It’s the big day.  You and your partners have prepared your slide deck, you have your executive summary printed, and are ready to share your amazing investment opportunity.  Here are five simple tips that will help to give your presentation an edge on the competition: 1. Tell us what you do within the first 10 seconds. The first words […]

If you’ve read my previous post on unit economics you know how important assumptions are in building a financial model for your business.  However, building assumptions into a financial model requires some strong skills in Excel as well as a deep understanding of the three basic financial statements: Income Statement Cash Flow Statement Balance Sheet The […]

There are certainly more than just seven mistakes that you can make when pitching to investors, but these seven could definitely be the nail in the coffin that prevents you from getting a deal.  An entrepreneur that makes any one of these seven is demonstrating a lack of experience as well as a strong naiveté.  […]

Entrepreneurship is an uncertain activity.  However, one of the most important aspects of reducing that uncertainty lies in unit economics.  The primary questions of unit economics are: How much does it cost you to make one unit? What do you sell each unit for? How much does it cost you to sell one unit (or […]

Last week, I attended a venture capital/angel investor conference in the Bay Area and part of the event involved entrepreneurs pitching their concepts to the panel of VCs and angels. If you read my first post, you already know that there were quite a few mistakes made by these pitching entrepreneurs. In fact, there were […]

This week, I attended a venture capital (VC)/angel investor conference in the Bay Area and part of the event involved entrepreneurs pitching their concepts to a panel of VCs and angels. I was excited to hear the pitches and get a sense on the pulse of current entrepreneurial concepts. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but […]

This is one of my favorite exercises for entrepreneurs. In nearly every single case, this simple exercise will help improve just about any kind of introduction for a business (it works for salespeople too). I call this, the “First Question Test.” The First Question Test works around what the name implies – the FIRST question someone […]

After over fifteen years of working with entrepreneurs, investors, and professors in the realm of entrepreneurship, new ventures, and business plans; I’ve learned there are some very simple, yet devastating red flags that we all look for in business plans, executive summaries, and concept statements. Trust me when I say that these top ten words and […]

I know, we’ve all been there.  It’s the end of the semester and students suddenly realize your late work policy, your attendance policy or your quality work policy.  I’ve actually talked to students about this and they cite reasons such as: It’s just like every other syllabus they’ve read It’s too long It doesn’t apply […]

Ah, the common problems of cell phones in class.  We seem to have all become somewhat addicted to our phones.  A recent study actually found that female college students, in particular, spend about 10 hours A DAY on their phones.  Male college students were found to spend 8 hours a day. “The students reported spending […]

Can you spell graduation without a computer? A college senior probably couldn’t. I remember what shocked me the most when I began teaching college students – their poor grammar and spelling skills. I’ve come to realize that the primary reason for their poor spelling and grammar is Microsoft Word. The magic Spell Check and Grammar […]

This was me about 10 years ago: Hi, I’m Colleen. I’m an entrepreneurship professor. I listen to ideas all day long and I can’t get enough of them. I dream about my students ideas and wake up with new ideas to tell them. I obsess about it. I sometimes forget to eat when I’m working with student entrepreneurs. I love […]

While most entrepreneurs in the United States tend to start businesses after the age of 35 according to the Kauffman Foundation’s Index Start Up Activity, about 25% of entrepreneurs start businesses earlier.  Some of these entrepreneurs start businesses while they are still in college.  For those of you still in college and wanting to launch […]

No one reads anything other than the first few lines of any article.  I’m willing to bet, you probably won’t finish reading this post. The same goes for business plans. The harsh reality is these days, no investor will read a business plan.  You are lucky if they read more than the first page of your […]

Our semester at Chico State just wrapped up.  As part of my final exam, the students are required to pitch their concepts to a panel of external judges from the community.  We call it “Minnow Tank” because it is set up like the TV series “Shark Tank,” but it isn’t as rough. However, the judging panel […]