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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

How Not to Pitch Your Idea - Part 2

Last week we talked about timescales and numbers. Today we talk about presentation, positivity and poise. It's not what you do, its the way that you do it.

Presentation - You are the Master of Your Universe.

There is a very fine line between being cocky and having the self confidence to say "I am going to do this". That fine line is all about how you present your idea.

What an investor wants to see and hear is the hard work you have put in and how you have managed to get your product/service ready for market. Be short and to the point. Waffling about the ups and downs of your laptop breaking or spilling coffee on your business plan is pretty irrelevant. Take the investor on a journey from A to B with all the salient points included.
  • formation of the idea
  • market research
  • targeting your market
  • developing the product/service
  • ready for market
As will all journeys, there is a start, middle and end. Do not waste your time on any single point, move from one stage to the next in a logical, clear and above all efficient manner.

Positivity - Ying and Yang

You are going to be presented with objections and asked probing questions, after all you do want their money. How you deal with these questions could be the difference between investment and a handshake.

Objections can based on the price point, competitors, quality or even doubting your ability to carry the idea to market. Investors want to see your reaction to these questions and expect you to overcome anything thrown at you. Here are some examples:

"The service is too cheap"
- We want to grow a loyal user base and are offering a price point to reflect their early starter take up of our solution. Moving forward we will re-evaluate the value for money to customers.

"The competition is better"
- Our unique selling point differentiates us from competition and our marketing will stress this to our market segment.

"Your projections do not include X, Y and Z"
- The projections are flexible, we have contingencies in place to overcome any unforeseen costs.

Every negative has a positive response, its Ying and Yang.

Poise - Hold Your Head High

If you look defeated, downtrodden and exhausted do not bother showing up. There are so many tell tale non verbal signs to avoid:
  • staring into space
  • sighing
  • sweating
  • yawning
  • umming and aahing
  • looking to the sky for inspiration
  • covering your mouth
  • folding your arms
The list is endless.

Hold yourself with confidence. Keep eye contact (avoid staring of course) and talk to the audience you are with. If you have no confidence in your product then do not expect your potential investor to do so.


Know Your Stuff

You are your product. Your are your company and you are responsible for making it happen. Facts and figures are vital to an investor as is the confidence you show.

Be brave but informed when pitching and good luck.




Thursday, 25 July 2013

How Not to Pitch Your Idea - Part 1

Since the doors of Easy.Office Towers opened in January, we have seen the full spectrum of businesses and start-ups. From the girl with an idea through to a twelve strong company with funding they have all graced us with the presence.

However, no matter the size of the start-up, they all have the same common problems when it comes to pitching their concept.

With this in mind, I have made a list of the most common pitching mistakes we have seen.

I have no idea about numbers
Listen. No matter how amazing, how fantastic or revolutionary your product is, if you cannot demonstrate hard, realistic numbers then forget the idea of investment. Here are the questions you need to answer:
  • what is the price point
  • what is the profit margin
  • how many units can you sell
  • what are your projected costs
  • what have you sold so far
but if I did they would be big, round numbers
"We want £500k for 5% investment, we think this is a fair number". Is it really?

When you are pitching your concept you need to convince the investor that they are going to be buying into a massive return. If you have a turnover of £10,000 per year do not expect to pitch on a valuation of £10m and not be laughed at. Be realistic and be honest.

your money is for me, and only me
Your software is your investment, not the investors. They are handing over thousands of pounds in the sincere hope you are going to turn their tens of thousands into hundreds of thousands. They are entrusting you to grow the business, not put the money into your pocket.

this money you are going to invest? I need it tomorrow
Timescales which include "ASAP", "this quarter" or "now" show a clear indication that you have simply not prepared the business for funding. Create a roadmap of how the funding will be spent, where it will spent and show real costings.

That's the end of Part 1. Check out Part 2 next week!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Setting up a Business in Gibraltar

Starting a new enterprise or moving an existing business to Gibraltar can be daunting and very, very expensive. We know because we went through the process of moving from the UK to Gibraltar back in 2003. The advantages of operating in Gibraltar far exceeded the additional cost of moving the business and the decision has proved to be the right one. 

Where do I start?

As with creating any business, you will need to get the necessary information together. Most commonly you will need:
  • Copies of your passport, certified by an accountant or bank
  • Proof of address for the last three months (bills/ mortgage statement/ lease)
  • A letter of reference from an accountant or bank
Do not be afraid to make 5/6 certified copies as you will need them for other useful items such as your ID card.

What Fees Should I Pay?

Fees can be broken down into those payable for the setting up of the business (legal fees/ time etc.) and Government Fees paid for the actual company formation:
  • Incorporation Fee – paid to the Government to start the business
  • Annual Filing Fee – paid to the Government on an annual basis
  • Annual Report – must be filed every year to the Registrar to keep the business open
The second set of fees is paid to business services for helping you to open your business. However, there really are only two real services you should pay for:
  • Setup – paid for setting up your business
  • Accounts – preparing your annual accounts
We then come to the fees which you should really either do yourself, or use Easy.Office for:
  • Bank Account – can be opened by you once you have the business incorporated
  • Postal Address – use the Easy.Office address
  • Office space – can be provided by Easy.Office

How Long Does All This Take?

The real answer this question is how long 'should' it take as the unforeseen has a habit of raising its head from time to time. Ideally, you should aim for:
  • Opening an Easy.Office account: 1-3 days
  • Completing the Company Registration: 5-10 days
  • Bank account: 2-6 weeks
All in all, start with the simple matter of completing the forms and submitting them. Once you have your certificate of incorporation and personal details it should be a formality to open your bank account.

Who Should I Use?

At Easy.Office we have created a preferred list of suppliers whom we have met in person, used for various services and know personally. The local network of business people in Gibraltar may be small, but you still need to know who to use. The preferred suppliers list is constantly growing, please visit: http://easy.office.gi/preferred.asp.

Disclaimer

I am not a legally registered lawyer or solicitor so all the information I have listed is based on personal experience. However, I think it is only right that someone who has been through the same experiences as you are about to, should share their thoughts on the matter. Good luck with your new venture and remember, Easy.Office is only an email away.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Gibraltar Start-up Community - "Something" is beginning

Welcome to the start of "something". What this "something" is will depend on the individuals and businesses we meet and bring on board over the next twelve months. Gibraltar, advertised very publicly on TV over the last few weeks with Channel 5's "Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun" is ripe for a start-up community.

Why? Gibraltar has a massive tech base. Companies (primarily gaming), individuals (web designers/ graphic designers), money and, most importantly. Ideas. People in and around Gibraltar who have worked for the gaming companies are bored. Their creative juices are running dry and they are looking for an out.

People have tried in the past and failed. This time it is different. We have the location, we have the contacts, the experience and we have the ideas.

In the words of a wise man, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This is the first step.