Monday, June 27, 2016

How a 1 Page Business Plan Can Help Your Startup Business or Established Company & Why Some Entrepreneurs DO NOT Need a Business Plan

Now I have written over 200 business plans for clients large and small.  Everyone from the individual entrepreneur with a startup company to the public company worth hundreds of millions.  When a client first calls or contacts me they always have a reason for why they need a business plan.  For the most part these reasons are valid, but occasionally my clients simply need guidance and since many organizations or consultants are sheep; they suggest that they "need" a business plan.

This is simply not true.

Now like I mentioned, sometimes business plans are needed.  In the case of many loans from the SBA or SCORE or other types or business associations, business plans are required.  The same goes for those attempting to attract investors whom will for the most part undoubtedly and eventually say "Can you send me a business plan?".  For these situations they are needed.  

The business plan is a working document, once it is written and finalized it should only be a matter of days or hours even until the business plan is old and stale.  After all, the business plan will outline where the business is going-which means that you should be moving in that direction.  And if you are moving then what you outlined in the business plan will be old news before the ink dries.  

If you are simply looking for guidance or a way to fully flush out your business idea or project I suggest a 1 page business plan.  This accomplishes two things.  1) It makes you write down your goals and ideas and 2) It helps develop your elevator pitch (something many clients have trouble doing--if you can not describe it simply and quickly you will have a hard time trying to convince others of your idea or startup business). 

So what should you include in your one page business plan?  The same thing that is included in a normal business plan except consolidated to one page.  This includes the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.  Some formats, like the picture in this post, include the Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Action Plan sections.  This is sufficient enough to get to what you really need to be doing: testing the market through action, talking to potential customers and selling or pre-selling your product or service.  After starting and operating many unsuccessful business and several successful businesses I can assure you one thing-things will not go exactly as planned.  As a matter of fact, they rarely go as plan and you should not restrict yourself to an outline so tight that is caused you to miss opportunities you do not know about yet.

A one page business plan can vary in form but the end result should include Action Steps or what I like to call "What Next?".  This should include more than "Get an Investor" or "Get a Loan"!!  Actually do not include that in the plan.  If the ONLY way your business venture or idea will succeed is by getting money from someone else--you failed already.  Your business goal is simple--build a self-sustaining business.  This will include something you sell for money again and again and again.  And remember, you have to make more money than you spend.  Duh!

Why Some Entrepreneurs DO NOT Need a Business Plan

If you are following me in this post then you understand that your job is to run a business not plan a business.  I have had clients from Dubai to Australia, as far as England to China and of course the USA.  Often I run into an entrepreneur that just "needs to complete a business plan to get this business off the ground."  After probing further I hear from the client that he can not make the big pitch without a pitch deck, and then a website ... "before I start I need to make sure these things are done." they say.  These people generally do not need a business plan they need a swift kick in the ass to get them moving.  Yes I repeat, these people need a swift kick in the ass to get them out of the "start phase" or "planning phase" to the phase where they are actually doing something productive--like talking to potential customers.

I have had clients who want to open an online store who spent money on pitch decks and private placement memorandums and research and then they come to me for a business plan.  By the time they get to me they already spent over $1,000 on a bunch of presentation material to tell me how great their idea is....and I always hit them with the obvious "Hey you know you probably could have already had the website up and running with the $1,000 you spent right?".  They commonly reply with "I am not ready yet."

You may think that this does not apply to you because "My idea is different" or "I can't build it without a big investment" which may be true.  Just make sure you are not the person that is constantly planning.  To decipher which side of the coin you are on listen to how you talk to people about your business.  If you are saying "I am looking to start...."  "I'm planning on starting...." "I'm thinking about starting..."  I can almost assure you that you are in the pre-work phase where nothing really happens expect dreams of success.  Most business products or services (even applications) regardless of the industry can be tested, pre-sold, sold, built or proven without a business plan.  The entrepreneur or CEO simply must commit and not be scared to actually start working as opposed to planning.  Many of these potential clients that come to me I end up working with on their "Next Actions" as opposed to a business plan.  This is because many of the times although they come to me for a business plan to delineate what needs to be done, they already know what they need to do.  They don't need a business plan they need a swift kick and the ability to self identify as someone who is "doing" rather than "planning on doing".

-Nick Coriano

______________________________________________________________
About the Author: Nicholas Coriano is a Business Consultant.  He is a graduate of The University of Connecticut Business School and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  He has worked at Merrill Lynch, The New York Stock Exchange and is currently a partner at Cervitude Intelligent Relations, which specializes in Investor Relations for companies valued under $1 Billion USD.

About MicroCapCompany.COM: MicroCapCompany.COM (The Blog) is a blog focused on providing articles, news and information on the micro cap sector and start-ups.  The Blog is a free service offered by Cervitude™ Investor Relations - a micro cap investor relations firm for micro cap companies and penny stocks.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see covered on The Blog, email us. If you would like to advertise on The Blog, click here. 

Have tips, advice, questions, comments or suggestions about this article??  Comment below or start a conversation by mentioning us on twitter! -



Friday, May 27, 2016

Stop Touting Penny Stocks & OTC Micro Cap Companies: How to Maximize Your Investor Relations Campaign with Social Media

The Investor Relations Series is supported by Cervitude Intelligent Relations, a leading investor relations firm for public companies trading OTC, TSX, Nasdaq and other public company stock exchanges. Cervitude Intelligent Relations offers company promotions and business development services for micro cap companies and penny stocks. Visit Cervitude.com for recent industry research, whitepapers, news and updates.


Social Media has been used and abused by penny stock promoters since its inception.  Commonly stock touters unknowingly and uncaring promote the daily volume of penny stocks or small cap stocks trading over the counter and hint, urge or flat out recommend the purchase of the stock.  Social media platforms like twitter, facebook and blogs are riddled with "touters" that seek to pump up the stock, and some do, but most companies (some of which directly hire these "touters") don't see any long term benefit and most stocks being blasted through social media end up plunging after the short sprint promotion is over.  And the aftermath of perception it brings to real investors is catastrophic.



Blogs and other social networks can work tremendously for companies if they used them to sell their goods or services, after all, their is a company underlying the stock that is looking to make money right?  I give you two different accounts in social media and you can determine for yourself which becomes more appealing to investors:

  • Social Media Post #1: Stock Symbol XXX trading today with heavy volume, reaching new lows and a great opportunity to buy!!  Quarterly financials showed 8% growth!!!
  • Social Media Post #1: Company XXX offers new time saving service to client in the business sector, see how you can save by using our/their services

Here's the deal: Most OTC Stocks are available to be purchased only by accredited investors, this means the 21 year old in his dorm room with no assets and $5,000 to spend on penny stocks is restricted from buying them.  The focus thus becomes venture capital and institutional funds, family offices and angel investors.  Are they looking to social media for a good stock pick?

The focus of this article is how to maximize your investor relations campaigns with social media, now knowing that the target market for a penny stock or micro cap companies trading over the counter are (1) Funds (2) Family Offices and (3) Angel Investors; let's take a quick look at what they may see on your social media platform"

Venture Capital & Institutional Funds
Fund and VCs that normally invest in OTC stocks or Penny Stocks come in various forms but for the past few years more and more are present ready to buy your shares....at the right price.  This price is generally well below market value (purchased in block amounts) and most players in the micro cap sector are selling their stock at a profit as soon as they can.  Buy low, sell high.  This allows them to continuously sell their purchased shares at a profit (sometimes) and re-purchase shares.  The issue becomes the downward pressure the sell-off by the funds cause.  This depletes the stock price, already low pennies, and the end game is a sub-penny stock that eventually dissipates.  If you can get them to buy into your long term vision of the company, the discounts are not as great and some investors even buy on the open market.

Family Offices
These offices, generally funded by a family or individual, at times seek long term investments and at times look for the same thing as funds.  Again, you have to sell them the vision, if not, you are selling them a security and this okay, but the vision unlike a financial instrument like a stock; can be invaluable.

Angel Investors
In the past finding a real angel investor was hard; they were far and few in between and they did not advertise.  Today sites like Angel List, Gust and a slew of new equity crowdfunding websites host a wide variety of "angel investors" or at least people whom have set up profiles and act as angel investors.

Well...are VC, Funds, Family Offices & Angel Investors looking on Social Media for their next investment???

Sort of.  Depending on how you define social media your prospective investors are already to sitting out on the Internet waiting for you to call them.  From LinkedIn to Twitter many executives or funds or venture capital firms are easily find-able.  While they may not be looking for an investment online, you can be sure that most will do due diligence and check your social media profiles if you contact them or if by chance they happen to find your company.

So How does your company Maximize Your Investor Relations Campaign with Social Media?

Part of the answer was in the title of this blog post; Stop Touting Penny Stocks & OTC Micro Cap Companies and start promoting the actual business!  In the 2 sample social media post mentioned before in this blog post, only one will drive traffic to sales for the company while the other may drive temporary stock purchases.  Here are the reasons you should focus on company businesses rather than promoting the fact that you are traded publicly:  

  • SEC rules frown and sometime outright forbid touting securities (especially during the quiet period between when a company files for registration of securities and the time the SEC approves the registration of those securities).  
  • Long term investors care about your business and the vetted investor can tell a stock pump promotion over a company that is building a sustainable business (ie those companies whom are touting their services or products vs their stock)
  • Social media can help the sale, pre-sale or bulk-sale of your product or service, which in turns generates more revenue---which ends up on your SEC quarterly filings.  And this is what investors really care about.  Show improve; if your revenues are up quarter after quarter you can almost assure liquidity in your stock, research coverage and cheap capital.  

In short, your social media should compliment your business story/pitch.  If your pitch deck or powerpoint presentation to investors showcases the development of a search engine or a gold mine and your twitter and facebook are constantly posting about your trading volume or a new research report that promotes a new "buy rating" on your stock; you are not telling the same story on social media as on your website or pitch.  

Be authentic, be bold and build a great business and there will be no need to "tout" your stock.  You will be able to maximize stock promotions and investor relations because their is a solid growing business underlying the securities you are offering or are trading on public markets.

-Nick

______________________________________________________________
About the Author: Nicholas Coriano is a Business Consultant and Planning Guru.  He is a graduate of The University of Connecticut Business School and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  He has worked at Merrill Lynch, The New York Stock Exchange and is currently a partner at Cervitude Investor Relations, which specializes in Investor Relations for companies valued under $1 Billion USD.

About MicroCapCompany.COM: MicroCapCompany.COM (The Blog) is a blog focused on providing articles, news and information on the micro cap sector and start-ups.  The Blog is a free service offered by Cervitude™ Investor Relations - a micro cap investor relations firm for micro cap companies and penny stocks.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see covered on The Blog, email us. If you would like to advertise on The Blog, click here. 

Have tips, advice, comment or suggestions about this article??  Comment below or start a conversation by mentioning us on twitter! -


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mining & Entertainment Mogul Frank Giustra Talks Money, Gold, Business & Relationship with Bill Clinton

In life, it is not good enough to have a solid plan or even startup capital.  More important than all those things are who you learn from.  In 2016 we have been encouraging micro cap company CEOs and startup entrepreneurs to gravitate to mentors that have accomplished great things in their lives.

This month we are showcasing a talk with Frank Giustra, the founder of Lions Gate Entertainment and an advocate of the "juniors" in the mining sector on the TSX.  A Canadian pure entrepreneur,  Frank discusses investments in gold, how he and Bill Clinton are helping the world and more.  From mining to olive oil, nothing is slowing Frank down these days and here at MicroCapCompany.com we think he is one of the most under-rated business executives in the world.

If you follow him on Twitter, you will see his agenda is more than just business.  From the refugee crisis in the middle east and Africa to his investment in ModernFarmer.com he strives to bring awareness and change where it is needed most.. ..he is a perfect example of a person investing & making money while doing the right thing.



-Hope this was helpful

-Nick

______________________________________________________________
About the Author: Nicholas Coriano is a Business Consultant and Planning Guru.  He is a graduate of The University of Connecticut Business School and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  He has worked at Merrill Lynch, The New York Stock Exchange and is currently a partner at Cervitude Investor Relations, which specializes in Investor Relations for companies valued under $1 Billion USD.

About MicroCapCompany.COM: MicroCapCompany.COM (The Blog) is a blog focused on providing articles, news and information on the micro cap sector and start-ups.  The Blog is a free service offered by Cervitude™ Investor Relations - a micro cap investor relations firm for micro cap companies and penny stocks.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see covered on The Blog, email us. If you would like to advertise on The Blog, click here. 

Have tips, advice, comment or suggestions about this article??  Comment below or start a conversation by mentioning us on twitter! -

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tech Leaders: Steve Jobs & Bill Gates Talks Shop In Epic Interview About Internet Of Things

Welcome back to MicroCapCompany.com's video lecture series by prominent founders and CEOs.  Last month we featured Carl Icahn talking about his investments and how he managed to acquire a large portfolio of public companies.  This month we feature an oldie but a goodies, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in the same interview.  In this interview the foresee the future of computers and technology.  Here at MicroCapCompany.com we expect all hope to see start-ups, micro cap companies and small cap companies reach the level of Apple Inc and Microsoft Inc....so learn from those whom have accomplished what you are looking to accomplish:



-Hope this was helpful

-Nick

______________________________________________________________
About the Author: Nicholas Coriano is a Business Consultant and Planning Guru.  He is a graduate of The University of Connecticut Business School and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  He has worked at Merrill Lynch, The New York Stock Exchange and is currently a partner at Cervitude Investor Relations, which specializes in Investor Relations for companies valued under $1 Billion USD.

About MicroCapCompany.COM: MicroCapCompany.COM (The Blog) is a blog focused on providing articles, news and information on the micro cap sector and start-ups.  The Blog is a free service offered by Cervitude™ Investor Relations (a micro cap investor relations firm) and offers compensated research reports and business plan writing services for micro cap companies and penny stocks.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see covered on The Blog, email CervitudeNetwork@gmail.com, If you would like to advertise on The Blog, click here. 



Have tips, advice, comment or suggestions about this article??  Comment below or start a conversation by mentioning us on twitter! -