Top 5 funding mistakes by entrepreneurs

– Adam Hoeksema is the founder and CEO of startup consultancy firm ExecutivePlan. This article appeared on Under30CEO. The views expressed are his own. –

For most entrepreneurs these days, funding is nearly impossible to come by.

According to the report titled, “Important Things for Entrepreneurs to Know about Angel Investors” and distributed by the Angel Capital Education Foundation, only 1 to 4 percent of applicants successfully raise angel investment capital. So before you ruin your chance at securing investors, make sure you have not committed any of the following deadly mistakes.

1. Wait until you need it. So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of waiting until they need the capital “tomorrow” to begin the process of seeking funding. Make no mistake about it, the process of raising capital can take months and months. Even a simple loan will require enough paperwork to kill a small tree. Ironically bankers and investors are more likely to provide you with additional capital when you don’t need it. So don’t wait until you have an immediate need to begin the funding process.

2. Submit a full business plan. Another great way to get your funding application thrown in the trash is to submit an unsolicited, full business plan. An investor or banker is not going to waste two hours to read through an entire business plan with your initial funding request. Submit a short executive summary, then if you are asked to submit a full business plan – great. Just don’t start with your business plan.

3. Claim “conservative” projections. It can be a major turn off to some investors and bankers when you call your financial projections “conservative.” Of course you think your projections are conservative, but the fact of the matter is that many, if not most, businesses fail within a few years of launch. If every entrepreneur’s projections were truly conservative, then why are so many small businesses unsuccessful at reaching their projections? Don’t let yourself sound ignorant. Simply state your projections and let the bankers or investors make their own judgment.

Summit Series: Capitalizing on ideas?

Katharine Herrup is the Opinion Editor for Reuters.com. This is the last of a three-part series on Summit Series. Read Part I: “A new kind of currency” and Part II: “Entrepreneurs set sail”.

Every member of Summit Series sold their belongings or shipped them back home to their parents’ place so they could travel with just one suitcase and live in different cities every six weeks. The idea is to meet “interesting” people face-to-face who are doing something good.

“It’s a time in our life to see the world,” Summit Series co-creator Elliott Bisnow said. “And to do that and to live with your best friends and work with them is incredible.”

Health insurance advice for entrepreneurs

– Ryan Hanley is a Commercial Account Executive for Guilderland Agency Inc and author of the “Albany Insurance Professional” blog located at www.RyanHanley.com. This article originally appeared on Under30CEO. The views expressed are his own. –

For an entrepreneur, skimping on insurance – especially health insurance – is like playing Russian Roulette with your future.

At no time in your business’s growth will the health and wellness of employees be more important than the startup years. Think about the set-back in growth if the founder of a second year business became ill and had to miss a month. A terrifying scenario for most young businesses.

Summit Series: Entrepreneurs set sail

Katharine Herrup is the Opinion Editor for Reuters.com. This is the second of a three-part series on Summit Series. Read the first part here.

The first major Summit Series event happened in May of 2010. Just after starting the company two years ago, the team of seven young men between the ages of 24 and 26, were able to get President Bill Clinton, media mogul Ted Turner and co-founder of the Carlyle Group David Rubinstein to come and speak. They were a part of an impressive group of 750 attendees.

“We hosted the country’s most innovative young minds and thought leaders from presidents to astronauts to social media gurus to photographers to celebrities,” Josh Zabar, one of the original seven members, said.

7 tips for landing an SBA loan

– Rachel Zippwald is the vice president of California Bank & Trust, a major SBA lender. The views expressed are her own. –

Small businesses seeking financing are in for a bit of good luck these days.

Special Small Business Administration incentives, such as the waiver of certain fees, are still available until the end of the year, so now is the time to apply for financing. There are, however, a few caveats.

While SBA loans are available, it may take a bit more work to obtain one and banks are requiring more information than they have in the past. The following are a few tips to facilitate getting your SBA loan approved.

Summit Series: A new kind of currency

Katharine Herrup is the Opinion Editor for Reuters.com. This is the first part of a three part series on Summit Series. Read part two: “Entrepreneurs set sail”.

Who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur these days?

The end result sounds ideal: doing exactly what you want to do. Of course getting a business up and running is incredibly tough work that mostly ends in failure, but if yours is one of the rarer ones to succeed, then you have accomplished what every person dreams of — being your own boss.

Elliott Bisnow and Brett Leve, 25 and 26, created Summit Series, an event-driven company that brings together social entrepreneurs in their twenties and thirties to share their ideas and hopefully achieve a greater impact. As the name implies, Summit Series is all about gatherings.

10 tips for securing angel or venture funding

– Chris Lynch is vice president of economic development at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed are his own. –

During the Internet boom, investors were mostly interested in the potential of a company. These days nothing is considered a sure thing and if your startup business isn’t on the right track, or if you haven’t done your homework as an entrepreneur, then you won’t have much luck raising capital.

The following are 10 tips to help you secure the financial support and funding your business may need to succeed.

Don’t celebrate until the cash is in the bank

– Mark Suster is a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog “Both Sides of the Table”. –

Recently I wrote a blog post about how I hated losing, but I embrace it as a way to learn, improve and increase my win rates.

One of the things I learned from my “post-game analysis” is that you’re most vulnerable right after you’ve won the deal. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but my experience tells me it’s true. At the moment you pop the champagne cork and let down your guard is when you’re easiest to attack.

Microsoft-i4i fight has big patent implications

What has been an interesting side show over the last few years, has taken on a much greater significance with the latest news that Microsoft’s appeal of a patent win by software minnow i4i will be heard by the Supreme Court.

When the two combatants eventual square off in Washington, D.C. sometime next spring, tech companies large and small will be closely following every legal punch thrown.

In the Microsoft camp will be heavyweights Google and Yahoo and trade groups such as the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Small business gets in on turkey madness

Small businesses are largely shutout from the consumer-generated madness surrounding the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.

So this year the folks at American Express decided to create an alternate celebration for Main Street USA: Small Business Saturday.

Sandwiched in between those hyperbolic retail extravaganzas, the small business fete (this year held on November 27) is a chance to patronize local independently-owned businesses. For its part,  Amex is rewarding the first 10,000 small businesses that sign up on the event’s Facebook page $100 worth of free advertising on the social networking site. In addition the first 100,000 Amex card holders who sign up and make a credit card purchase at a local small business will receive a $25 credit applied to their statement.