Angel Investor

 

To jump or not to jump? Image credit:kathyharrisbooks.com

This is an age-old question. Sometimes we find ourselves in the rigid position of having to decide wether to share the full content of your business idea with a seemingly willing investor, or just hold back some aspects of your business model just incase he runs aways with your idea.

Finding an investor willing to listen to your business ideas is hard enough but having one willing to go a step further and request for your business plan. However, it has happened on many occasions that upon receiving business plan, and realising the idea has the potential to be a hit, investors have taken the opportunity of having the financial clout to steal these ideas or short-change the owner of the intellectual property.

This has made many entrepreneurs wary of them and as such have become very cautious with who they share their ideas with. It’s the way of the world, nothing can change that. Having said that, something has to give. Do you want to remain (and probably die) with your idea? or are you willing to take the chance that some rich investor or Venture Capitalist take your idea and you are left with nothing? Tough choice to make if you ask me. But it shouldn’t be that tough.

I came across the following saying: “Don’t get emotionally attached to your ideas. Be ruthless about killing off the medium performing ideas and just keep the absolute best.” – Ethan Austin 

Its true isn’t it?  For me I think every entrepreneur caught in the middle of this particular dilemma should surely take a chance. If you don’t you will never know. Investors can be sharks who strike when they smell blood, and in addition, they tend not to wait a long time for one particular entrepreneur to decide wether or not to share your business plans with them.

While advising to take the chance and share your plans with them, you must take a few points into consideration. I have come up with 4 proven steps to take BEFORE taking the leap with an investor. Follow these steps and making that decision whether or not to share your ideas with an investor becomes that bit easier.

  1. Ensure you carry out a DETAILED research about the investor. There’s nothing wrong with you asking an investor to send a bit of information about themselves. However you also need to find out about them yourselves. Is he trustworthy? Has he invested in other businesses before? Have you spoken to these other business to find out what was invested and how he invested? What is the general perception of this investor from the public or people who work for and with him? Are there any rumours about him at all? Good or bad? Is there any reason to question his integrity? Carry out this research till you are satisfied.
  2. Put yourself in a solid legal position by asking him to sign a NON DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT (NDA). Basically what the form does is to protect you should he run away with your business idea. It is best to speak to a lawyer and seek some advise. It won’t cost you money for a 5min conversation with a lawyer friend. It will only cost you time.
  3. Be open with the investor. Tell him you just want to be safe with your idea. Tell him also that you want to send him an NDA if he doesn’t mind. Make sure you keep majority of your conversation to email. That way, you will have some evidence of transactions and correspondence with the investor.
  4. Finally pray and then follow your instincts.

 We are all very protective of our ideas, but the question is are you willing to take a chance? In the end, it will all come down to your instincts and a bit of business intelligence.

Kole Obasa

 

This is why I choose Apple. To stand out and be successful, every business must have 1 of 2 things: they must be cost leaders or they must be different. The truly successful businesses have both qualities.

The leadership and direction of Apple under Steve Jobs was truly revolutionary and should be the template for many businesses today.

Enjoy the video.

Steve Jobs on Innovation. Click to play the video.

 

 

Image courtesy of businessgross.com

Image courtesy of businessgross.com

Its not Tourette’s, its just me venting.

It’s impossible not to notice the daylight fraud being perpetuated on entrepreneurs and start-ups these days. On one hand they tell you to run wild with your idea, entrepreneurs rule the world, there’s nothing like working for yourself bla bla bla.

You then decide to allow yourself be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and at that moment in your life, I can tell you that your struggle has only just began. By that, I don’t mean the general cliché you hear from successful entrepreneurs spitting advice from their 50ft yatch moored somewhere in the Bahamas about how tough it is to truly bring a product to market or how to strike the right work-life balance bla bla bla. I’m talking about the real struggle of actually having no damn person believing enough in your idea to want to invest in it.

I’m talking about the struggle of having a brilliant idea, and all you have asides that, is your proverbial manhood in your hand. I’m talking about NO INVESTOR, NO FUNDS, NO FINANCE, NO GRANTS, NO BACKING, NO BACKING, NO DAMN BACKING.

Too many people patronise entrepreneurs these days; nobody is out to help us. We just need to help ourselves. I’ve had a look at every single Startup assistance, Loan Company and broker. None, but none of them really care about your needs; it’s just about the bottom line y’all. Is that not enough to make you want to say F** F*** S***???

Explain to me how all Startup loan companies want you to give your blood in order to get money from them? How investors want you to give your soul to get investment? And how brokers want to have 99.9999 % shares in the company you have not even incorporated because they have done you a favor by connecting you to an ANGEL INVESTOR? Did you say ANGEL??? DEVIL DEVIL DEVIL. F****** H***

You are a startup for a reason, you don’t have any f****** money, but a brilliant idea that could rock the world. Such a shame that most will let your ideas die than to invest in you and your idea. You know why? Because no one f****** cares.

So, are you a budding entrepreneur? Do you have a wicked startup idea? Or are looking to one day work for no one but yourself? You need to get lucky because no one really cares. But guess what, you can do it!!!

Entrepreneurs need to work real damn hard, put themselves out there, network and GET LUCKY, to have a chance of investment or success. A good friend of mine summarises it succinctly: “when I see the word #Investor all I hear is rejection. For me the only option is 2 hustle my way to that million”
 – 29/07/2014. 
I have sacrificed a week of my life to research this. I dare any Angel investor and broker to prove me wrong. No one really cares. I also dare any Startup loan company to prove me wrong. No one really cares about your idea; they all care about their bottom line.

I totally understand that following the recession, most investors need to be careful with their money but they also need to trust Startups. I mean c’mon guys. Most Innovators will die with their ideas and startups, why?? Because no one has 100% trust in it. This is Wrong, so wrong. Makes me wanna scream: THIS IS SO F****** annoying!!
Every Business need to make money but don’t disguise yourself as one trying to help Startups if you are only interested in Numero Uno.

Oh, also, startup and investor jargon is so unnecessary. Do you want to invest in my idea? Simple Yes or No will suffice, Thank you for not wasting my time you F****** W****

Pitching your idea to investors should not be an assessment of your presentation or oral skills. A good idea is a good idea PERIOD. Entrepreneurship is for everyone, entrepreneurial success is only for a lucky few. That needs to change.
I know of a Hungarian dude who designed the Google glasses 2 years ago. Never got to see the light of day because no one believed in him.
Us Entrepreneurs are the most critical bunch known to mankind. We pride ourselves on the help and assistance we render up and coming entrepreneurs, but deep down, we really don’t care.

I wish I could help every Entrepreneur, I wish I’m superman. For once, the British Government is somewhat blameless in this (emphasis on ‘somewhat y’all). There are some good initiatives to kick start entrepreneurship in the country, its just that its been taken over by rogue Venture Capitalists, brokers and F****** investors and investment companies.

There is an initiative called the NEW ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE. This is supposed to assist anybody willing to start a new business with a grant of £1000. Are you F****** kidding me? £1000???

£1000 to all new entrepreneurs is nothing short of insulting. Tell me, what business can you start and sustain on £1000? in this difficult economic times? The New enterprise allowance should be given on a case-by-case basis. You can’t simply give £1k to everyone with a business idea. Some startups require £500 to begin, while others require close to £100k. Somehow both figures are not the same.

Would love to see entrepreneurs thrive in this country. Kids of school age should be encouraged to be creative by doing business too.
Not everyone can be a Doctor or Scientist. Heck, some people just want to trade. Can that be wrong? I have never used my Aviation degree, not once in my life. But I constantly use my Self-taught Business degree.
Met a graphics designer last night who needed £7k to startup, she ended up getting £1k from the govt. Obviously the startup folded. Surprise F****** Surprise.
I am sick and tired of tips and advice on getting funds for startups. The only thing startups need is practical solutions on getting these damn funds. Everywhere you turn to these days, you’ll find someone giving tips and advice on Starting up, on Funding. All equals = No practical solutions!!

If you are lucky enough to identify a grant provider from the millions available, there’s always a catch… North of England Startups only, age 24-30 only, non-construction only. Oh, F*** OFF!! 
Another pissed off friend said: “The only way is to raise it yourself man, to me start up funding is a myth. Don’t even waste your time paying $$$ to brokers as well”
 Its a vicious cycle with one GOLDEN RULE — The rich will only get richer, the poor will only remain poorer and the rest of us just need to catch a F****** break.

Ok, maybe there are days you wake up angry at the world. Just pissed off with everything and everyone. Today is one of those days, tomorrow might be too.

Kole Obasa

Graduation

It always occurred to me that even though there are so many of life’s fundamental questions that remain unanswered, there still seem to be an active support or following for a particular course of action.

Why do a degree course when you could simply get into the work force and build your way to top management in a couple of years time? Or why do a degree course if you will end up in the middle management sphere at most? Reasons for this ‘anti’ argument vary greatly. There are many reasons students find themselves tied down to academia for 3 (maybe more) years of their lives.

It is fascinating sometimes to hear the various reasons people give for being in higher education. Many of us have no other option than to study. African and to a large extent Asian parents find it sacrilegious, a taboo even to not attend and successfully complete a degree program. Some even have their career paths and indeed degree courses chosen for them. Having a ‘good Degree’ represented a sense of pride; a sense of belonging, and an opportunity for a social standing that is unparalleled. A tidal wave of consequences would normally await the wards of many who wouldn’t rethink.
This stance can be justified though since in many parts of the world, a first degree is not even enough to get you through the ever revolving doors of employment, talk less of not even having one at all.

I use to think I was one of the lucky few in this regard; My father, being an Air force pilot always either made me believe my career in life was completely left to me to decide or he didn’t participate in any discuss regarding it. This made me feel somewhat empowered to do what I felt was right for me. So if I decided not to do a degree, so be it. Right?

Looking back now, it occurred to me the little remarks and innuendo about the Air force being ‘A great way of life” a motto I carried with me and recited all my life was not just a motto, it was me being buttered up to study and either join the Air force as an officer, or study and become a pilot. I remember how as a reward for ‘good behaviour’ my brother and I were allowed into the cockpit of huge military transport planes (C130) almost on a daily basis. We weren’t that well behaved, at least not daily. He would talk about flying and the Air force non-stop and he still does. This wasn’t a punishment, neither was it any form of reward, he was simply nudging us towards a career path he felt was best above all. So much so, I nurtured an ambition to be a pilot all my life (I still do) I also ended up in the military for a short while. My brother came very close.

Some of us do it because it’s the next logical step; it follows a set pattern – primary, secondary and tertiary education. Something that just has to be done. Not because of any kind of pressure from any quarter, but simply because its logical.

Believe it or not, some others do it out of sheer curiosity. Why is 1+1 really 2? What really is the General Theory of Relativity and what does Einstein mean by this? It is true that some in academia will forever strive to conquer the summit of learning. Many are successful! If you think that attaining a Doctorate Degree is the end of true education, think again. Education is constant and continuous, and knowledge is never lost.

There is also the ‘clubbing and drinking’ culture, which also makes higher education appealing to many. Heck, who wouldn’t relish an unsupervised and wild social life? Putting the appeal of this into perspective, one can see a reason for the influx of many to Universities. Party hard, drink harder, play hardest; by the way, there’s the small issue of a degree course to consider.

The harder economic times, the recession as many know it forced the hands of most employers who somewhat unfairly subsequently attached stringent measures to their recruitment drive. One of these measures and in order to be able to stand out from the rest of the crowd was a ‘good University Degree’ as a minimum for entry. Some go as far as requesting professional courses as well as university degrees. The reaction to these sometime draconian measures was an increase in undergraduate numbers. But, there is research that supports a steady increase in salary for recent graduates; so it’s not all bad news. Keeping ahead of the competition has never been more justifiable.

Regardless of the motive, motivation and end result, certain school of thought continually refer to statistics that indicate a steady rise in graduates (at least in this country) Their argument, one might add, also lends credence to higher education being seen as the benchmark of the political leadership in the UK, a standard which is unchangeable or undiluted. To even consider going for the top job, the British Prime Minister, political acumen is and will never be enough. It is surely the norm these days to have a leader who is ‘Educated’ and this extends to leaders of mainstream political opposition as well.

But believing the above statement would mean the land is and will continue to be ruled by the educated elite. This is simply not true. On the other side of the divide, you will find strong argument supporting the notion that so many (particularly entrepreneurs) have made it to the very top without spending a day inside a lecture room. Two or three British names will continually spring to mind when laying down this argument – Sir Alan Sugar, Sir Richard Branson. If we want to go global, then Bill Gates and Steve Jobs will complete the list of names of giants of industry who did not attend university. But are they uneducated? Honorary degrees aside, could even the most worthy academic match these Billionaires toe to toe in any current, global or business issue? I think not, simply because learning and qualifications are 2 separate entities. These guys have learnt their ways to be qualified enough to hold their own in their respective industries. Truly fascinating wouldn’t you say?

This article is pregnant with questions and surely provokes a bout of self-reflection, but then it was designed to be. One thing is clear though, choosing higher education is increasingly no longer a luxury, it is gradually becoming the norm and an undeniable fact is that regardless of your rationale and reason(s), there appears to be no downside to it. It is sure! You win a prize at the end, which helps you massively in your life, and you lose nothing.

So, why are you in higher education? I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for myself. My answer is unpretentious, I have always operated on a simple ethos in life – I have a dream not a plan. In order to attain this dream, I need to attain a good degree. It’s that simple.

Kole Obasa