لَقَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
At-Taubah  Sungguh, telah datang kepadamu seorang Rasul dari kaummu sendiri, berat terasa olehnya penderitaanmu, sangat menginginkan (keimanan dan keselamatan) bagimu, amat belas kasihan lagi penyayang terhadap orang-orang mukmin.
فَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ
At-Taubah  Jika mereka berpaling (dari keimanan), maka katakanlah: “Cukuplah Allah bagiku; tidak ada Tuhan selain Dia. Hanya kepada-Nya aku bertawakkal dan Dia adalah Tuhan yang memiliki ‘Arsy yang agung”.
it has been a long time since my last post here… but today, i found out that i can make a post using my phone! specifically, accessing my WordPress blog via my phone!! thank God i loveee wordpress! so now i can make a post while lying on my bed! the url : http://m.wordpress.com
so,few updates :
1. i ve start my futsal, again after went through 2 surgery last year. my 1st game was during ‘celebrating’ our new member of our family; my brother-in-law. thank God everything went well.
2. as i started to play futsal,again, my beloved wife bought me a new pair of Nike shoe; Nike Zoom T5!
3. i’ve resigned from KP9 Res0urces SB,my uncle’s. very sad about that. lot of new valuable experience i gained during my day at KPG..but what to do.. hope my departure can reduce the burden,less overhead..
4.and now, i m joining my frens from my MMU days at ‘the-school-of-change’; S3cretlab M3dia SB. here, i m mastering W0rdpress!
5.as for my family, my twin have started to go to the kindergarden.they showed an awsome development.even the teachers quite impress with their progress..Alhamdulillah..
Dr.Fadhilah Kamsah menulis ……..
Masa saya kecik-kecik dulu,mak selalu sangat suruh saya habiskan belen-belen( sisa-sisa) nasik yang dia makan …dan pagi-pagi sebelum pergi sekolah,mak akan tuangkan air teh untuk saya minum itu dan macam biasa,mesti ada sikit belen … tapi taklah everytime secara puratanya seminggu sekali mesti ada mak suruh buat macam itu …
Dan sampailah saya dah besar panjang nie pun situasi ni still berjalan ….either belen makanan mak atau abah … tapi kalau belen makanan anak-anak memang jadi satu kepantangan bagi mak atau abah untuk habiskan… kami kena habiskan sendiri atau akan dihabiskan oleh adik beradik yang lain … samada kami perasan atau tidak ….so satu hari itu tergerak nak tanya pasal isu ini kat mak …
Akhirnya mak dedahkan bahawa memang purposely dia buat macam itu sebab itu petua yang dia dapat dari arwah mak mentua dia sendiri …arwah tok perempuan kami lah sebelah abah …mak kata,supaya hati anak-anak sentiasa melekat kat mak bapak…dan saya sendiri akui kesannya …..makin umur kita meningkat,hati kita senantiasa belas tengok mak bapak kita yang makin tua itu..
Kalau kena marah ke kena tengking ke memang kami adik beradik diam membisu..jer lah namanya nak menjawab balik memang tak dak walaupun kita tahu yang kita betul dan mak pesan,dah ada anak sendiri esok …jangan sekali-kali makan lebihan makanan anak… samalah ceritanya ..dan mak kata jugak, pagi-pagi jumaat masa dia bancuh air untuk kami semua,dia akan selawat 3 x dan berdoa semoga kami sel amat pergi dan selamat balik …dan guru saya pesan, antara kesan terbesar bagi ibu bapa yang tidak menunaikan solat maghrib ialah,mereka- mereka ini akan Allah cabut rasa hormat anak terhadap mereka … solat berjemaahlah dengan anak-anak tiap kali waktu maghrib … kalau ada lebih dari sorang anak,suruh sorang azan dan sorang Qiam … kemudian berganti-ganti bacakan doa lepas solat… ini yang kami sekeluarga amalkan sampai sekarang …
Saya personally memang cukup malu kalau tak sempat solat jamaah maghrib dengan mak abah secara praktiknya,inilah yang paling paling paling berkesan sekali ….tak caya try buat …solat jamaah dengan anak-anak tiap kali maghrib …. dapat semua waktu lagi baik …sangat besar ‘rahsia’ dan peranan dapur rupa-rupanya. ..dan jugak kesan solat jamaah walau hanya bagi waktu maghrib.
“Apabila kita kejar dunia,dunia akan lari; tetapi apabila kita kejar akhirat, dunia akan mengejar kita”. Just to ambil iktibar untuk mendidik diri & family.Usia dunia sudah terlalu hampir ke penghujungnya, terlalu! So,it’s good if we can remind each other because in Rasulullah’s last sermon,baginda pun did mention that all those who listen to him (on shall pass on his words to others,and those to others again; and may the last ones understand his words better than those who listen to him directly…
Yang baik datang dari Allah & yang kurang itu is from my weaknesses. Do impart this knowledge; you’ll lose nothing. Wallahu A’lam… Terima Kasih
Technorati Tags: Dr.Fadhilah Kamsah
At-Talaq  ……dan sesiapa yang bertakwa kepada Allah (dengan mengerjakan suruhanNya dan meninggalkan laranganNya), nescaya Allah akan mengadakan baginya jalan keluar (dari segala perkara yang menyusahkannya),
At-Talaq  Serta memberinya rezeki dari jalan yang tidak terlintas di hatinya dan (Ingatlah), sesiapa berserah diri bulat-bulat kepada Allah, maka Allah cukuplah baginya (untuk menolong dan menyelamatkannya). Sesungguhnya Allah tetap melakukan segala perkara yang dikehendakiNya. Allah telahpun menentukan kadar dan masa bagi berlakunya tiap-tiap sesuatu.
If you have ever wondered how to get rich in Malaysia – fabulously rich and very quickly at that – here’s a model that you might want to look at very closely. Not easy to do but if you do have a couple of projects in the bag, it will set you up for several lifetimes.
First you need connections – strong ones, the higher the better and if it goes right up to the top all the better. You need this because you need to convince the powers that be that your projects are good.
But you might ask if your projects are so good, why do you need connections? Why don’t you just go out and execute? Good questions, those. Here’s the answer – you need the state to give you something to do the deal that will help the nation.
Still can’t figure it out? See, it’s like this. You want to help the country, right? The country needs say a port. But you can’t build a port just like that. You need land to build a port. You tell the state or federal government you need land – cheap land, preferably free to build the port.
Or to take another example, you want to help the country by building a power plant. But look, you need land too and not only that you need the power to be sold. So you want an agreement – an iron-clad one to sell the power to Tenaga Nasional and to pass through all costs.
You see, that’s your reward as an entrepreneur – you get someone else to build the power plant, they guarantee the performance of the plant and someone else guarantees to buy your power and pay for all your costs. Nice deal? You bet. Billionaires have been made that way.
Or you may want to start an air hub. If you are persuasive enough, you can even convince the government to compulsorily acquire the land and sell it to you cheap. Once you have cheap land, lucrative contracts and concession agreements, the sky’s the limit.
Let’s take it a step further. If you want to realise the value of all of these things that you have and still keep control of them, it’s nice to have a listed company into which you can inject them. Inject one asset for shares and you gain control of the company.
And then inject others over the years for cash, taking the money out of the company. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
Do it right and get a flow of assets to inject in (you can do anything with discounted cash flow valuations – just change the discount rate, and presto, the value changes!), and you get a tidy flow of profits and cash into your personal accounts over the years. I mean a really tidy flow.
Just how much can you make this way, you ask? Why don’t you take a guess first? Did you say RM500mil? Guess again. RM1bil? How about five times that and you may be getting into the right order of magnitude.
One Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary actually made some RM4.5bil that way – actually more because he still controls the listed company. (
MMC’s latest RM1.7bil deal irks investors7) We are not saying he is the only one, which makes your chances of joining the ranks better – if you are connected to high places that is.
But then again, if things change – and that’s still a big ‘if’ – you might not find it so easy anymore.
by P.Gunasegaram in A Question of Business
P. Gunasegaram is managing editor of The Star. He thinks it is high time we changed the way we did business
Tips from The Logo Factory Designers.
The Logo Factory designers have been in the ‘trenches’ for years, with thousands of successful logo and corporate identity projects under their collective belts. With that in mind, who better to ask for a series of tips and pointers when it comes to developing great logos.
Here’s some design advice from some of the best designers in the field.
It should be noted that most of these tips are not absolutes (you’ll
probably be able to find examples in our logo design portfolio
that will contradict each and every one). They are, however, a decent
set of guidelines that will help you narrow in on the best logo for
your particular requirements.
Start out right.
[ listen to podcast ]
When you’re in the market to have a new logo developed, there’s always
the temptation to take some short cuts. Usually to save time, money or
a combination of both. Trouble is, most of these ‘cookie cutter’
solutions will turn out to be neither inexpensive or fast, and may
cause a ton of headaches down the road – especially when your fledgling
company starts to become more high-profile. Some examples? You may
think about using a clip art
logo (not a good idea – the image probably isn’t licensed for use as a
logo or if it is, is already being used by a load of other people). You
may think about downloading a logo template
(similarly not a good idea – as most of these template sites are
‘anonymous’ and you’re never going to be sure if the work is original. We’ve even found our client’s logos being passed of as a template.
And even if the work is legit, it certainly won’t be unique. The very
idea of ‘templates’ involves many people using the same design. And if
it is unique, the chances that you’ll get the correct formats are
slim). Hosting a logo design contest
has similar drawbacks and caveats. At the end of the day, there’s only
one effective way to design a unique, effective logo and that’s to work
with a seasoned professional with the experience to get your job right.
The Logo Factory is one such solution, but if you don’t elect to hire
us, this advice still rings true for the company or designer that you do hire. Once you’ve selected your designer it’s time to start the actual creative process. Some things to keep in mind.
Simple is sometimes better.
complex logo can be difficult to reproduce and more importantly,
difficult to remember. Better to have a simple version for your main
logo, and a souped-up version (like a beauty shot for example) when a
more complex version is appropriate, and/or the reproduction medium
allows. Take a look at our logo samples area to get an idea of what we created for others.
A logo doesn’t have to convey what your company does.
Think the McDonald’s Golden Arches. No hamburgers. Think the FedEx
logo. No trucks or planes (though a cool ‘hidden’ arrow). Think the
Nike swoosh. No sneakers or golf shirts. etc. While sometimes having a
logo that portrays an element of the company is appropriate, it’s often
better to have a logo that’s graphically void of detail – a logo that
can be adapted to whatever direction the company takes. Think the Apple
logo. True, it is an apple. But there’s no indication that it belongs
to a computer company. That’s a pretty cool thing – the Apple logo
looks just as cool on an iPod as it does on the top of a Powerbook.
Your new logo needs to reproduce at a variety of different sizes –
particularly on the smallish side. Overly complex logos
can ‘gum up’ when reproduced as a very small image. Think business
card, fax header. How about a key chain? Or a ballpoint pen? Take a
look at the Nike ‘swoosh’. Not a very
dynamic logo but it is recognizable on a shirt sleeve on the television
where a complex logo wouldn’t be. Think of your logo as a mega-sized
image as well. Like a billboard. Knowing how your logo is going to be
used, both in size and media, can help your designer create a logo
that’s appropriate in terms of complexity.
The aspect ratio (the relationship between the height and width of a
logo) is critical. A logo that is too tall and skinny, or too wide and
short, is not visually pleasing, and you’ll end up with all sorts of
layout issues when it comes to setting up your logo in artwork,
especially when combined with other graphic elements (ie: business
card, websites, etc). A logo that is closer to a ‘golden mean’ (almost
the aspect relationship of a business card) is much more pleasing and
more adaptable to working in other artwork. Square is pretty cool too –
circle logos are very strong visually due to their ‘square aspect
ratio’ (see her for more on logo aspect ratios & logo footprints).
Disconnecting icons and text.
If your corporate identiy is to feature both an iconic logo
and a textual treatment of your company name, it’s best to have the
elements as distinct pieces of artwork (as opposed to overlapping,
intertwining, etc). This way, you’ll be able to use either the text or
icon solo, and the logo will still stand up. As you’ve probably
noticed, The Logo Factory ‘house’ is placed solo at
the top right of every page of this website, though there is a font
treatment of the company name in a distinctive font that we use from
time to time. The two elements are actually pictured together in the
‘true’ version of our logo.
Your logo is for your audience.
Naturally, you want to like your logo (we’ve know lots of times were
people are reluctant to use their logo as they no longer ‘like’ it). On
the other hand, keep in mind that your logo is to appeal to your
customers, and should be created with them in mind. You may be the most
conservative person on the planet, but if you’re trying to market to
the hip-hop crowd, your sensibilities are probably different than your
‘audience’. A logo that you ‘like’ probably won’t appeal to them.
Your company’s essence and ‘theme’.
Your logo needs to portray the essence of your company. Are you a
serious company, or one that revels in being whimsical. Are you
appealing to a conservative set? Then a cartoon logo probably wouldn’t
be the best choice. Trying to brand a sports bar or an ice cream parlour?
Then a logo that would work for a financial institution probably won’t
cut it either. Understanding a particular industry’s ‘theme’ is
important, and where a designer’s experience comes into play.
Your logo has to have ‘instant impact’.
Your new logo will probably not have the luxury of being in your
audience’s eye for a lot of time. In fact, you probably have a few
seconds (at the outside) to ‘grab’ the viewers attention. If your logo
needs to be deciphered, or has an elaborate ‘back story’ (see metaphor
light) there’s probably little chance that it will communicate the
essence of your company, service or product effectively.
A tagline is nice, but not as part of your logo.
A tagline is the phrase or few words that describe a company, or the
company’s mission. Generally stated, taglines are featured under the
logo (or in circular logos – around the logo). They’re cool and all,
but it’s not advisable to include them in the initial design phases of
your logo. Wordy taglines will require a small font that will become
illegible at smaller sizes. Also, a tagline can create a lot of visual
clutter in many applications. It’s always better to have that ever-so
clever tagline as a separate element that you can add when appropriate,
or when doing so will not interfere with the design integrity of your
Strive to be ‘different’.
You’d be surprised how many clients have asked that we design logos
that are very similar to their competitors. Kinds misses the point, no?
The idea of your own logo is just that – your own logo. While it can be
helpful to look at logos that your competitors are using (or even
people in the same industry), this should never be used as a guide to
creating your logo. The idea here is to be different than your
competitors. To stand out in a cluttered marketplace. To have a logo
that’s better than theirs Or, at the very least – different.
Color is a secondary factor in your logo.
The most important part of your logo project is the design itself. Oh
sure, it’s nice to see your logo in the colors that you will eventually
use, but in the initial stages of any design process the colors are of
secondary importance. They can always be changed,or edited later. Now,
having said that…
Consider color choices carefully.
Whether you utilize a two spot color, or four color process
design will greatly impact any reproduction costs in the future. While
not critical in the initial design phases, your choice of corporate
color will have a ripple effect throughout all you corporate
‘look-and-feel’ material and is a decision that should not be taken
lightly in the final stages of the design process.
Some web colors cannot be reproduced.
In traditional media that is. And vice versa. Some WEB colors are
beyond a CMYK range – meaning that the color cannot be printed using
CMYK or Pantone equivalents. To make things more complicated, sometimes
WEB safe colors CAN be converted successfully. Best advice – if there’s
a particular WEB-safe color you wish to use, our designers will be glad
to tell you of it’s usability is outside of your monitor
Keep your logo ‘metaphor light’.
While it’s nice for your logo to actually ‘mean’ something (i.e. – this
color represents growth, this dot represents our product) sometimes
clients wish to write ‘War-and-Peace’ with their logo’s metaphors. An
overworked logo is not a pretty sight. The most memorable logos are
also the most simple; the memorable complex logos are often highly
rendered illustrations (see here for the anatomy of an illustrative
logo), not a bunch of geometric shapes. Dozens of swooshes, dots and
colors – all professing to ‘mean’ something will not mean anything to
the first time viewer even though it might be a ‘cool’ back story to
tell. Click here to see what makes a great logo.
Understand that your logo is just the beginning.
True, it’s an important beginning, but a beginning never the less.
Don’t expect your logo to single-handedly develop your company’s
‘brand’. Far from it. It is only by repeated use of your logo,
combined with graphical elements (your marketing artwork, ads, etc) as
well as the old-fashioned stuff (business ethic, customer service, etc)
that will create your ‘brand’ or corporate image. Having said that,
however, your new logo is the corner stone of these efforts, and its
pretty important to get it right.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
You want to know why the Nike logo is so successful? Is it because it’s a ‘great’ logo? Far from it. Other than being remarkably simply, the Nike
‘swoosh’ is painfully uninspiring. No, the Nike logo is successful
because it’s been seen a cazillion times more than any other sports logos.
On TV. On the shirts of top athletes. On the sports equipment of almost
every professional sports team out there. Simply put, the Nike logo is
so successful because it’s been driven into our subconscious by
constant exposure. And that’s the same philosophy you should take with
your logo. Granted, you don’t have the promotional budget of giants
like Nike, Apple or FedEx,
but do what you can. Plaster your new logo everywhere. Every scrap of
paper that leaves your office should feature your logo. Put it on your
car (could be a tax write-off too). Letterheads, Brochure. Presentation folders.
Use your new logo until you’re sick of it. And then use it some some
more. In fact, that’s a pretty good rule of thumb – at the point you’re
getting sick of your logo (and you’ll be tempted to change it – see
next tip) it’s just starting to get some traction.
Don’t change. (Almost) never.
Once you’ve developed your logo, it’s in your best interest to keep it.
Brand recognition takes time (some studies state that viewers have to
see a logo three times – or more – before they’ll remember it the next
time). There’s an awful lot of logo clutter out there, so only be
repetition will your logo break through. If you’re going to change or update your logo,
think very, very long and hard about it. If you decide to go ahead,
then make sure you get it right that time. Changing a logo dramatically
more than once (in a short period of time) may tell your audience that
you’re flaky and unreliable. Not good in business.
What’s in a business name? Plenty. Not only must your name reflect your brand and be memorable, there are also a host of legal issues to consider. Here’s how to choose a name that’ll best suit your business.
What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to small-business success. The right name can make your company the talk of the town; the wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure. If you’re smart, you’ll put just as much effort into naming your business as you did into coming up with your idea, writing your business plan and selecting a market and location. Ideally, your name should convey the expertise, value and uniqueness of the product or service you’ve developed.
There’s a lot of controversy over what makes a good business name. Some experts believe that the best names are abstract, a blank slate upon which to create an image. Others think that names should be informative, so customers know immediately what your business is. Some believe that coined names (names that come from made-up words) are more memorable than names that use real words. Others think most coined names are eminently forgettable. In reality, any type of name can be effective if it’s backed by the appropriate marketing strategy.
Do It Yourself?
Given all the considerations that go into a good company name, shouldn’t you consult an expert, especially if you’re in a field in which your company name will be visible and may influence the success of your business? And isn’t it easier to enlist the help of a naming professional?
Yes. Just as an accountant will do a better job with your taxes and an ad agency will do a better job with your ad campaign, a naming firm will be more adept at naming your firm than you will. Naming firms have elaborate systems for creating new names, and they know their way around the trademark laws. They have the expertise to advise you against bad name choices and explain why others are good. A name consultant will take this perplexing task off your hands–and do a fabulous job for you in the process.
The downside is cost. A professional naming firm may charge anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $35,000 or more to develop a name. The benefit, however, is that spending this money now can save you money in the end. Professional namers may be able to find a better name–one that is so recognizable and memorable, it will cut down your costs in the long run. They have the expertise to help you avoid legal hassles with trademarks and registration–problems that can cost you plenty if you end up choosing a name that already belongs to someone else. And they are familiar with design elements, such as how a potential name might work on a sign or stationery.
If you can spare the money from your startup budget, professional help could be a solid investment. After all, the name you choose now will affect your marketing plans for the duration of your business. If you’re like most small-business owners, though, the responsibility for thinking up a name will be all your own. The good news: By following the same basic steps professional namers use, you can come up with a meaningful moniker that works . . . without breaking the bank.
What Does It Mean?
Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. To be most effective, your company name should reinforce the key elements of your business.
Gerald Lewis, whose consulting firm, CDI Designs, specializes in helping retail food businesses, uses retail as an example. “In retailing,” Lewis explains, “the market is so segmented that [a name must] convey very quickly what the customer is going after. For example, if it’s a warehouse store, it has to convey that impression. If it’s an upscale store selling high-quality foods, it has to convey that impression. The name combined with the logo is very important in doing that.” So the first and most important step in choosing a name is deciding what your business is.
Should your name be meaningful? Most experts say yes. The more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you must exert to explain it. Alan Siegel, chairman and CEO of Siegel & Gale, an international communications firm, believes name developers should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words. He explains that people prefer words they can relate to and understand. That’s why professional namers universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice. On the other hand, it is possible for a name to be too meaningful. Naming consultant S.B. Master cautions business owners need to beware of names that are too narrowly defined. Common pitfalls are geographic names or generic names. Take the name “San Pablo Disk Drives” as a hypothetical example. What if the company wants to expand beyond the city of San Pablo, California? What meaning will that name have for consumers in Chicago or Pittsburgh? And what if the company diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?
Specific names make sense if you intend to stay in a narrow niche forever. If you have any ambitions of growing or expanding, however, you should find a name that is broad enough to accommodate your growth. How can a name be both meaningful and broad? Master makes a distinction between descriptive names (like San Pablo Disk Drives) and suggestive names. Descriptive names tell something concrete about a business–what it does, where it’s located and so on. Suggestive names are more abstract. They focus on what the business is about. Would you like to convey quality? Convenience? Novelty? These are the kinds of qualities that a suggestive name can express.
For example, Master came up with the name “Italiatour” to help promote package tours to Italy. Though it’s not a real word, the name “Italiatour” is meaningful. Right away, you recognize what’s being offered. But even better, the name “Italiatour” evokes the excitement of foreign travel. “It would have been a very different name if we had called it ‘Italytour,'” says Master. “But we took a foreign word, ‘Italia,’ but one that was very familiar and emotional and exciting to English speakers, and combined it with the English word ‘tour.’ It’s easy to say, it’s unique, it’s unintimidating, but it still has an Italian flavor.”
Before you start thinking up names for your new business, try to define the qualities that you want your business to be identified with. If you’re starting a hearth-baked bread shop, for example, you might want a name that conveys freshness, warmth, and a homespun atmosphere. Immediately, you can see that names like “Kathy’s Bread Shop” or “Arlington Breads” would communicate none of these qualities. But consider the name “Open Hearth Breads.” The bread sounds homemade, hot, and just out of the oven. Moreover, if you diversified your product line, you could alter the name to “Open Hearth Bakery.” This change would enable you to hold onto your suggestive name without totally mystifying your established clientele.
From venture capitalists to angel investors, here’s what your business plan needs to include to catch the eye of startup investors.
September 12, 2005
By Tim Berry
Although you definitely need a business plan to find investors, your plan alone–no matter how good it is–isn’t enough to attract investors. The investment decision depends on a lot of other factors: the business team and its track record, the product you’ll be selling, the competitive advantage you have and what your market is, among others. By itself, your plan is like an automobile engine–the car won’t go anywhere without it. But the engine alone isn’t enough to make the car go, and you need to recognize this from the beginning.
Another important point to understand is that investors are not all the same. At the high end, there are a few thousand venture capitalists working for a few hundred venture capital firms. At the low end, you have friends and family. And in the middle, there are tens of thousands of private investors called “angels.”
The venture capitalists are the most demanding. They fund only a few thousand plans per year, and they have to reduce their risks because they’re investing other people’s money. They probably won’t consider your venture unless you’re introduced to them first because they have no other way to screen and process all the proposals they get. They aren’t sharks or bad people–they’re just professional managers doing their job. They won’t steal your idea: The last thing they want is another business idea without a team to implement it. Therefore, when they search for investment vehicles, they look for the following:
- A management team with a proven track record. Yes, that often means they won’t fund your plan because you don’t have experience, but you don’t have experience because they won’t fund your plan. Deal with it. If this is the case, look for angel investors or friends and family (and keep reading).
- A defensible product with a competitive advantage. It’s easier to predict the success of a tangible product than it is a service, which is why service businesses are rarely interesting to venture capitalists. Of course, there is the occasional exception, such as Netflix, the popular home delivery service for DVD movie rentals, for example.
- Reasonable valuation. Divide the amount you plan to take as investment by the percent of ownership you’re offering to give in exchange. For example, offering 50 percent of a company for $5 million means you’re valuing your company at $10 million. An outrageous valuation shows investors you may still have your head in the clouds.
- A clear statement of the investment offering Check with your attorneys about the legality of your offering, including how much equity for how much money you’re planning to offer this time through, and the planned future dilution for later rounds of investment.
Other things that interest venture capitalists include:
- A shot at increasing the value of the company from whatever they think it is now to about 100 times that in three to five years.
- A plan that requires at least a $3 million investment–in fact, the more the better. Your plan has to show that the money is carefully planned and really needed.
- A plan that has several other similar investors ready to invest at the same time. Venture capitalists find safety in numbers so they don’t want to be the only investor in a deal.
- A clearly stated exit strategy. Investors like to see that you’ve thought ahead to how they’re going to get their money back on the deal.
Angel investors are harder to predict. They’re usually wealthy individuals or small groups who invest in different ways. Most of them look at almost the same factors as venture capitalists. Some of them, however, will consider lesser investment amounts and will even invest alone. They often specialize in a specific type of business, such as retail or technology, perhaps because they know that sector well.
When it comes to friends and family, I can’t tell you what they’ll look for because they’re your friends and family. I can tell you to be very careful about seeking friends and family to invest in your new venture because businesses frequently fail and you don’t want to lose your friends and family when you lose your business. And don’t make the deal based on a handshake–you should treat your deals with friends and family just as you would with a professional investor.
I can also tell you that you absolutely must check with an attorney before taking any type of investment for your startup. There are laws that control private investment; most of them were enacted to prevent stock fraud. And selling stock takes significant legal work. Whether you’re one of the very few startups that land venture capital investment or you’re taking investment from angel investors, friends or family, work closely with an attorney to be sure that any deal you do is structured properly.
Tim Berry is the “Business Plans” coach at Entrepreneur.com and is the president of Palo Alto Software Inc., which produces the industry’s leading business planning software, Business Plan Pro, as well as other popular planning applications for businesses.
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