and most proven way of closing the deal will always be talking to people directly. This will not only create a better connection with your customer, but it will allow you to walk them through the solution and answer any objections.

– Andy KaruzaSpotSurvey

7. When You Can’t Remember Meeting Your Last Client

Nicolas GremionFor those of us that live online, it’s not often you get to meet clients or business associates in person. And while a lot can be said and done via email or even video chat, it’s not always the same. So try to get out to the odd industry event, conference or even try to get together with some clients from time to time. It will can be refreshing, inspiring and beneficial.

– Nicolas GremionFree-eBooks.net

8. When Buying New Tech Becomes the Answer to Every Problem

Manpreet SinghAdopting new tech is costly; it drains productivity as teams retrain. So, if you’re the early adopter with all the latest tech solutions (to problems you discovered during a sales pitch) like a kid watching too much TV, you may lack imagination for problem solving. Low ROI, team management, inefficiencies, CRM: there’s an app for all of that and more, but they aren’t always the answer.

– Manpreet SinghTalkLocal

9. When You’re Messaging a Colleague Right Next to You

Kofi KankamWhen you’re sitting three feet or a cubicle over from one of your colleagues who is not in a meeting and you decide to use a messaging platform to ask a quick question or have a 15-second dialogue, you know technology has taken over your business by eroding face-to-face interaction.

– Kofi KankamAdmit.me

10. When You Start to Misuse It

Thomas MinieriTechnology is about one thing: speed! Modern business moves at the speed of light. So the question is: what are you trying to make faster? If you use technology to connect with and service customers faster, then you can’t have enough of it. If you use technology to replace connecting with and servicing customers, then you’re going to have problems.

– Thomas MinieriPlanet Ballroom International, Inc.

11 Ways to Handle Objections When Selling Your Product

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

How do you handle objections during the sales process?

1. Stay Positive and Focus on Your Strengths

When discussing capabilities and differences with clients about competitors, always highlight the competitive advantages and increased capabilities of what your company offers. If your focus is degrading your competitors, it comes across as petty and focuses the client on the wrong brand, partner and service provider.

– Parker PowersBig Brand Media

2. Explain That You’re the Expert

It happens often; a client doesn’t want to sign on for a marketing service that I know they need. When this happens, I make sure to fully establish that they are the fill-in-the-blank expert, but I’m the marketing expert. I know what I’m doing, I know what works and I am going to be honest about that. I’m not selling frisbees here — I’m selling services that get leads.

– Maren HoganRed Branch Media

3. Pause, Listen and Address

Naturally, hearing “no” can induce anxiety. Personally, I pause to ensure I provide a composed reaction. But before I do that, I also listen carefully to what the prospective customer is genuinely hesitant about. In many cases, they are not upfront with their true reservations. After digging deeper and identifying the real underlying problems, I address each and every one honestly and openly.

– Firas KittanehAmerisleep

4. Discuss Specific Cases

During a sales call or meeting, the potential client might disagree with an idea or method of doing things. I like to bring up facts to support my team’s methods. Talk about how you’ve helped past clients in a way that relates to them. If they still object, take a moment to listen to their reasons. It’s better to keep the relationship solid than to force something upon your potential client.

– Michael QuinnYellow Bridge Interactive

5. Build Crediblity by Telling Prospects Not to Hire You

To build trust with a prospect, simply state that you may not be the right partner for them. Provide suggestions for other types of services they can hire instead. This way you’re still providing value even if you don’t end up working with them. Most prospects will be surprised at this answer and will genuinely come to trust your organization. This will help possibly land the sale either now or in the future.

– Brian HonigmanBrianHonigman.com

6. Identify the Nature of Their Objections and Respond Accordingly

First, I try to determine if the person I’m talking to is really a qualified prospect. If the person objects because they really aren’t a good match for what I’m selling, I acknowledge this and politely end the discussion. On the other hand, if the objection is due to a misunderstanding, I try to supply the missing information that will help them understand what I have to offer.

– Shawn PoratFortune Cookie Advertising

7. Prepare Answers

Most objections you encounter are the same: it’s too expensive, now is not a good time, etc. Prepare for them by coming up with succinct answers (1-3 sentences). When the client brings up that objection, you can respond promptly without having to mentally compute your answer. Embrace objections. They move the sales process forward and help you better understand the prospect.

– Steli EftiClose.io

8. Find the Real Reason for the Objection

A customer will often give you two reasons for an objection: the reason that sounds good and the real reason. Most people dance with the first. The key is to listen and ask guided questions to help understand the real reason they are reluctant to move forward. Perhaps it’s something you can address and help them understand for themselves.

– Andrew ThomasSkyBell Technologies, Inc.

9. Be Proactive

The truth is we likely know what the objections or challenges will be if we have done our homework. Rather than exclusively selling with the positive, I address these possible objections head-on. It shows I’m paying attention and truly want more than their business — I want a relationship. On their end, it builds trust and allows them to be open to other concerns.

– Suzanne SmithSocial Impact Architects

10. (Re)connect With Success Metrics

If someone is unsure at the end of a sales call, I like to ask, “What results would you need to achieve from our engagement to make it a priceless, grand slam investment?” That question directly connects them to what might make the financial commitment worth it, and has a great secondary benefit: it will help us get crystal clear on exactly how to proceed if/when they do enroll.

– Jenny BlakeJenny Blake

11. Sell Your Knowledge, Not Your Product

Personalize your sales pitch using your potential customer’s concerns as a refining tool. Listen to what they are saying and acknowledge that they have a legitimate concern by repeating it back to them. This may feel strange at first, but studies show that hearing someone else say a problem aloud conveys a sense of understanding. Finally, tailor a solution to the specific situation.

– Simon CasutoeLearning Mind

The Top Qualities to Look for in Your Very First Hire

Your company is up and running – or at least crawling – and now you get to hire your first employee. You’ve probably worked with a lot of people, maybe you’ve even hired a few, but this is a whole new ball game. This person is patient zero of your startup. You need to make sure you get it right! So what should your startup look for in a great hire?

What is the no. 1 quality I should look for in my very first hire and why?

Kelly Azevedo1. Amazing Communication Skills

No matter your industry or the position for your very first hire, you absolutely need someone who can communicate well. When instructions are unclear or incomplete, you’ll want an employee who asks for clarification. If there’s an error or you haven’t accounted for something in the business, you need a team member who speaks up with confidence. And if this hire is customer facing in any way, respectful communication is critical.

– Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

Phil Chen

2. Work Ethic
Your first hire sets the tone for future hires, so it’s important to find someone with a great work ethic. Having such a quality ensures you can depend on this person and he or she will not need constant encouragement to complete tasks and duties. Small organizations don’t allow to much time for continual guidance, so having an employee who works hard and pushes through is key.

– Phil ChenSystems Watch

Oisin Hanrahan

3. Smarts (That Exceed Your Own)

We have the motto at Handybook: “Recruit smarter than you.”  We believe in hiring the best and the brightest and we admit what we don’t know all. That’s crucial for both the first hire and every hire after that.

Oisin HanrahanHandybook

Mike McGee

4. A Growth Mindset

The No. 1 quality I look for when hiring is someone with a growth mindset. A person with a growth mindset understands that learning never stops. They can always get better at their craft and improve in other areas. A person with a fixed mindset believes that they’ve learned everything they need to and is not open to change. This can not only hamper the quality of their work, but can cause team dynamic issues in the long term.

– Mike McGeeThe Starter League

5. Coachable Foresight

Joshua Lee
The No. 1 quality I look for is ‘coachable foresight,’ whether I’m hiring an employee or contractor. I want them to be able to see where they’re going. I will share with them where the company’s going. Then, if they have foresight, they’ll see in their mind’s eye how they fit in. They’ll have an idea what steps they need to take and be coachable enough to achieve the outcome they want.

– Joshua LeeStandOut Authority

Kim Kaupe
6. Humility

Your first hire should be humble and willing to learn along side of you. At a startup where dynamics and work is changing day to day, it is important to have someone who is humble enough to say, “I don’t know the answer but I will spend the next two hours figuring it out.” Having a know-it-all or someone who is bullheaded will cause your growing company to miss out on opportunities to engage in faster, stronger and bigger developments.

– Kim KaupeZinePak

Kevin Xu7. Consistency

One of the most important characteristics for me is consistency. It is important to evaluate a person’s working ethic based on how much he respects and is serious about a job opportunity. Choosing between ability and faith, I will first look into faith and how you can retain the person by giving him faith in you.

– Kevin XuMebo international

john rampton8. A Complementary Skill Set

hire someone just like you because you get along perfectly. Hire someone who is different than you. If you’re an introvert, you will need an extrovert. If you’re a marketing guy, hire a programmer. Hire someone with different skills.

– John RamptonAdogy

Manpreet Singh9. Complete the Puzzle

First, picture the qualities most important to  your business. Then, look for each of those qualities in yourself. If you’re being honest, you won’t find all of them. The missing ones are the qualities you should look for in your first hire. In fact, that same principle can be applied to every other hire after that. The hiring process is like completing the puzzle you envision. Fill openings with what’s missing.

– Manpreet SinghSeva Call

Phil Dumontet

10. Hunger

People can learn your business, but a genuine drive to achieve great things comes from within.

– Phil DumontetDASHED


Jeff Mcgregor
11. Experience

My co-founder and I burned a lot of valuable time trying to learn the ropes on our own. Once we started hiring more experienced talent, we realized that we were spending less time shooting in the dark, and more time building a stronger healthier business. If there’s one thing that allows me to sleep better at night, it’s knowing I’ve hired the right people to run their respective divisions within the company.

– Jeff McGregorDash

Andrew Thomas12. Passion

For your first hire, consider hiring someone who has similar levels of passion. This is not just limited to the product or industry. This person should share your same passion for working hard, creating something amazing and delivering the very best experience or benefits to customers. They should share a passion for the process, not just the destination.

– Andrew ThomasSkyBell Technologies, Inc.

David Ehrenberg13. Sales Skills

Look for a rainmaker who can sell your company’s vision when you’re looking to build traction and start generating users. Technical skills will always be available, but sales and relationship-building skills are much tougher to find.

– David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

Andrew Schrage14. Flexibility

Things often change at a moment’s notice in today’s business world. Plus, the very first hire will probably be asked to complete many different responsibilities and tasks, some of which they might not possess much knowledge about. In order to be productive, workers must be able to adapt to change rapidly and think quickly on their feet.

– Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

Step Back to Move Forward

It’s a difficult notion to comprehend, and an even harder realization to experience at a personal level: sometimes, the path to progress requires us to pause, assess the path we’re on, and decide that the best move forward might be an entirely new one. StepBackMoveForward

And when we’re pushing in multiple directions at once, the knowledge gained from stepping back for a second can prove invaluable.

I have some exciting news for you today, Verge nation!

After 9 months as your executive director, I and the Verge team have learned a lot. After adding a few key contributors, and once Matt jumped back into Verge activities more extensively a few months ago, we’ve seen tons of forward progress. It’s shown us that the most exciting path forward is a wide one, and will require many hands.

I’m thrilled to announce that Verge will continue to move forward by growing our team, and that I’m taking on a new role with the team.

Matt Hunckler will focus on some exciting new initiatives and supporting our Verge Hubs in other cities. Tim Hickle will continue to help us create online content (and will be on stage more, too). And several other members of our community are stepping into new Verge roles.

And we’re hiring! If you know of a Project Manager-type who would be interested in joining the Verge team as our full-time Operations lead, drop me or Matt a line.

Ohanian Synnestvedt HuncklerStepping back and finding new ways to approach opportunities has yielded improved strategies and tools for the Verge team to provide the most value we can to you, the community we care so deeply about. And, by stepping back, I’ve found something of a new path of my own, too.

In addition to continuing my work with Verge in an editor and volunteer capacity, I’m:

  • Building a solution for autism therapy I hope to tell you more about from the Verge stage soon
  • Working with awesome clients to launch products and market online
  • Looking for my next adventure in marketing and sales

So, it’s with immense gratitude that I would like to thank you for being a member of our amazing community, and for allowing me to serve as your executive director for this past year. You’ll continue to see posts and updates from me here, I’ll continue to help you and Verge however I can, and together, we’ll keep moving forward!

Synnestvedt Verge Team

14 Things We’d Tell Our Younger Selves About Entrepreneurship Today

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

If you could tell yourself one thing before you started your business, what would you say?

Charles Gaudet1. Spend 80 Percent of Time Working on Your Business

Most people spend 80 percent of their time taking care of the everyday operational activities in their business, but growth happens during the other 20 percent of the time you’re working on your business. In order to dominate your market, the roles must be reversed. You must spend 80 percent of the time working on your business and 20 percent working in your business. Build a team to support that action.
Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

Phil Chen2. Remember That You’re Not Always Right

By nature, starting a business means you feel you have the right answers to bring a product or service people will want to market. Otherwise, you would never attempt such a big endeavor. It’s critical, however, to understand that you are more often wrong than right in your business decisions, and identifying and adapting quickly to being wrong will increase your odds of success.
Phil Chen, Givit

Divya Dhar3. Think About Meals

It’s crucial to have team members who are not only exceptionally smart at what they do, but who are also very easy and fun to work with. You should ask yourself, “Can I have a drink or meal with this person on a regular basis and still find the conversation riveting?” You will spend a lot of time with these people, so you want them to be your friends.
Divya Dhar, Seratis

Nicolas Gremion4. Hang Tough

When starting out, people are usually tremendously excited about their prospects. But excitement often turns to despair if expectations of early success were exaggerated. Remember, the road to prosperity is often a winding one. Perseverance is key, and you should never to lose your passion.
Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net


Natalie McNeil5. Trust Your Intuition

When you start your first business, it’s easy to feel like everyone knows so much more than you do — especially your advisors and mentors. It’s true that a great advisory board or a few amazing mentors can take you far, but you still need to trust your gut. There were times when I ignored my gut feeling and opted to listen to those with more experience than I had, and it never ended well.
Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

Dan Price6. Stay True to Your Culture

Stay as true to your core values and culture as you possibly can. Make sure that hiring and promoting happen internally as much as possible.
Dan Price, Gravity Payments


Marjorie Adams7. Write It Down

Document everything. Take 10 or 15 minutes to record a video or do a write-up, so when someone else needs to do it again, you have the directions. This provides the thing that the majority of employees request more of when surveyed — training.
Marjorie Adams, AQB


Amanda Barbara8. Form a Strong Focus and Plan

Make sure you have a clear business plan and goals you want to achieve each year. Have a strong focus and a plan that forecasts how you plan to grow. It’s okay to evolve as you learn, but know who your audience is and what the needs are in the industry.
Amanda Barbara, Pubslush


Sean Marszalek9. Don’t Let the ‘Nos’ Break You

Everything begins with “no.” To me, that’s when the game begins. In the beginning, all you hear from potential investors and clients is “no.” Don’t let the “nos” break you down; let them motivate you to succeed.
Sean Marszalek, SDC Nutrition, Inc.


Tarek Pertew10. Have Patience

Have the patience to see your vision through. Too often, people react negatively to early signals. If you stay in the game long enough, you’ll learn so many things and meet so many people that it services as a growing hedge against failure.
Tarek Pertew, Wakefield Media


Chris Cancialosi11. Make the Leap

To grow in a sustainable way, you have to be willing and able to give up doing the work yourself to spend time and energy growing your company. Thankfully, this came naturally to me, and the transition was smooth. I know a lot of people who started a business because they loved doing the work and failed to make the leap to leader because they couldn’t give up the technical work.
Chris Cancialosi, GothamCulture

Aron Schoenfeld12. Life Happens

Building a business is hard work and people often forget that there is a real world outside of their startup. Make sure to take advantage of life and the opportunities it presents, both good and bad. Allow life to happen and don’t try to be all work all the time. Enjoy your friends, family and everything that is thrown at you. It will make you a better person and help you in the long run.
Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC

Ryan-Stoner13. Slice Goals to Achieve ‘Wins’

You have to manufacture wins and set achievable goals to move forward. Every project in a startup should take no more than six to 10 weeks. First, focus on small wins and breaking down your goals. By having small goals and stringing them together, you create momentum. Small wins lead to bigger wins. In my experience, startups are successful because of a long string of small wins.
Ryan Stoner, ryanstoner.com

allie siarto14. Prepare for the Worst and the Best

It’s hard to imagine exactly what will happen with your company when you’re just getting started, but it’s important to invest the time up front and go through various scenarios around the future of your company — especially if you have partners. Write out a plan together for how you will handle worst- and best-case scenarios. For example, what happens if someone wants to buy your company some day?
Allie Siarto, Fare Oak

The Music Marketing and Technology Festival that isn’t for Jerks

If you’re familiar with the Indiana technology and marketing crowd,  you may already know Douglas Karr. He’s worked for over a decade in  Indianapolis to drive innovation and growth through the doors of some of Indy’s most exciting startups.

For those who haven’t met Doug, well, he’s outspoken. And his voice carries. He’s been called arrogant and a jerk before, especially the occasional target of one of Doug’s spectacularly sarcastic tweets or Facebook debates.

But for those of us that do know him, he’s humorous, kind-hearted and has helped many individuals find employment, many companies find customers, many technologists find solutions and he continues to open his door to anyone in need.

Case in point is the upcoming Music Marketing Tech Midwest (MTMW) event that Doug is leading.


Musicians, Marketers and Technologists Rally for Blood Cancers

What is #MTMW? Well, in a nutshell – it’s a music and technology festival with a charitable twist.

This musical and tech jamboree will mesh together live music performed by today’s hottest local bands, duets and singers (Kaleidostars, Bleedingkeys and The Whipstitch Sallies), while showcasing the city’s most promising marketing and technology companies.

It’s even rallied support from PERQ, Right On Interactive, Digital Relevance,  TechPoint,  Angies List and Tinder Box. Packed with all the essentials every memorable party requires, hundreds of Hoosiers will drink, eat and dance to the groovin’ musical styles of small town favorite bands. And it’s all happening on Sunday, April 27 at The Rathskeller.

And every dollar raised from ticketing, sponsorships, sales and donations will go directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Indiana to support blood cancer research.Leukemia Lymphonma Society

You see, our city possesses this amazing relentless ability to create change in society. Sometimes it takes just one man (maybe Doug Karr) to put a little plan into action. And since Doug has spent years examining the drive and potential Indianapolis possesses, he wanted to create a city-wide movement towards forever impacting the way blood cancer is viewed.

He doesn’t seem like a jerk now, right?

So, unless you’ve worked or partied with Douglas, you probably don’t know him. It’s time to party with Douglas. And there’s no better place to do that than at #MTMW.

Because when you support MTMW, you’re not just supporting Doug. And you’re not just supporting the Indianapolis Music, Technology and Marketing communities, too. When you support MTMW, you support Hoosiers in need – which means you’re not a jerk, either.

Eager to get involved with #MTMW? For up-to-the-minute updates on MTinMW, like the event on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.


12 of the Most Powerful Questions You Can Ask a Mentor

We all need mentors in order to be successful, but how can you make the most of that relationship and make sure the setup is fulfilling for your mentor as well? Today, we invited in our friends from the Young Entrepreneur Council to answer one question:

What’s the most valuable question you could ask a mentor?

Reid Carr1. How Would You Like Me to Follow Up?

A lot of mentors want to know they made a difference. They want to know what you did as a result of the conversation you had with them — even if you didn’t take their advice. They want to know that their time was well-spent and they are making a difference.
Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive


Kristopher Jones2. Why Do You Do What You Do?

Ask your mentor why he does what he does. Successful people often have very strong reasons for why they do what they do. If you can identify why you want to do something, the “what to do” and “how to get there” will often come much more naturally.
Kristopher Jones, ReferLocal.com


David Ehrenberg3. What Mistakes Have You Made?

Everyone makes mistakes. The mentor who willingly owns up to these mistakes and helps you to avoid making the same ones, is a valuable resource and ally. The openness to share mistakes is a good sign that your mentor is candid, will look out for your best interests, and is invested in your future success.
David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services


Emily Eldridge4. What Factors Do You Consider Most Often When Planning for the Future?

This can be situated as a short- or long-term question, but it gives you the opportunity to discuss everything from his core beliefs to problems that need solving to what to learn. While your mentor isn’t a fortune teller, this discussion serves as a catalyst for many ways for you to develop.
Emily Eldridge Holdman, PeopleKit


Divya Dhar5. How Do You Spend Your Time?

Time is — in a way — the most precious commodity. Understanding how to make the most effective use of time is crucial. Often, the most successful people have figured this out, and it’s worth asking them where they spend their time and how they feel it benefits them.
Divya Dhar, Seratis


Parker Powers6. What One Thing Do You Still Struggle With?

What is the one mistake, habit or pattern that you still haven’t overcome after years of business?
Parker Powers, Millionaire Network



Natalie McNeil7. What’s One Thing You Would’ve Done Differently?

I think most people say, “I have no regrets,” but really, there are things they would certainly do differently if they had a time machine. I like hearing what my mentors wish they did differently and what mistakes held them back so that I can learn from those.
Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World


Derek Flanzraich8. What Do You Mean?

Mentors usually don’t want to be revered; they want to help. So, pretending you know everything they’re talking about is a big mistake. Often, you genuinely don’t, so don’t be afraid to ask. They’ll respect you more, and, of course, you’ll probably learn something, too.
Derek Flanzraich, Greatist


Mary Ray9. What Are You Trying to Accomplish This Quarter?

This question invites a wealth of short-term and long-term opportunities for you to learn and do a few things. It helps you understand how your mentor tends to problem solve, enables your mentor to see you in a new light as a resource to help and gives you a chance to deepen your experience in an industry of interest. Consider any question you ask your mentor a two-way street of opportunity.
Mary Ray, MyHealthTeams

Robert de Los Santos10. What Would You Do if You Were Me?

The biggest question to ask is what they think you should do. Explain what position you are in, and leave out all the fluff about how awesome you are. Make sure they have a true understanding of your business and look them dead in the eyes with open ears. If they think you’re serious and actually looking to act on their advice, they will usually give you the best advice.
Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals

Charles Gaudet11. What’s One Question You Wish You Asked Earlier?

Peak Performance coach Tony Robbins once told me that the difference between success and failure is much smaller than most people think. The key is to uncover the subtle distinctions that separate those who have from those who don’t. So, I’d ask the question, “What’s one question you wish you asked someone but didn’t?” This may help expose what your mentor felt was most important to him.
Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

Aron Schoenfeld12. What Can I Do Better?

Too often, people rely on their mentors for specific situations or how to handle a particular issue. Mentors are there to help guide you as a person and help you grow bigger and better than you currently are. Ask the hard questions such as, “How can I improve?” or “What do I do now that I can and should do better?” Use them to guide you all the time — not simply when an issue arises.
Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC

9 Books to Read Before a Fundraising Round

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

What is one great book I should read to learn everything that I need to learn about raising capital for my startup?

David Ehrenberg1. Inside Silicon Valley

Reading “Inside Silicon Valley” will give you real insight into how VC deals get done. Written by Marc Phillips, Managing Partner of the Silicon Valley-based VC firm Arafura Ventures, this book walks you through a slide-by-slide approach to developing and delivering a successful pitch deck, from crafting your positioning line to pulling together your financials. We consider this one of our bibles of fundraising.
David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

Bhavin Parikh2. Venture Deals

The book “Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist” covers raising capital from A to Z. Brad Feld, a prominent founder-friendly VC, does a deep dive into the different types of capital (e.g., angel, venture), how venture firms work, what terms are actually important, how to negotiate and much more. I wish I would have had this book when we raised funding; I’ll reference it if we raise capital in the future.
Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

Brett Farmiloe3. Starting Something

In his book “Starting Something: An Entrepreneur’s Tale of Control, Confrontation and Corporate Culture,” Wayne McVicker gets very real about Neoforma, a software firm he co-founded that accidentally became a dotcom darling and eventually a public company. It’s not a book that covers the ins and outs of raising capital; it is more about the cautions of what can happen when that capital is raised. A must-read for all entrepreneurs.
Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

Matt ehrlichman4. Pitch Anything

A poorly executed pitch can really put a damper on your efforts to secure funding. he book “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal” by Oren Klaff contains simple and actionable advice that will help you sell the value of your product or business idea effortlessly to anyone.
Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

Danny Boice5. The Startup Game

I would start by reading “The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs” by William H. Draper III. It gives you a nice foundational lesson in the mechanics, dynamics and compensation of VC firms and funds. It’s critically important that entrepreneurs understand these factors so they can understand the motives and desires of angels and VCs. This book will answer questions like: “What is an LP?,” “What is a GP?” and “How do funds work?”.
Danny Boice, Speek

Nicolas Gremion6. Raising Capital

Gone are the days when VC groups pour millions into every next big thing. Competition is fierce, and only the most viable businesses with expert fundraising will reap the capital necessary to drive continuous growth. Read “Raising Capital: Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business” by Andrew J. Sherman.
Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

peter minton7. What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know

Written by Brian Cohen, Chairman of the New York Angels, early investor in Pinterest and current cofounder of Launch.It, the book “What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know” gives great insight and concrete advice to startup founders on how to find an angel that is a good match for their company, how angel investors view the investing process (and thus how they should be approached) and what sort of investors are best avoided.
Peter Minton, Minton Law Group, P.C.

Marcos Cordero8. How to Win Friends and Influence People

This classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie has been around for years, but the ability to cultivate relationships is just as important today. Investors give capital to people they know or that come highly recommended. Of course, the substance has to be there, but all else being equal, people prefer to do business with people they like. Nurturing a strong network of people is key to raising capital.
Marcos Cordero, GradSave, LLC

Anthony Saladino9. Zero to One Million

Ryan Allis’ step-by-step approach in “Zero to One Million: How to Build a Company to $1 Million in Sales” gives readers great insight on what it takes to build a successful company. He stresses the importance of building a viable business that meets certain benchmarks prior to looking to raise capital. Following these steps will make your business more attractive to VCs so that when you do go to raise capital, you’ll have the upper hand.
Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

Processes and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs

The following answers are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

What is your top “hack” for making more impact on your business faster?

Liam Martin1. Taking Shorter Meetings
I’m constantly surprised by employees who are allowed to set up several-hour-long meetings. Next time you’re in a meeting, ask yourself how much money is going down the tube every minute the team sits there. Instead, we switched everything to email and project management software and have online meetings that anyone can jump in or out of at any time.
Liam Martin, Staff.com


Tim Jahn2. Maintaining Accountability

What is your best productivity or process hack? What’s the most “out there” tactic you’ve tried?

Far too often, your team will have a meeting that produces next-step action items. But then nobody actually executes on those action items, and you’re back at square one. Ensure everyone is accountable for those action items, and keep the progress written down somewhere with a tool such as Trello or a Google Doc spreadsheet.
Tim Jahn, matchist


Ryan Buckley3. Attending Retreats

Retreats sound counterintuitive, but there’s no substitute for getting your team on the same page. This usually requires food and a change of scenery. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to think creatively and get inspired. It’s true what they say: your environment fosters habit.
Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.


Andrew Schrage4. Avoiding Multitasking

Unless you’re knocking out two relatively mundane tasks at the same time, you’re better off concentrating on projects individually, completing them without any interruptions whatsoever and then moving on to the next item. Multitasking is overrated, and it can easily lead to you becoming less productive.
Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance


Matt Murphy5. Using a Freelance Team

Establish a “follow the sun” model by using freelancers. If your business is operating from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you’re only utilizing a third of the day. Overseas freelancers are available to continue projects as you sleep, which moves things along two to three times faster.
Matt Murphy, Global Citizens Travel


Alexandra Levit 26. Using Sophisticated Apps

In particular, If This Then That connects up to Google Apps and allows them to talk to each other without your intervention. Basically, you create your own recipes so that if a particular trigger is present, an action is generated. One example of a recipe: “If I am endorsed on LinkedIn, publish a tweet on Twitter.” It’s the Holy Grail of automation.
Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work


Cody McKibben7. Creating More Systems

If you want to really scale and grow, your primary job is never to continue doing the work. Your job is to continue building processes. Spend your time learning about systems, turning business processes into clear step-by-step procedures and creating thorough standard operating documents. Then, find reliable people to whom you can delegate those processes. Work on your business, not in it.
Cody McKibben, Digital Nomad Academy


Derek Flanzraich8. Investing in Faster Internet

It’s stunning how often faster Internet is overlooked, but we basically invest as much as people will allow us to on our Internet speed. We’re on it all the time, so nothing relieves stress and improves efficiency like blazing fast Internet.
Derek Flanzraich, Greatist


Robert-J.-Moore9. Displaying Performance Data

We have wall-mounted TV screens that display up-to-the-minute company performance data. This keeps everyone on the same page about what’s important and motivates everyone to make as big an impact as possible.
Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics