[SaNOtize in The Times] ‘Natural’ nasal spray could stop virus before it enters the body

A Canadian nasal spray that has been shown to stop the coronavirus from spreading through the body will begin its first UK clinical trial tomorrow.

Read more here.

The post [SaNOtize in The Times] ‘Natural’ nasal spray could stop virus before it enters the body appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

How to softly kick a friend out before incorporating our business?

Hello everyone,

In last november, my brother, a programmer, had a business idea built around a software and a website. He is a stereotypical programmer with no other business skills than being a very good coder. He knows it and asked me and 3 other friends to help him build a business.

Fast forward today, we started already and we saw that the money at play here is not around 1k a week as initially thought but we could go as much as 20 or 30k a week in net profit as some competitors we didnt know about are making. We are on track to build something that has the potential to be big and we asked an attorney to help us build a contract so the business is finally legit (we havent made lots of money yet, but we want to expand and be a real entity)

The brother of one of my friend recently entered the team as he has skills (big data, stats) that we dont have and is important if we want to scale up. I know him since childhood and he is a solid guy and already a businessman himself, he is our mentor of some sort.

The problem is one of my friend did nothing at all since november and all 5 of us except him think he has no business with our company. He has no particular skill, only have high school diploma (we all have a bachelor except the mentor who has a master), has no relevent work experience and doesnt contribute to the discussion. When we talk about strategic plans, he talks about operational stuff, and thats when he talks.

The real problem is that he is our childhood friend. How do we kick him out by explaining that we dont see him as a plus value for us and that he is not ready for a business and still stay friends ? He is not a bad guy, just not a business guy.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

8 Business Lessons You Need To Learn Before Repeating

chasing-a-dreamHow many entrepreneurs do you know that “almost” made it big? Startups are very risky, and most fail. Yet entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing trends in business today. Surveys show that entrepreneurs are among the happiest people in the world, despite the challenges. Yet it would pay real dividends to know at the start what separates the “also-rans” from the winners.

As an advisor to many entrepreneurs and startups, I’m always looking for early signs that usually lead to an “almost” success, but I have found them hard to pin down. Maybe that’s the reason I was intrigued by the classic book, “Almost: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream,” from Hap Klopp and Brian Tarcy. It’s a true story of “almost” at Ardica Technologies in Silicon Valley.

Even startups with a cast of gifted geniuses and seasoned entrepreneurs can easily fall victim to these malaises. Here are the key lessons from this story and my experience that I believe every entrepreneur should take to heart:

  1. Invention without commercialization is not a business. Your technology may be amazing and the opportunity huge, but these alone don’t ensure a business success. It still requires solution delivery, a team working together, and customers with money to spend. Make sure you are building what customers want, rather than what you can build.
  1. Running short on money often leads to bad decisions. Vendors and most people on your team need to keep getting paid, or their loyalty quickly shifts to retribution. Crisis survival decisions can easily be counter-strategic and lead to product and people credibility gaps. Soliciting timely and adequate funding is more critical than development.

  1. Multiple cultures cannot co-exist in a single company. Culture is simply “the way we do things around here,” and it trumps strategy every time. Everyone on the team must share the same purpose, values, and goals. Culture clash can be some people driven by technology and others by customers. The founder sets the culture by words and actions.
  1. Startup leaders must exhibit trust and transparency. Successful entrepreneurs must create and maintain an environment of team trust to build loyalty and commitment. They need to focus on people behaviors, rather than personalities, to engender trust. Then they “say what they mean and mean what they say” all the time every time to prove it.
  1. Team conflict that turns into friction will slow you down. The best startup teams don’t shy away from healthy debates between team members or founders. That’s the way smart people with innovative insights make real change happen. But heated debates can generate so much emotion and friction that the entire team becomes dysfunctional.
  1. No amount of passion will save a solution that is not ready. If you solution doesn’t work, or exhibits quality problems in the marketplace, no amount of determination or expertise will save you. For high technology solutions, almost working is failing. Founders need to be realists, to understand when to pivot and when to fall back in recovery mode.
  1. Get rich quick is not a viable startup strategy. Entrepreneurs driven primarily by money are usually disappointed, which can cause them to give up too early or set poor goals. Seth Godin once said that overnight success in startups takes about six years, and Seth is an optimist. Make sure you enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
  1. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Like the old refrain, if you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else. If you don’t formally communicate a plan, everyone will follow their own default, killing the teamwork and productivity you need to survive. No startup is so simple that everyone knows what is in your head.

These are all crucial business lessons that are best learned by reading, not repeating. If you see the symptoms in your own startup, there still may be time for recovery, or it may be time to jump ship before disaster strikes. If it’s too late for you, then at least take consolation in the fact that failure in a startup is not a career-ending disgrace, and should be worn as a badge of honor.

Marty Zwilling

Startup Professionals Musings

4 Ways the New PPP Loans are Better Than Before

The economic stimulus bill that was recently passed by the House and Senate, and is awaiting the President’s signature, contains several hundred pages of aid for small businesses. If it becomes law, there will be more funds available for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants, among other aid to struggling businesses.

As a startup founder, you might be wondering, “What’s in it for me?

Well, it turns out, plenty, especially as it relates to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was a large part of this bill.


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It better targets startups and small businesses

With the first round of PPP funding, many super-small businesses, such as solopreneurs with no employees, found themselves pushed to the back of the line behind bigger businesses. Then the funds ran out, leaving those small businesses without any financial relief.

“Small business” can be defined as anything from a solopreneur working out of his or her home to a company with 500 employees in multiple locations. After the first round of PPP funding, people raised concern those smaller businesses weren’t being served when, in fact, they were struggling just as much as (if not more than) larger businesses.

This new bill has put new restrictions in place that mean these funds are much more likely to go to truly small businesses. Publicly traded companies can’t apply, and funds are set aside in this program for smaller businesses. Whether you have employees or not, you may qualify for PPP funding.

For the nearly 2.5 million solopreneurs—a giant 81% of all small businesses in the U.S.—who operate without employees, this is great news. If you’re one of them, get ready to apply for the PPP as soon as the gates open again.


Related: 5 Financing Sources for New Businesses

You may get a second PPP loan

While that first round of PPP loan funding certainly helped a lot of businesses, it didn’t stop many from shuttering. In September, Yelp reported that more than 163,000 U.S. businesses on Yelp had closed since the beginning of the pandemic.

The good news is that this bill includes the option to take out a second PPP loan, as long as the funds from the first one have been used or you have plans to use them. So, for those businesses that are on the brink of permanent closure, this could be the bailout they need to survive until better times.

To qualify for a second draw PPP loan, your business must have:

  • 300 or fewer employees and
  • Had at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in one or more quarters of 2020 when compared to comparable quarters the year before (there are caveats for seasonal and newer businesses)

The maximum loan amount is $ 2 million.

You can request more money

Maybe you got PPP funds the first time but didn’t apply for the full amount you qualified for because you weren’t aware that you could have been eligible for more. Or maybe you returned the loan because business was picking up, but then it slowed down again.

One applies for PPP based on payroll costs, and some small business owners thought payroll meant their employees – but didn’t realize they could be considered an employee of their company. Or they didn’t understand how to calculate payroll as a sole proprietor or independent contractor. (Hint: use Schedule C net profits). So, they took less than they were eligible for.

If this applies to you, know that you may request more money from your first loan. And whether you are applying for more from your first loan or applying for the first time, these PPP loans are still forgivable as long as you use them for qualifying expenses.


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We will soon have a simplified forgiveness application

While many business owners were holding out the hope for automatic forgiveness, this is the next best thing, and it’s pretty close to automatic. The bill includes a forgiveness process that should be much easier if you applied for $ 150,000 or less, last time or this time.

The simplified form will require you to answer some basic questions about how many jobs the loan helped you retain (yours included), how much of the loan was spent on payroll and the total amount of the loan.

These forms are expected to be available in about a month, though if you’re impatient, you can check with your lender to see when it’s available or go ahead and apply for forgiveness through your lender using the SBA forgiveness application form 3508EZ or 3508S.

Just remember to keep good records in case you get audited. The SBA has the right to review forgiveness applications and examine expenses you paid for with loan proceeds, so keeping your PPP funds in a separate business bank account can make that easier.

Legislators seem to be hearing the cries of small businesses that felt underserved with the first round of loans in the CARES Act. While it’s not perfect, this may be your best opportunity to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program to get funds that may be forgiven and help you stay afloat through whatever’s coming next.

The post 4 Ways the New PPP Loans are Better Than Before appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

4 Questions Aspiring Business Owners Should Ask Before Launching a Business

Deciding to start your own business is big step, and one that requires a lot of upfront research and constant questioning. And, even as you move forward with the process of launching your business, the learning never stops.

In fact, it’s likely that asking questions and remaining committed to learning about your industry will give you a leg up on the competition, helping you to achieve steady growth and refine your brand immediately out of the gate.

Having owned and operated multiple businesses, I’ve developed a list of go-to questions that have helped me pursue worthwhile business opportunities while walking away from others.


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The below questions are meant to help you navigate the beginning stages of business ownership to help determine where you want to be and how to get there.

Is your workspace configured properly for your business type?

Many don’t realize this, but the property you invest in is crucial to your company’s success. If, for example, you decide to build a brick-and-mortar location from the ground up, be mindful of future business growth.

If 2020 has taught us anything, you need to build in room to pivot or diversify. Almost immediately after opening our franchise laundromat location in October of 2019, I realized the demand and potential for offering services beyond self-serve laundry. For us, that meant revamping our drop-off service by adding mobile pickup and delivery options. And while traditional laundromats are filled with self-serve machines from top to bottom, we knew drop-off and pickup or delivery was on the rise, so we chose to carve out several sections of our property with the intent on developing that part of the business. Now, our wash-dry-fold accounts for 30 percent of our total revenue.


Related: Why You Must Be Self-Reliant to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

What level of involvement are you looking to have?

At one point or another, entrepreneurs will have to roll up their sleeves and perform jobs they thought they wouldn’t have to. But, early on, entrepreneurs should start immediately thinking about what level of involvement they’re looking to have down the road and start scaling accordingly. When you’re ready to grow your business, hire people to help you so you can play less of a role in day-to-day operations. This will allow you to simultaneously start or invest in other ventures.

The earlier you start planning for the future, the smoother the transition will be, especially if you hire someone early on to understand every inch of the business just as you do. The last thing you want is to have all of the day-to-day operations and decision-making tied to you, making it more difficult for you to pull away and strategize, grow or make other plans.

What kind of impact will your business have on the community?  

Instead of merely asking what opening a business will do for you, ask yourself what impact your business will have on the local community. What purpose and value does it bring to local residents in your area? Are you fulfilling a demand? Does the demographic in your area match those of your business model and target customer base? Location is key in success, and these are important questions to pose before you lock in a location to start your business.

For example, in our case, community is vital considering most of our customers live within a few square miles of our facility and if we’re able to get people in the door, close to 90 percent of them become repeat customers.

Once you determine what impact you have on the community, double down on creating the best customer experience in town. As your reputation for excellence grows, so will your customers.


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How can you expand beyond your core customer base to generate more revenue?

For businesses with a traditional brick-and-mortar facility, location is critical. However, don’t let those four walls hold you back from growing even more. There are always ways to bring in additional streams of revenue, whether it’s giving your business an online platform to bring in sales or taking it mobile.

For example, the increased popularity of third-party food delivery, online shopping and product subscription boxes amid the pandemic told a tale we couldn’t ignore: we needed to go mobile. Now, we’re the first WaveMAX Laundry location to be piloting a mobile pick-up and delivery and we’re working to roll it out across all 18 locations this year.

Always be thinking about your customer’s current and future needs and how you can adapt to meet them.

Key takeaways

While it’s incredibly important to remain present and strategic when it comes to building the foundation of your business, don’t shy away from asking forward-thinking questions like:

  • What will my impact be?
  • How involved do I want to be?
  • Can I grow in this space?

Asking yourself these types of questions will help you map your company’s growth and keep you on track for years to come.

The post 4 Questions Aspiring Business Owners Should Ask Before Launching a Business appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Is it normal to meet with an investor before you are ready to found a company?

I have been jumping into prepping my VR game company, working with dev consultants, recruiting highly talented artists, managers, etc.

While I've been doing everything I can to hit the ground running, however, the official kickoff needs to wait until the end of September, 2021. I have golden handcuffs with my company and until that time and wouldn't want to commit only 80% with a pitch. In the interim I plan to continue aggressive development on the game with a small team to have a great product to present. However, my friend sent an e-intro with an excellent first stage VC and we have a meeting planned for January 8th. What I'd like to know is whether it's normal to try and develop a relationship and give a promise for a great pitch in the future or do they typically just get the one-off pitch and decide based on that? I don't want to ruin the chance by coming across as not ready. I was just curious if this was a normal thing to do.

Thanks!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

To Start a Successful Online Business in 2021 — Ask Yourself These 6 Questions Before Launch

Plus exercises to actually map out the creation of your business

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

How did you survive before your startup was funded?

Hey startup founders!

How did you survive in the early days of doing your startup before you raised money from investors or before you had revenue?

Did you do part time startup, part time work?

Did you do full time startup and living off savings?

Something else?

Thanks! Trying to plan for my own personal journey.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!