Geri Stengel

 
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Vistas: Geri Stengel’s Blog: Small Business

Need Quiet? Optimize Your Office for Improved Focus

Introverts often get a bad rap, especially in entrepreneurship. Investors, employees and vendors who provide goods and services at a discount to startups are attracted to people who have the gift of gab. Even our work environment has been optimized for extroverts. Open space design, for example, has been heralded for optimizing collaboration and nurturing a strong culture while saving on rent.

While that sounds smart on the surface, it’s a shame when you consider that one-third to half the population are introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introverts do their their best work in quiet. Introverts are just as likely to contribute to a company’s success, but they need an environment with fewer distractions. In quiet spaces, we can listen to our own thoughts and that can be very productive, even for extroverts.

Read all of Need Quiet? Optimize Your Office for Improved Focus on myturnstone.com.

How to Get Funding for Your Startup Online

Banks have been reluctant to lend money to startups and small businesses, but that doesn’t mean funding is unavailable. The truth is, even before the financial crisis, banks were holding back. According to  The State of Small Business Lending: Credit Access during the Recovery and How Technology May Change the Game, the economic crisis from which we are emerging only accelerated the banks’ reluctance to lend. But luckily for startups everywhere, the void left by banks has been quickly filled by online financing options.

Read all of How to Get Funding for Your Startup Online on myturnstone.com.

4 ways to control rising real estate costs

Good news! The United States is adding jobs. The bad news is that the competition for office space is driving the cost of real estate up. This is especially true in places like the Bay area, New York City, DC, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. 

“People, followed by real estate, are a company’s most expensive assets,” said George Grace, managing partner of Mohr Partners, a commercial real estate firm. “Your location plays an important role in attracting people.” By being strategic, you can determine ways to control real estate costs. Here are four suggestions.

Read all of 4 ways to control rising real estate costs on Myturnstone.com. 

 

Accelerator, incubator or coworking space: which is right for my company?

Startups know that connecting, networking and collaborating are key to success. Accelerators, incubators and coworking spaces all facilitate interaction in different ways. So how do you know what is right for you? The answer is, of course, it depends.

To start your evaluation process, you need to know how each works and what value they offer.

Read all of Accelerator, incubator or coworking space: which is right for my company? on myturnstone.com.

Equity Crowdfunding on Its Second Birthday: A Look Back and Ahead

Title II of the JOBS Act recently passed its second birthday, which makes it an opportune time to take a look at the sector to date, as well as attempt to chart where it is going.

The Floodgates Didn’t Exactly Burst Open

Over the course of the past two years, nearly 5,600 companies have sought capital publicly, and nearly 1,400 succeeded in raising money, according to Crowdnetic, which aggregates data from 18 equity crowdfunding platforms.

This success rate of about one in four companies is similar to the success rate in the offline world. These companies raised more than $600 million combined, averaging about $447,000 per company. While these numbers sound impressive, only a tiny percentage—2%—of money raised from accredited investors has been raised via equity platforms using 506(c) in 2014.

What’s Holding Equity Crowdfunding Back?

Several reasons have contributed to equity crowdfunding’s slow start, but many are fading out of rear-view as the movement gains momentum.

Read all of Equity Crowdfunding on Its Second Birthday: A Look Back and Ahead on QuickBooks.com.

Entrepreneurs Disrupt Costly Legal Fees For Startups And Small Businesses

Startups and small businesses complain that lawyers are expensive and costs are unpredictable. Lawyers complain that finding clients and getting paid is difficult. Sounds like an industry begging for some entrepreneurial thinking.

A wave of companies are using technology to provide affordable fixed-priced legal services to startups and small businesses, and referrals and payment to lawyers. Some products provide diagnostic tools that identify gaps in legal coverage that open businesses to risk. In the same way that the healthcare industry tries to  provide lower-cost preventive services to reduce the cost of more expensive long-term care, tech-enabled legal companies provide startups and small businesses with precautionary legal agreements and contracts to reduce the possibility of much more expensive legal action down the road. These legal websites are based on the premise that by bringing down the costs of lawyers, more companies will use legal services.

Read all of Entrepreneurs Disrupt Costly Legal Fees For Startups And Small Businesses on Forbes.com.

Photo credit: Sam Howzit, Giant Gavel via Flickr

 

As Banks Turn Away, Online Alternative Lenders Fill the Funding Gap

Small businesses’ cries for financing are being heard. Not by traditional banks, but instead by an array of online financing organizations that use technology and data to speed money to borrowers. While these new options can be more expensive due to the greater risk they undertake, these lenders ultimately make more money available to a greater number of businesses.

Read all of  As Banks Turn Away, Online Alternative Lenders Fill the Funding Gap on Forbes.com.

 

7 Tips For Making Necessity The Mother Of Success

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the dramatic rise in women of color starting businesses. On the surface, that might sound like good news but only if these women are choosing to start a business as an opportunity. If starting the business was a necessity because they couldn’t find a job, the news is not so good. Necessity entrepreneurs are less likely than opportunity entrepreneurs to be successful.

As I read Whitney Johnson’s book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, I realized how appropriate her advice is not just for women, but for any necessity entrepreneur. The book will be released on October 6, 2015.

One piece of advice not in the book may be the hardest to hear for someone trying to put food on the table but it is critical. Johnson mentioned it when I spoke with her. That is, the process takes time. It takes about six months to morph an idea for a business into a viable business.

 

Read all of 7 Tips For Making Necessity The Mother Of Success on Forbes.com. 

4 Overlooked Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Starting A Company

Striking out on your own is risky business. Within the first five years, 50% of businesses fail. But you can increase your chance of success with planning and preparation.

I asked Candace Klein what entrepreneurs overlook that could increase their chances of success. Who would know better? Klein has been part of three start-up companies and, through her Bad Girl Ventures nonprofit, has guided many women as they start companies. Bad Girl Ventures  provides training, connections and access to capital to female entrepreneurs in Cincinnati and Cleveland. Klein started SoMeLend, which closed its doors, and she is now the chief strategy officer of Dealstruck. Both companies are online alternative lenders to small businesses. 

Read all of 4 Overlooked Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Starting A Company on Forbes.com.

Power Up Your Business By Focusing on ‘Why’

Focusing on “Why” your company does what it does powers up your passion and your business. Inspirational leaders understand this. Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers all started with why, according to Simon Sinek, an ethnographer and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Sinek’s TED speech offers specifics around how these leaders did began and how they applied their passionate “why” each step along the way.

Read all of Power Up Your Business By Focusing on ‘Why’ on myturnstone.com. 

 



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