In every business, there is one element that can make or break your startup during the early days – money. Most businesses follow the same pattern. They have a good idea and then pitch their ideas to a venture capitalist to find an angel investor. This is a good path but it is not always the best one. Businesses have to give up shares in equity to raise capital. When you get outside funding, the third party will sometimes act like they own the business, which is normal because they do. As the business continues to grow, it will need more money, which can lead to dilution, so the business owns less of their company each time. Entrepreneurs who want to avoid venture capitalists have very few options. Here are some good sources of outside funding.
Friends and Family
One of the most popular advice entrepreneurs receive is not to go into business with family or friends. This does not mean to say that you can’t borrow money from them. Nobody will love your ideas more than your friends and family. There is also less song and dance involved when you’re pitching your ideas to them. Aside from borrowing money, you can also get a lot of emotional support from them as you nurture your startup. Money and relationships can be a toxic mix though, especially if there is a lot of money involved. It usually leads to unwanted advice, demands for updates or miscommunication. The good news is, it does not always lead to this. Friends and family is a good place to start if you’re looking for outside funding.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government entity that provides assistance to small businesses such as loans and grants. In 2014, the SBA approved a total of 53,000 loans totaling $20 billion. The SBA has regional offices and is a good way to get funding without resulting to VC and diluting shares. Aside from this, they have a mentoring program called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) a good resource for startup companies. The SBA has specific requirements that businessmen need to meet and have a higher interest rate compared to other lending programs. However, they are a great option for funding.
The best way to make your business grow is to bootstrap existing capital and revenue. IP targeting startup El Toro started with “seed” money from family and friends. They supplemented their company growth by their cash flow. As the company continues to grow, it produces more cash which you can reinvest for additional equipment, people or other assets. This method won’t work for all businesses because you can only grow as fast as your revenue. The key to bootstrapping is the door that it can potentially open once you reach a certain size. When your company has reached a certain number (revenue), banks and other traditional lending institutions will become more open to lending you money.
Government and private sector grants are often overlooked as outside sources of funding. Grants are advantageous because they do not require businesses to give up equity or to return the money. It sounds too good to be true because it is. The process of getting a grant can be hellish.
For government grants, you need to find one first. It can exist in a branch of government or an offshoot of one. Once you find a grant, you need to know if funds are available. After this, you need to complete a long and complicated application process. Getting a government grant is a long process and usually scares off entrepreneurs who don’t want to wait or put in the work.
Private grants are easier to find but are also hard to get. Large corporations usually give out grants to give back to the community or receive benefits for their own.
Finding outside funding without VC can be challenging but it can be done. These ideas are unorthodox but can hopefully find you money to start your business.
Embrace Failure to Unlock Success: 3 TED Talks That Show Us How
We’ve all experienced it – that sinking feeling of disappointment in the wake of a perceived failure. It’s a universal moment where aspirations seem to crumble and self-doubt looms large.
If you’re in that place right now and are looking for inspiration, you’ve landed on the right article.
In this post, we delve into three TED Talks that unpack the enigma of failure and its unexpected role in cultivating success. These talks offer a kaleidoscope of perspectives on why failure isn’t just an inevitable milestone but a necessary companion on the road to success.
1. Embrace the near win (Sarah Lewis)
When talking about success and mastery, the concept of failure often carries a negative connotation, something people try to avoid. However, in her enlightening 2014 TED Talk, “Embrace the Near Win,” art historian Sarah Lewis offers a refreshing perspective on the role of near-failures in our journey toward success.
Her insights, drawn from a blend of personal experiences and historical anecdotes, reveal the hidden power of the almost-failure, the near win, in shaping our path to mastery.
Lewis’s journey into understanding the value of near wins began with her first job at the Museum of Modern Art, working on a retrospective of painter Elizabeth Murray. She recalls a significant moment when Murray pointed out that some of her early works didn’t meet her expectations. One piece, deemed a failure by Murray, was discarded, only to be rescued by a neighbor who saw its value.
This incident sparked a realization in Lewis: success is fleeting, but the pursuit of creativity and mastery is a continuous process. It’s not the success itself but the near wins along the way that propel us forward.
“Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constant pursuit.” – Sarah Lewis
Lewis extends this concept through the metaphor of archery, describing a visit to watch varsity archers. She observed the archer’s paradox, where the path to hitting the target involves aiming slightly off-course. This paradox mirrors the journey to mastery – it’s not about hitting the bullseye with every shot but understanding and valuing the near misses that drive continuous improvement.
As Lewis eloquently puts it, “Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be.”
- Actionable Tip: Start recognizing and valuing your near wins. Whether in professional endeavors, creative pursuits, or personal goals, take time to reflect on those moments that fell just short of success. Understand that these instances are not failures but stepping stones towards mastery. They are opportunities to learn, adjust, and grow. By embracing your near wins, you align yourself with a mindset of continuous improvement and lifelong learning.
You can watch Lewis’ TED Talk here.
2. Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating (Elizabeth Gilbert)
Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey, as recounted in her 2014 TED Talk “Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating,” is a profound exploration of the emotional landscapes shaped by both success and failure.
Gilbert, best known for her bestselling book “Eat, Pray, Love,” delves into the complexities of how success can be as disorienting as failure, offering a raw and honest perspective on the creative process and the importance of staying true to one’s passion.
Gilbert begins her talk with a humorous anecdote about being recognized for “Eat, Pray, Love,” setting the stage for a deeper discussion on the aftermath of success. She describes the daunting task of writing a follow-up book, knowing it would be impossible to please everyone. This predicament led her to a significant realization: the importance of writing for the sake of creation itself rather than for the outcome.
“I had to find a way to make sure that my creativity survived its own success.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert takes us back to her early days as an unpublished diner waitress, a time filled with rejection and self-doubt. Despite the constant setbacks, she found solace and purpose in writing. This period taught her a crucial lesson: her love for writing was greater than her fear of failure. She states, “I loved writing more than I loved my own ego.” This mindset was what propelled her through the darkest times and what she later relied on after her success.
- Actionable Tip: identify what you love more than yourself, make that your home, and anchor yourself in it. When faced with the extremes of success or failure, remind yourself of this foundation. It’s not about the accolades or the setbacks; it’s about the devotion to what you truly love. This grounding force is what will keep you balanced and focused, no matter what life throws your way.
You can watch Gilbert’s TED Talk here.
3. The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure (Astro Teller)
Astro Teller’s 2016 TED Talk, “The Unexpected Benefit of Celebrating Failure,” offers a fascinating glimpse into the culture of X (formerly Google X), a place he describes as a ‘moonshot factory.’
Teller’s insights provide valuable lessons on how embracing failure can drive innovation and lead to extraordinary achievements.
Teller begins by describing the unconventional atmosphere at X, where an aerospace engineer might collaborate with a fashion designer. This diversity fosters an environment where radical ideas are not just encouraged but expected. The key to their approach is to tackle the hardest parts of a problem first, actively seeking to ‘kill’ their projects early on.
“We’ve got this interesting balance going where we allow our unchecked optimism to fuel our visions. But then we also harness enthusiastic skepticism to breathe life, breathe reality into those visions.” – Astro Teller
One of the most compelling aspects of Teller’s talk is the balance between “unchecked optimism” and “enthusiastic skepticism.” This approach allows the team at X to dream big and remain grounded in reality.
They celebrate the process of learning through failure, which is a radical departure from the norm in most organizations. As Teller puts it, “We spend most of our time breaking things and trying to prove that we’re wrong.”
- Actionable Tip: Create an environment where failure is not just accepted but is seen as a valuable part of the learning process. Encourage experimentation and risk-taking, and when failures occur, focus on the lessons learned rather than the setbacks. This approach can lead to a more innovative, resilient, and dynamic team or individual.
You can watch Teller’s TED Talk here.
What Are Marketers Doing in 2024? [Budgets, Platforms, and AI]
There’s one topic dominating the marketing sphere: artificial intelligence (AI). And many marketers are hopping on board the AI train. Aside from AI, what other strategies are marketers investing in? Plus, what are their plans for achieving their marketing goals in 2024?
Sagefrog released its 2024 Marketing Mix report. They surveyed various professionals across different niches and received 2,400 responses. According to 48% of the participants, they will increase their marketing budgets. Most marketers will focus their efforts on event, direct, and content marketing.
Meanwhile, Canto reveals that marketers aim to increase content volume rather than raise their budget in 2024. Plus, here are the top five current challenges with the content creation process:
- Keeping up with the increasing demand for multiple channels
- Allocating budget and resources
- Aligning teams for better collaboration and workflows
- Locating and accessing assets
- Maintaining brand consistency
Marketers can leverage various channels to promote their business and cast a wider net to entice a new audience. For instance, WARC also published their survey (The Voice of the Marketer 2024) on which platforms marketers will invest in 2024. YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are their top three platforms to post more content on.
Another survey that marketers participated in was Mediaocean’s “The Mediaocean Current: The 2024 Advertising Outlook.” Marketers for this survey will increase advertising investment on social media platforms, digital display and video, and connected TV.
AI and Marketing
Over 300+ marketers participated in Foundation Inc.’s report: “The State of AI Marketing.” Most marketers use AI in the workplace and for content creation. Despite adopting AI for content creation, these marketers believe that AI-generated content is worse compared to content created by humans. Plus, the marketers think it’s moderately useful to their job.
Kaltura has also provided another survey on AI use in marketing. Marketers in their study said they will increase AI usage in 2024. At the time of the survey, 88% had experimented with AI and 69% had subscribed to an AI tool. Like the previous study, marketers aren’t still completely satisfied with AI use. For instance, their top three reasons for not using AI are:
- Data security
- Integration with current systems
- Ethical and privacy issues
Besides that, they’re also not impressed with AI’s tone of voice, quality of generated content, and committing SEO penalties.
Effective Marketing Strategies
Now that you have the pulse on the latest marketing trends learn which strategies are effective in driving your marketing goals in 2024.
Hubspot reports that these are the top five trends that create an impact:
- Short-form videos
- Content presenting brand values
- Influencer marketing campaigns
- Social media selling
- Mobile-friendly website
If you want to capture your audience’s attention in a few seconds, short-form videos must be added to your content calendar. The content is up to you, but make sure that it’s edited properly and published on various platforms to reach more audiences. You could hire an actor to represent your brand. Or, you can use animation to make it even more compelling. But if you don’t have an editor on board but want to try videos, you can use AI-powered video editors to convert your written content.
Content Presenting Brand Values
If you want to connect with your audience and vice versa, you need to be transparent with your brand values. Authenticity brings you closer to your audience. One way you can go about this is by publishing a blog post about the purpose of your brand or business. Another example could be presenting your authentic brand through videos. Employees can be your “actors” and show how they interact with customers and exemplify your values through customer service and communication.
Influencer Marketing Campaigns
You can never go wrong by reaching out to influencers to introduce your brand to a whole new audience. Ensure that you find the best influencers to include in your marketing campaigns. The best way to find influencers without browsing manually is by using an influencer marketing platform. This helps you find the best influencer for your niche.
Social Media Selling
Dedicate some time to promote your products or services on social media through social selling. Social selling can entice followers and your target audience to watch your livestream. A new audience can learn more about your products while loyal customers get the latest updates, exclusive products, or service discounts!
This one’s easy to do with a web developer on board. After all, many internet users use their smartphones to browse and shop. Optimizing your website for mobile will enhance user experience. In turn, it will lead them to browse your website without a hitch. Additionally, if you have an optimized mobile website, this allows users to purchase without having to switch to another device.
Now that you’ve seen what marketers will be up to in 2024, the question is, should you do what other marketers are doing in 2024? On the one hand, you’d like to follow their strategies since theirs have worked in the past and are replicating or yielding better results. On the other hand, you might prefer doing what could work for your business and adjusting strategies.
King of Couture: How Bernard Arnault Turns Everything into Gold
The world of couture is one of opulence and decadence, and it is ruled by a king who built a global empire from the world’s finest threads and most luxurious fragrances. We’ve heard about Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, but most of us are unaware of Bernard Arnault, the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Let’s learn about this modern-day King Midas and billionaire saga.
Born in Roubaix, France, in 1949, Bernard Arnault was one of the five children of Jean Arnault and Marie-Josèphe. He grew up in a middle-class household, thanks to the engineering company his father owns. At 18, he moved to Paris, where he studied civil engineering and graduated with honors. During this time, he was able to visit famous fashion houses, developing an interest in the luxury goods niche.
After graduation, Arnault returned home to work for his father’s construction business. His business savvy enabled him to turn the business into a success. From this, he gained enough money to invest in the stock market and branch out to found his own investment company, Groupe Arnault. Through this, he started acquiring stakes in many other companies, including luxury spirits company Moët Hennessy and fashion brand Louis Vuitton.
Bernard Arnault’s acquisition of the two companies led to its merger to become LVMH. Before the end of the 1980s, LVMH became one of the world’s top luxury goods brands. He became chair and CEO in 1989 and has since held these positions.
Under Bernard’s leadership, LVMH became the owner of a wide array of high-end brands: Christian Lacroix, Loewe, Givenchy, Céline, the DFS group, and Sephora, to name a few. The company owns many more household name brands in more than 70 countries. This success made Bernard one of the world’s wealthiest men and one of the most influential in the fashion industry.
Expanding His Kingdom
These key tactics summarize Bernard Arnault’s business expansion strategy:
1. Strategic Acquisitions: Arnault’s acquisitions of iconic brands across various sectors have made him master the deal, strengthening LVMH’s foothold in the industry. We can find its reach in the following:
- Fashion: Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Fendi, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Emilio Pucci, Celine, and Stella McCartney
- Watches and Jewelry: Bulgari,Tag Heuer, Zenith, and Chaumet
- Wine and Spirits: Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Dom Pérignon, Ruinart, and Krug
2. Building Synergies: Arnault’s acquisitions do not end there, he integrates them within LVMH. It uses synergies across divisions for shared resources, cross-brand collaborations, and leveraging brand prestige.
3. Empowering Brand Identity: Arnault respects the individual heritage and identities of all the brands he acquires. He knows that each brand has a unique character that has its own specific audience. Thus, he maintains each brand’s creative autonomy and artistic direction to ensure authenticity and quality.
4. Innovation and Craftsmanship Focus: Arnault invests in research and development to make sure that each brand is innovative. He also greatly values traditional craftsmanship to maintain each brand’s highest quality standards.
5. Global Expansion: Arnault’s recognition of the emerging economies in Asia and its growing luxury market enabled him to aggressively expand LVMH’s presence through store openings, partnerships, and customized marketing campaigns.
6. Communication and Marketing: Arnault understands the power of storytelling and developing a strong brand image. He believes in using targeted marketing campaigns, celebrity endorsements, and hosting exclusive events to create a desire and exclusivity for LVMH brands.
7. Long-Term Vision: Arnault looks to the future with LVMH by always looking for new growth opportunities without compromising the company’s core values.
Bernard Arnault’s Net Worth
With a net worth of $162 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, it would seem that Arnault has that Midas touch. He has this knack of turning everything he touches into gold. Struggling brands were revitalized into lucrative powerhouses. Brand names such as Dior, Dom Pérignon, and Givenchy rose in value and popularity thanks to this King’s guidance.
With a stellar orchestration of ambition, strategic mastery, and speaking the exquisite language of luxury, Bernard Arnault is truly a King. He built his kingdom by spinning gold from the threads of fashion, champagne, and expert craftsmanship. His relentless innovation and respect for heritage have him etched his name in the luxury industry.