NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Here are answers to your questions for CNNfn small-business columnist Jane Applegate:|
Dear Jane: I am currently developing a business plan related to an e-business. I'm reaching a crucial point where I believe I will need to find someone with experience in the field to assist in developing the business model and prepare it for possible venture capital funding.
What are some of the ways these new startups are finding their CEOs? How can I convince someone to jump in without counting the money or the stock? I'm 28 and I want to do it the right way.
In today's super-competitive climate, experienced CEOs are asking for money, stock, summer homes, boats and extravagant perks of all kinds. You will be competing not only with brick-and-mortar companies, but well-financed start-ups that have the cash and stock options to lure a veteran manager away from his or her cushy corporate job.
The bottom line is that you are unlikely to recruit anyone until you get the money to pay him or her more than the going rate. A better strategy is to interest a respected executive in your business concept and ask them to serve as your mentor or join your informal advisory board. If they really believe in you and your dream, they may help you get the money to pay them to run your new company.
Finding top managers is the greatest challenge for fast-growing Internet businesses. Although you are not ready to hire anyone, read all your industry trade magazines, journals and newspapers. Start saving articles and profiles about industry leaders. Keep on top of who is working where and track all their professional moves. This way you'll know where to find them when your venture capital ship comes in.
Dear Jane: I've designed an eight-foot-tall plant stand that is really great. I want to market it globally on the Web, but I need help getting the word out. What should I do?
You could have the best product or service on the planet, but unless you have a clear marketing plan, you'll go out of business fast. Since you don't have millions of dollars to spend, your best strategy is to locate big, busy and compatible Web sites and ask if they would add your plant stand to their product mix.
There are hundreds of extensive decorating and home furnishing sites. Use a powerful search engine to find and visit as many as you can. Try pitching your product to companies selling plants and flowers, event management firms, major malls, hotels and convention facilities that use decorative plants in pots.
Make it really easy and attractive for people to sell your stands. Offer them a fair commission and agree to ship the stands quickly and directly to customers to save extra shipping charges. Make sure you send out great digital images of your plant stands in action. A great photo can mean the difference between life and death for a new product.