This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE From a venture capitalist’s point of view, there are no “trick” questions. However, certain questions can be tricky for an entrepreneur to answer. Below are five common questions an entrepreneur will encounter when seeking venture funding. These questions, which manifest themselves in numerous forms, all share a common underlying objective: to divine your motivations, expectations and desires. Handled appropriately, these questions provide investors a window into an entrepreneurs’ soul, which minimizes the chances of a future misalignment.
What American tech company is the coolest? A subjective, yet important question. The rest of the country may be in a recession, but hiring within the tech community remains highly competitive. Talented employees look for a number of tangible and intangible factors when deciding among multiple employment offers, including a company's cool factor. As such, a reputation as a cool company is a competitive advantage to be cultivated and coveted. With that in mind, Forbes readers have an opportunity to help crown America's Coolest Tech Company via a new crowdsource polling widget, created by Ranker, a Rincon Venture Partners' portfolio company.
The following guest post is from Dan Monarko, Online Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and hiring platform trusted by many of the fastest-growing companies in the world, including: Pinterest, Tumblr, Hootsuite, Klout, Posterous, Bitly, Atari and Mashable. I am a Board Member and an investor in The Resumator via Rincon Venture Partners. Your business is off the ground running and months or years of work brought you to this point. You, my lucky friend, are ready to hire your very first employee. This can be a very stressful exercise for many given the success or failure of your company can be directly tied to making the right choice for your first hire. What should you look for in hiring your first employee? Here are some tips to consider while prospecting and interviewing candidates for your first employee:
Business Plans are dead. Most sophisticated investors ignore them, focusing their attention on an entrepreneur's pitch and presentation materials, financial forecast and executive summary. As noted in Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Pitch Their Ideas To Venture Capitalists, most sophisticated investors place their bets on people rather than opportunities. As such, the primary goal of your executive summary is to open the door to an in-person meeting.
The following guest post is from Eric Gaydos, Buzz Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and hiring platform trusted by many of the fastest-growing companies in the world, including: Pinterest, Tumblr, Hootsuite, Klout, Posterous, Bitly, Atari and Mashable. I am a Board Member and an investor in The Resumator via Rincon Venture Partners. Much has changed in just the last 10 years of recruiting. Social recruiting tools are here, and your next resume will probably never actually be on a sheet of paper. You might have even found your current job on social media. Some things about recruiting and hiring are timeless; things us whippersnappers would do well to consider during our next round of hiring. Who better to turn to than someone who’s been in business for six decades? Here are some fantastic recruiting tips from Grandpa:
Note: This is an installment in the Iconic Advice series. Other installments include: Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell. Make no mistake, successful entertainers are entrepreneurs. They must compete with tens of thousands of other performers who are all pursuing the same customer dollars. At the outset of their careers, they are forced to market themselves with little to no budget and differentiate their product so that they gain adequate attention without alienating too many potential customers. It is too easy to say that an artist’s success is simply a matter of luck. Although a handful of performers achieve their goals soon after launching their careers, for most, preparation meeting opportunity is what leads to their success. In fact, many of the same precepts which lead to a startup’s success are also precursors to a performer’s stardom. You do not have to enjoy (or even respect) the music, costumes and outlandish behavior of pop-culture divas to learn from their entrepreneurial tenacity and drive.
The following guest post comes from Sean Percival, CEO of Wittlebee, a kids clothing club that sends its customers a new customized box of clothes every month, based on their children's age, color preferences and geographic location. I am an investor in Wittlebee via Rincon Venture Partners. In case you missed it, Pinterest is a new website capable of curing the common cold, solving world peace and doing your taxes. It’s literally that good. Really though, it’s a new bookmarking service that has been all the rage lately. Seeing how it just surpassed 10 million monthly visitors, it’s hard to deny there’s something there. Now that I think about it, I remember when we relaunched Myspace last year and the Pinterest team accused us of basically ripping off their layout. I knew that wasn’t the case so I also remember sarcastically tweeting at them something along the lines of ”Wow, you invented the grid layout? You guys are going to be rich!” I guess I was right.
Rapidly and repeatedly hiring star employees is a competitive advantage. Although this is a core competency that must be honed over time, there is a cadre of SaaS hiring tools that the world’s leading tech companies deploy to their advantage. No matter how rapidly a startup is growing, it can never afford to sacrifice employee quality as a means of achieving its hiring goals. A hiring mistake early in a startup’s life can be expensive, especially when opportunity costs are considered. The loss in productivity involved in transitioning a struggling employee out an organization, coupled with the time required to conduct a subsequent job search, can cripple a small company’s ability to achieve its strategic objectives.
The following is a guest post from Laurel House, an author, lifestyle mentor, and contributing blogger for Campus Explorer. The folks at Campus Explorer believe everyone deserves a fulfilling education, no matter the name or place. Their philosophy is that anyone shopping for college or continuing education can find the perfect fit, if they have access to the proper tools. To this end, Campus Explorer has compiled everything needed to perform an efficient and effective online college search. I an investor in Campus Explorer via Rincon Venture Partners. Question: ”Why do I need a mentor? When should I start looking for a mentor and how do I find a one?” Answer: Now’s the time to lock down a mentor, even if you haven’t locked down your exact major or career goal. Why? Because the fact is that you are about to enter into a new game where you are definitely not at the top of it, and probably don’t even really know the rules. More than that, how do you even know that this is the career you want to spend the rest of your working days doing? What do you know about the reality of this world and the day-to-day of the lifestyle?
This article originally appeared on TechCrunch HERE. Successful Olympic athletes share a number of common qualities with entrepreneurs; including boundless energy, uncompromising tenacity and a willingness to innovate. Such innovations include new training routines, inventive diets, and novel gameplay tactics. Entrepreneurs are well served to pay particular attention to two of the most innovative Olympic athletes: Dick Fosbury and David Berkoff, the former of which I discuss in the following 2-minute video.