How Raise a ‘Unicorn’.

It’s considered a milestone for a privately held company to reach a valuation of over $1 billion; in the industry, that’s known as a “unicorn.” And in an episode of Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, two startup founders explain how they engaged with investors to achieve that status. At last week’s Builders + Innovators Summit in Sonoma County, California, the Investment Banking Division’s Kim Posnett sat down with Kabir Shahani, the CEO of Amperity, which makes customer-data applications, and Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven, a virtual health clinic for women and families. Shahani told Posnett that Amperity ditched the traditional pitch deck in favor of a 35-page narrative to explain the company to potential investors. “We literally just documented everything about the company: the good, the bad, the ugly,” Shahani says. “There wasn’t a sales process because we wanted investors that understood the long view that we have on our company and that they’re part of developing that business with us, not trying to sell them on some immediate opportunity.” Ryder adds that Maven was also looking for lasting partners. “We really wanted someone who cared deeply about the longer term in women’s and family health because our market is so underserved,” she says. “We wanted an investor who understood the longer-term vision and wasn’t going to push us into an IPO within the next year or two.”


Facebook Small Business Online Learning Guide

Step-by-step online guide can help a good idea be found by customers online.  One can learn new skills at their own pace with free courses designed to help get a business online and discovered by  customers.  This guide can show you ways to:

1.  Establish an online presence. –  Set marketing goals, understand target audience, and select right social media channels.

2.  Reach more customers.  –  Understand how to get more customers aware of your business and reach more people with contents that helps you get noticed.

3.  Engage with your audience.  –  Build lasting customer relationships through conversations, create engaging mobile-first content, and use free products such as live to engage your audience.


Small Businesses Hunker Down for a Tough Winter

The global economy is recovering—but don’t tell that to small businesses. Faced with inflation, a labor shortage and supply chain snafus, small business owners have become increasingly pessimistic about the post-pandemic future, explains Goldman Sachs’ Joe Wall of the Office of Government Affairs. On a new episode of Exchanges at Goldman Sachs, Wall shares the results of a recent 10,000 Small Businesses Voicessurvey, noting that only 31% of small business are “very confident” that they would be able to access capital if they needed to and 44% have less than three months of cash reserves. “The reality is [that] more relief might be needed just given where things are today,” Wall says. Khari Parker, co-owner of Connie’s Chicken & Waffles in Maryland, tells host Allison Nathan he’s particularly worried about a slowdown in sales heading into winter. “We’re trying to do as much as we can right now by finding efficiencies within the business and setting more aside,” Parker says. Other business owners say they are overwhelmed. “We’re used to being able to pivot and kind of adapt to different things. But now it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m only on one toe because I’m trying to balance everything on my hands and legs,’” says Ruby Bugarin, co-owner of Margaritas and Pepe’s Mexican Restaurants in the Los Angeles area. And some small businesses think the outlook ahead may not be so rosy. Rosemary Swierk, president of Direct Steel and Construction in Crystal Lake, Illinois, notes: “We’re hearing projections that [supply chain delays are] going to stay another 12 months and that’s going to have a major detrimental impact on small businesses.”

Listen to Podcast  –

Courtesy of Goldman Sachs

Common Sense (in Entrepreneurship) Podcast.

Years ago, at a session with the leadership team at Pearson, one of the participants showed a slide which read:

“It is not complicated. It is just hard.”

It is a good reminder that in many situations, common sense really ought to prevail. But as the saying goes, “common-sense ain’t common practice”, we often have a tendency to go for the complicated and/or complex. This might be due to our educational upbringing (“it can’t be right if it’s easy”), a sense of importance and value we get from devising something elaborate, or an insecurity around standing one’s ground based on a “simple” answer.

My invitation for you is to start with common sense. And only if you see it failing you, look for the more complex or complicated answer. You will be surprised who often the simplest explanation turns out to be the correct one.

Listen to the podcast –

Courtesy of the Heretic (Pascal Finette, co-founder of Singularity Univerity)

See, Do, Repeat: The Practice of Entrepreneurship

You can choose yourself. And you can say I am going to be successful, because I have decided I am going to be successful. – Jeff Civilico

This week is an exciting one for me.  My new book See, Do, Repeat: The Practice of Entrepreneurship, which will be available in early September, 2021, is now online for pre-sale purchase here!  Over the past year,  I decided to choose myself and work on a passion project that has been on my “to do” list for many years.  That is, to share what I have learned in more than 30+ years of teaching, researching and practicing entrepreneurship in a way that is accessible to everyone.  And here we are!  Getting within sight of the finish line!  This week and over the next month or so I will share a few excerpts from the book.  I hope you enjoy!

Entrepreneurship is empowering and transformative. It is also democratic. I fell in love with entrepreneurship education because I saw the power it has to transform lives and people on so many levels. As so many of the entrepreneurial stories shared in the book have shown, entrepreneurship can provide a pathway to income and wealth, for anyone who wants to invest in the practice.

Entrepreneurship doesn’t require a specific degree or experience, and it doesn’t discriminate by age or demographic. Entrepreneurship is available to anyone. It can be practiced on a very small and intimate scale, or it can be pursued as a change agent for the world. It can be practiced within an organizational environment or be a venue for creating a new organization. It can be applied in a not-for-profit environment, or it can provide extreme wealth. A single entrepreneurial effort can provide one job or thousands of jobs.

The practice of entrepreneurship is transformative to anyone who chooses to take the journey, and it is also a pathway to changing the world. Regardless of how it is applied, the principles of entrepreneurship remain the same. It is a learning and doing practice, that is skill-based. The goal is not mastery of every aspect, the goal is to keep learning and to execute past failure, to reach your definition of success.

When he was a young man, Jeff Civilico fell in love with juggling. It wasn’t so much the act of juggling that he enjoyed. He loved the way people who watched him seemed to feel. They were smiling and laughing. His performances seemed to bring joy to others. So, he would juggle anything he could pick up around his house, often much to the chagrin of his mother and grandmother!

Jeff continued to juggle for fun and the occasional performance while he went to Georgetown University. After school, while the rest of his friends went on to pursue professional careers as corporate lawyers, bankers, or doctors, Jeff decided to pursue a different path. With a lot of hard work, Jeff turned his passion for performance into a career and his highly acclaimed Vegas shows have been 3-time winners of the “Best of Las Vegas” awards and has been named one of the “Top 10 Things to Do in Vegas.”

But performing in one of the top show cities in the world wasn’t enough. Jeff is someone who practices the See, Do, Repeat model.  He also has created a thriving business doing corporate entertainment and a philanthropic performance business, Win Win Entertainment, a national nonprofit, that brings smiles to the faces of children, by arranging in-person and virtual visits from entertainers, athletes, and celebrities.

When I had the chance to interview Jeff on the En factor podcast about his entrepreneurial career as a performer, we talked about the challenges of this career. Performance can be anything but democratic. There are thousands of talented performers, who are finding ways to make money elsewhere because they have not been able to attain a coveted role as a performer. For many years performance meant you had to be discovered. But Jeff, and others like him, those with an entrepreneurial mindset, always find a way.

Jeff looked for opportunities, took action, and persisted through many challenges, some that could have destroyed his career, had he let them. Even during the pandemic, which closed in-person performances, Jeff found a way to offer performances, corporate entertainment, and juggling lessons virtually. Jeff decided early on to pursue his passion, even though it was a far cry from what might have been expected of him, and he decided to choose himself and not wait to be chosen.

Courtesy of Dr. Rebecca J. White, Author   Rebecca J. White

‘The New Minimum Wage’: Access to Training, Reskilling

COVID-19’s impact on jobs and the economy has been profound and, quite honestly, confusing. On the one hand, stories of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic – and are now starting to lose government benefits and eviction protection – have become both commonplace and gut-wrenching.

At the same time, there are signs and postings everywhere desperately looking to hire people, from large companies to small-town restaurants. Short-staffed organizations are being forced to delay orders, adjust their hours of operation, and make many other uncomfortable changes to keep their businesses alive.

While there is no simple reason these often-conflicting trends are occurring simultaneously, one undeniable fact is that we’re witnessing a significant and rapid-paced shift in the jobs environment. In short, there’s often a gap in the skills required for a given position versus the capabilities job seekers currently have.

Once seen solely as a place for a select set of highly educated individuals, the tech world’s profound and growing impact on society has made its importance and relevance reach into every sized town and every demographic group in the country.

Getting the tech industry workforce to accurately reflect the amazing diversity of the country, however, has not been an easy task, particularly when you dig into job categories requiring specialized skill sets.

Thankfully, numerous tech companies are deploying a wide range of different approaches to help overcome the diversity inequities that have plagued the tech industry for decades now, including several that I provide consulting services to. Leading chipmaker Intel, in conjunction with Dell Technologies, for example, recently announced a major expansion of its AI for Workforce program, which is designed to help community college students gain skills in the highly sought after and potentially very lucrative field of artificial intelligence.

Specifically, the program is working with 18 community college systems across 11 states (with plans to add another 50 schools in 2022) to create a curriculum built around classes in topics like data collection, computer vision, AI model training, coding, and the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology, all of which will lead to both associate degrees and certificate programs in AI.

►Amazon free college program:Amazon to pay college tuition, books and fees for U.S. employees starting in January 2022

►Work study:Target joins Walmart in paying for college for employees; free books also included

Who is benefiting from training

Intel is providing the class materials to these schools for free – which traditionally have had a much larger percentage of ethnic minorities and lower income levels than four-year colleges – and is working with local community college professors to customize the programs to meet the unique needs of a given community. Dell Technologies is providing guidance on how to best configure the AI labs for various types of teaching styles, including remote and hybrid, to make the materials available to as wide a range of students as possible.

Fresh off its impressive announcement last week of its plans to hire 55,000 new employees and to host a massive job fair on Wednesday , Amazon on Monday announced several new training and educational initiatives. First, the company will offer fully-funded college tuition, GED and ESL support for 750,000 of its operational employees, such as its warehouse workers, starting in January.

Courtesy 9/14/21 USA Today by Bob O’Donnell

The Reality of Entrepreneurship

At the forefront of ingenuity exists imagination. By nurturing the skill of creative thinking, we gain the tools necessary to create our own success, expand the bounds of our minds, and challenge the limits of systems set in place before us. This tool of creativity is not limited to traditionally artistic fields but is at the disposal of all professionals who dare to invent and create.

When entrepreneurs imagine, they hold the key to building a business where workers thrive, fulfilling their greatest potential. However, a visionary entrepreneur doesn’t stop at dreaming big. Instead, they push forward to execute smart ideas and identify opportunities for growth and innovation. Thinking outside of the box means seeing with clarity the possible evolution of a business into something that sparks positive change in our communities and inspiration in other people. In these ways, originality and resourcefulness are the fundamental building blocks of creation. In embracing these elements intrinsic to the invention, we can firmly seize our chance to sculpt the future of business.

As we enter a post-COVID-19 society, we must ask ourselves: “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in 2021? What does the future of business look like?” As entrepreneurs wielding the keys of imagination, we have the power to decide. Demands for social equity and responsibility have deeply affected the world as we know it, and the worldwide pandemic has shifted how we think, navigate, and internalize our everyday lives. From pivoting to working from home to wearing masks and social distancing, our concept of the workplace and interpersonal relationships has been irrevocably altered.

However, the pandemic has not left us powerless; the astute entrepreneur understands that now is the time to craft our new world with humanity and compassion. We need to reinvent and restructure the business world in a way that supports and empowers individual workers, as well as our communities as a whole. In this new, more inclusive society that we are building together, more doors lead to positive change available to us than ever before. With creative entrepreneurship, we have the unique ability to unlock these doors and pioneer forward-thinking businesses for an equitable world. We aim not only to adapt to this post-COVID-19 society but also to shape it actively.

In the spirit of innovation, this year at George Washington University, the 2021 GW October Entrepreneurship Week will focus on the theme of Imagine. In particular, on Friday of the week of this conference, we will host sessions that highlight and present new academic research exploring the imaginative nature of entrepreneurship. The event held at George Washington University from October 18th – 22nd, 2021.

Courtesy of ICSB, International Council for Small Business

5 Payroll Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Small businesses are often fined due to payroll-related issues. Paying your employees seems like it should be pretty easy. However, anyone who has actually managed a payroll knows that keeping track of all of the rules, regulations and deadlines can be a complex process. Many employers who try to manage payroll on their own end up making at least one of these five common mistakes. This guide offers payroll mishaps medical, dental, and other professionals make as well as how to address them.

  1. Classifying Employees Incorrectly

Some employers attempt to game the system by classifying employees as contractors to get out of paying benefits or erroneously categorizing overtime-eligible employees as exempt salaried staff to avoid paying overtime. According to The Grubb Law Group, classifying employees as contractors makes it so companies don’t have to pay for health coverage, but companies often get caught red-handed doing this. Not only is classifying your employees incorrectly unethical, but it could also lead to worse problems for your company. The Fair Labor Standards Act levies severe penalties for even accidentally misclassifying employees.

  1. Missing Federal Deposit Deadlines

The date your federal taxes are due depends in part on the total taxes you report on Form 941. While you can sometimes get an extension, the filing dates for federal taxes are not flexible. If you miss the deadline, you could end up paying substantial penalties. According to Ramsey Solutions, if you can’t file your taxes on time, you can get a six-month extension by filling out Form 4868. You will need to do this by the deadline of your tax return due date. This can be a hassle, though, so it’s best to pay on time.

  1. Keeping Inaccurate or Incomplete Records

Employers are required by the FLSA to keep their payroll records from the past three years. Additionally, many states have their own record-keeping requirements. Records that are missing, incomplete, or inaccurate can put you in violation of the law or get you in trouble at tax time.

  1. Not Reporting All Taxable Compensation

Federal and state payroll laws don’t just consider wages to be taxable compensation. Tips, stock options, employee discounts, and other non-monetary perks can also be considered taxable income if they are used to compensate employees. Wright Ford Young & Co. warns that even gifts can be considered taxable unless they are for something entirely unrelated to the business, like a birthday or wedding. Failing to report all taxable compensation to the IRS can result in severe penalties.

  1. Incorrectly Processing Wage Garnishments

Employee wages can be subject to garnishment due to fines, child support, taxes and other reasons. Different types of garnishments have different rules and violating these rules can result in fines. Additionally, if you make a payment that you weren’t supposed to, it is often very difficult to get it back.

What You Can Do About It

If your company is large enough, you can hire your own accounting department to process your payroll and handle your other accounting functions. However, for many businesses, it isn’t practical to pay skilled accounting professionals to be on staff full time.

An alternative is to utilize an online payroll service. These services are experts at what they do. It is their job to stay on top of changing regulations and make sure that your business is always in compliance.

Additionally, many online payroll services offer time-saving features, such as auto payroll. Once you set up auto payroll, you don’t have to deal with payroll every pay period, which can save you several hours per week. You may also be able to use these services to handle your other accounting functions. In addition, they may provide a GPS time clock app that holds employees accountable by logging their location and updates it as the workday progresses.

Making sure your employees get paid correctly and on time is important to you, your employees, and the government. Utilizing an online payroll service can provide you with peace of mind and free up your time and energy to focus on your business instead of keeping up with the latest payroll regulations.

If you have any questions about entrepreneurship, lean startup, design sprint, veteran/disciplined entrepreneurship, or the student success program, contact the editor via top border. This article is courtesy of Marissa Perez of Business Pop –

From High School Dropout to Successful Entrepreneur

New Podcast Episode – Ryann Halo: How A High School Dropout Became A Successful Entrepreneur

Ryann Halo joins us to talk about her entrepreneurial journey. Hear her dig into surviving tragedy and trauma, overcoming it all to become the successful business owner of Salon Halo in Florida. Salon Halo’s success is largely attributed to the deep community ties that have been developed over the years. Through giving back to the community where ever possible and a strong commitment to education, Salon Halo is celebrating 2 locations & 8 years in business.

Story Courtesy of ERI, Ice House Entrepreneurship