Posts tagged: Entrepreneurs

Are You A Design Entrepreneur?

By , September 28, 2013 8:21 am

DENYC logo

The second (annual I hope) Design Entrepreneurs NYC program came to an amazing finale Thursday evening September 26 with the announcement of two winners of cash awards of 1st place- $25,000 and 2nd place- $10,000. Becca McCharen owner of CHROMAT (chromatgarments.com) placed first in the business plan competition and Vasumathi Soundararajan (an FIT grad!) of Ken Wroy, Inc. (kenwroy.com) came in second (there were only two places). Kudos to the winners!

Design Entrepreneur Winners 2013

L to R: Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President, Fashion Institute of Technology; Vasumathi Soundararajan, Ken Wroy, Inc.; Becca McCharen, Chromat; Jeanette Nostra, President, G-III Apparel Group.

And kudos to the entire 2013 class of Design Entrepreneurs NYC! Everyone is on their way to growing their companies with freshly minted business plans in their possession.  The intensive mini-MBA program started in June with solid weekend-filled classes and then the entrepreneurs spent their summer, under the guidance of mentors,  working hard writing and refining their business plans. After submitting their business plans, the entrepreneurs waited to hear which ones were selected to present – half of the class of 35.  The presentations, in front of industry judges in four different rooms, narrowed down the field to 4 finalists who then presented in front of all the judges and the 2013 class.  Some of the Judges included: Tim Baxter (EVP & GMM, Macy’s), Morris Goldfarb (CEO, G-III Apparel), Ellen Rodriguez (President & CEO, French Connection), Jeffrey Binder (Consultant, Former Divisional Merchandise Manager, Bloomingdales), and Laurence Leeds, Jr. (Chair, Buckingham Capital).  I was privileged to be a moderator for one of the panels.

So the entrepreneurs are off now to grow their businesses and take them in new directions as a result of this experience.  As well as stay in touch with their classmates, faculty, school and judges.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Warby Parker talk

By , September 23, 2013 7:58 am

Warby Parker

DIY or hire it out

By , September 14, 2013 9:31 am

Two Sides of the DIY Coin
What every entrepreneur should understand before they Do It Themselves

Side One:  Efficient Use of Your Time
You’re the CEO.  You must figure out the value of your time in general against the value of your time spent against a DIY project.  Is it worth it?
While you are writing the patent and filing it yourself (I know of at least two entrepreneurs that did this, one in fashion, one in tech), six months could easily go by and your business is headless during that time because your energies are focused elsewhere. Can your company really survive without you running it for that length of time?

For more insight on this side of the coin see: http://blog.nyctechconnect.com/2013/08/13/why-am-i-doing-this/

Side Two:  Good Communications Skills

“The only way to get something done right is to do it myself”.  If that’s the way you think, then there’s a problem with the way you are communicating…you aren’t.  Making yourself understood is crucial in business (and every other aspect of your life as well).  Not only with employees and freelancers but with vendors and clients as well. You must be able to make yourself understood to grow your business and to operate it efficiently.  You can’t do everything yourself (I’m sure you’ve seen org charts where every function is “YOU”) or you and your business won’t get very far.

For more insight on this side of the coin see: http://blog.gcsagents.com/2010/10/06/if-you-want-something-done-right-you-can-do-it-yourself-but-if-you-want-a-lot-of-things-done-right-communicate/

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

The Press Release — what works, what doesn’t

By , September 7, 2013 10:15 am

Before a fashion designer (and most start-ups these days) will turn to advertising or other traditional forms of marketing these days, they are most likely to use PR first. Why? Because of the broad reach and cost efficiencies PR is capable of delivering.So for those of you first embarking on a PR campaign, or maybe just starting to send press releases, here’s some do’s and don’t’s.

Don’t – Waste the time of the recipient of the Press Release

Spew of a lot of press releases just to make “noise” – they are not appreciated by editors and will not be read and when you have something that’s really important, guess what?  Straight into the trash.
- Noisy press releases include, so-and-so has just joined the firm as CFO.  If so-and-so isn’t well known, it’s not newsworthy
Meander around and tell a long story with the point, or news nugget, at the very end.
- If I gave an example here, you’d be asleep or gone by the time you hit the third line
Assume the recipient understands your industry’s jargon
- Jargon-type press releases include, The CFO of LIMA is a featured speaker on the USPTO IP panel at FSLV.

Do – Get to the bottom line(s) quickly

Create a catchy, SHORT, newsworthy headline which gives the bottom line in it – like a news story headline.
- LVMH Gives Middle Finger To Hermes, Acquires More Shares Despite Enormous Fine
If you have an existing relationship with an editor, separate their press release from the rest and customize it
- Susan, I think this information will be useful to the article you’re preparing
Make sure to put in quotes from key players in the action – it increases likelihood of the quote and point being picked up
- LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault had this to say about the situation….

For other tips, all necessary to create a powerful press release, and to increase your branding, check out the two links below.

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15014.aspx?goback=.gde_64854_member_266792579#

http://www.nwcphp.org/communications/news/the-nine-components-of-a-press-release

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Franchising

By , August 31, 2013 8:20 am

Thinking about franchising? Either buying one or starting one?  Check out the stats.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Pitching Perfect: Fundraising fashion right now – The One Page Pitch

By , August 24, 2013 9:27 am

For years start-ups have been sending investors and other potential funding sources their business plans. With more and more start-ups pitching these days, and funders having less and less time to review them all, a new trend is emerging about how to approach funders.  It’s the one-page pitch. Get to the point immediately.   Here are some basic questions the answers to which should be included:

·         What’s the problem?
·         How are you solving it?
·         Who’s your customer?
·         How will your solution make money (your business model)?
·         What stage is your company in right now?
·         How much money are you looking for?
·         What are you going to do with the funds?
·         What’s the payback horizon and how much return will the funder get on their investment?

What’s really good about the one-page pitch is that it can be a significant way to force you to clarify, condense and articulate your ideas.

John Ason, an angel investor, often speaks about the one-page pitch:  he has approximately 1-3 minutes to look at your idea. And it had all better be on that one page. And not single spaced with no white space on the page. If it’s not visually inviting, he won’t read it. John always offers very pointed and amusing illustrations of how he wants to invest. When asked what John looks for in a management team, his answer includes passion but he also says the combined age of the two principals should not be more than his age.  Another, related to return on investment, is that the payout should not extend past his lifetime – his event horizon (as is that of many investors) is a 10x earnings return on his investment in a reasonable time frame (usually less than five years).

To learn more about John, how he works, what he looks for when investing, what he’s invested in etc.
http://www.johnason.com/

Check out Martin Zwilling’s post on pitching angel investors – BTW these points hold true for VC and other pitches as well.
http://www.alleywatch.com/2013/08/10-guidelines-for-pitching-angel-investors/?goback=.gde_3032640_member_267586133#

Here’s a first time funder’s story
http://viniciusvacanti.com/2013/04/16/lessons-learned-raising-6-million/

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Maintaining Integrity as You Grow Your Business

By , August 20, 2013 1:35 pm

How to maintain integrity in the creative and entertainment industries is a central question to the new and struggling creative entrepreneur. What you’re willing to compromise can define your career.

In this digital age of increased transparency, consumers want to know what to expect from a business and they readily share that information to broad social networks. This is why it’s important to set a precedent and maintain it; still, there are certain moments that call for flexibility.

Is responding to these calls necessary every time, and if so how flexible should one be? While the answers to these questions depend on the situation, overall one should be able to respond to these moments in a way that is consistent with the company’s and one’s own moral and social values. Set aside time to figure out what you and/or your company stands for as a creative and professional enterprise. Outlining these values now may help you maintain your integrity as your business grows.

Read more to gain insight on recognizing precarious compromises and get tips on maintaining integrity in your business:

http://www.thebusinessofbeingcreative.com/2013/06/18/the-problem-with-flexibility/

https://www.openforum.com/articles/the-importance-of-keeping-your-integrity-in-business-1/

Fashion Tech Event

By , August 17, 2013 10:26 am

If fashion tech interests you, or you are a fashion tech person, then this event is well worth attending.
http://fashiontech-ny.eventbrite.com/?utm_source=Copy+of+Copy+of+Copy+of+Events+June%2FJuly+2013&utm_campaign=MAY+2012&utm_medium=email

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

The Three C’s

By , August 10, 2013 8:56 am

Be mindful of the triple C’s at all times:
Your Company, Your Customer and Your Competition.

It’s important to have a 360 view of your business universe so that you are prepared to never be caught by surprise and never miss an opportunity.  At the point where the three overlap, you’re in the zone.

Your Customer:
·         You’re focused on their needs and wants
·         At the same time, you’re keeping up with the trends, not just current, but anticipating and maybe even creating future ones
·         You’re always staying in touch with them

Your Competition:
·         Where are they weak
·         Where are they vulnerable
·         What aren’t they doing that you can do
·         What are they doing that you can do better

Your Company:
·         What skills do you have in house – are you maximizing them
·         What are your assets (especially intellectual property and capital – this means your employees)
·         What kind of culture have you created that everyone lives in – internally and externally

For more on the subject, check out some strategic insight offered by the Harvard Review
http://hbr.org/2007/11/strategic-insight-in-three-circles/ar/


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Double A-Team

By , August 3, 2013 10:50 am

The Design Entrepreneurs NYC (http://www.designentrepreneursnyc.com/)  program is in full swing.  One of the programs’ many offerings is an open classroom “mentoring” evening, where designers in the program can swing by and ask questions of instructors who are there for that purpose.  It’s a great and informal way to get multiple opinions, points-of-view and advice on the designers’ company, business plan (which they write as part of the program) etc.

This recent Wednesday evening I was co-mentoring with Shawn Grain Carter, who teaches Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at FIT.  The subject, as often happens, was brought up of designers negotiating with big companies – this could mean, contracts, licenses, royalties, intellectual property, employment, or all of the above.  Many design entrepreneurs do these negotiations alone. Sometimes they feel they have enough knowledge to negotiate well for themselves. Sometimes they don’t know any better. Sometimes they don’t have the money to pay an attorney to go with them to help and advocate for them (and to keep them out of trouble).  We discussed this in class and Shawn and I agreed that an entrepreneur absolutely needs an attorney to accompany them to such negotiation meetings.  Or a business person, like an accountant.  Or both. And Shawn advised everyone, and I agree, that they should have double A’s – an accountant and an attorney.  They both keep you safe in any kind of business negotiation.

It’s a necessity in the fashion business but also in every sector. At the very least, there’s a second pair of ears listening to what’s going on and picking out important points that the entrepreneur might miss. At the very most, your A-team keeps you from making costly, and sometimes business-ending, mistakes. The world is littered with stories of failure because the entrepreneurs couldn’t or wouldn’t bring an attorney or accountant into a crucial negotiation (and, let’s face it, every negotiation when you’re a small business is crucial) with them.

I know you’ve heard me say this before…but repeating it never hurts…always use an attorney and/or accountant in contract reviews, negotiations, any business matter.  The fees you pay your Double A-Team are minor compared with the money they save or help you get in the long run.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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