In this week’s reading I was a little confused about the definition of harvesting. I believe Investopedia gave a great definition of this early stage investing fundamental. The website details that “a harvest strategy involves a reduction or a termination of investments in a product, product line, or line of business so that the entities involved can reap—or, harvest—the maximum profits. A harvest strategy is typically employed toward the end of a product’s life cycle when it is determined that further investment will no longer boost product revenue.”

Let’s take a further look at the 7 different methods to harvesting.
1. Walking Harvest – This seemed liked the safest method and one that as an investor I would appreciate. This is a method where cash is being pushed out to the investors upfront and steadily. The business value may seem low but this would not be a business that you would necessarily want to sale.

2. Partial Sale – This option made me think of the old saying “get out while the getting is good.” However I feel that it still leaves a good relationship with the company by selling shares back to management. I do see how this can get sticky if management does not feel like you should leave and in turn purchases at a lower price because of this.

3. Initial Public Offering – Again another saying came to mind “scared money doesn’t make any money”. I feel that large business with great products should actually strive for this method. In most cases you can build more capital and grow the business.

4. Financial Sale – “Make sure your house is in order” because this method of harvest does not always mean that the company will remain intact or management will keep their jobs however this method seams the least complicated in that it is most times a straight forward sale based on the buyers assessment of the company’s cash flow or potential cashflow.

5. Strategic sale – I always say quality over quantity. In this method your buyer is not looking at the numbers as much as possibilities. They know how to run the business, sometimes they may even be someone from inside the company.

6. Chapter 11 – This is a harvest method that I have heard too many times. Bankruptcy seems to be the destiny of many un successful companies. As of late it has been many retail stores one that comes to mind is Toy R’ Us. This once Toy Giant filed for Bankruptcy in 2017 but unlike chapter 7 it leaves a chance to survive. I hear that the Toy Story is making a small reappearance soon with just a few stores.

7. Chapter 7 – wash your hands of the business. This harvest method comes down to one-word failure. There is not a return on investment but only losses that you should count and not devote any further time or capital.


Can Venture Capitalist and Angel Investors live in the same space?
The structuring reading attempts to answer this question with 6 different important points.

Valuation- This seems to be a big point of contention between Angels and Venture Capitalist. When the entrepreneur sets the price there can be some skewed valuation. This made me think of a friend that launched a greeting card business called The Black Card babes. The line of greeting cards are geared towards African Americans, similar to The Hallmark Line Mahogany. Me being an Angel investor with personal ties to the entrepreneur I agreed to the pricing without really focusing on the market as a venture capitalist would. Now of course, I am speaking in much smaller terms but even with larger companies this a problem and A remedy to this is to offer discounts during the angel round so that angel will be much supportive of VC pricing in their round.

Efficient Corporate Action- This can best be explained as not having too many cooks in the kitchen. I tend to really side with the Angel Investors on this note. If I am investing a large amount of capital in a company in turn I would like a say so (voting rights) in any material changes. However, Venture Capitalist want to really limit approval from many investors unless it is legally required.

Simplicity- This request means exactly that. Venture capitalist want Angels to keep it simple and not get in their way when it comes their turn to invest.
Board of Directors- Many of the board of director seats are determined by the investment that the member made. Venture Capitalist don’t want to see the same members keep their seats after financing or the VC round due to a personal connection with Entrepreneur or a promise.

Compensation – Now this was a particular point that I really appreciated. The author advises “cash compensation should not require or enable the entrepreneur to change his lifestyle positively of negatively.” I believe we all have seen countless times were Entrepreneurs receive cash from an investor and the next day they are living the lifestyle of the rich and the famous. Venture Capitalist want to see sensible compensation.

Founder Stock – Venture Capitalist don’t want Entrepreneurs or founders basically taking the money and running. This particular tip reminded me of the student assistance guidelines at my job. My company will pay for or contribute to advanced degrees but there are some stipulations. I must work and additional 5 years after obtaining my degree and If I chose to leave the company or I am terminated then I must repay the company. Venture Capitalist want protections as well if a founder decides to leave the company.


In this reading the author gives an overview of the four types of a starts-ups.

Product business
When I think of how much money Apple is profiting off of me alone, I think that a product business is not that bad of an idea. However, a product business has its pros and cons. Many of the major successful Product businesses were started with an original thought or invention. An entrepreneur has to really believe in the product and the value it will bring to a market. There is an opportunity for substantial capital to be used in getting a product off the ground.

Service Business
I relate to service businesses the most having worked in insurance for the majority of my career. In a service business you are not giving your customers something they can necessarily put their hands on so the value events look much different. My father previously owned a photography business. I vividly remember him planning his concept and what kind of photo sittings he would offer. He ultimately decided to focus on weddings and events. He had to raise funds for his equipment and marketing before starting operations. Once he started operations, he was able to build a management team with site managers to coordinate the event photography.

Retail Business
I worked in retail for JCPenney for over 8 years through high school and college. I even participated in a management program where I was able to learn the behind the scenes supply chain management and buying. However, the JCPenney I worked for was located in a shopping mall and although I saw many different retail concepts at work the most interesting retail concept I found was in another shop in the mall. The shop only sold shoes however many of the shoes were used. It was limited edition premium sneakers. These were tennis shoes that were only released for a limited time and only thought to be released again in another decade if at all. The majority of the shoes were Nike and Jordan brands. I was skeptical but then I saw the customers come in in droves. The owner later opened another shop also located in a mall.

When this book was first written I don’t think it was fathomable how much E-Business would grow. It seems that the key components of the model such as building the site, raise market capital, attain critical mass and repel competition are still valid and vital but I would love to hear the author’s thought about the model in current day where online shopping and applications are king. In addition I think that E-Business has now bled into all the other 3 start-up types and in order for success there has to be some type of online presence.

Hawker, Christopher. “3 Things You Need to Know About Launching a Product Business.” Entrepreneur, 22 Nov. 2013, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230068


This has been by far the most interesting read. The reading simply gave 2 approaches negotiate or don’t negotiate. I feel I can be a debater by nature, so I enjoy negotiations whether professionally or personally such as purchasing cars and my home. It was kind of hard for me to believe that investors willingly give others the right to negotiate on their behalf. However I did like the “take a pass” concept. This approach of communicating positive feeling to an entrepreneur such as reassuring them that their product is good all the while letting them know you are not interested seemed comforting from a entrepreneur standpoint.

I would like an active role in any investment I make therefore it is imperative that I do negotiate. The author gives several tips on how to negotiate. A few are outlined below.

“Start from a position on perceived or real strength”
I can not say that I have reached the status of having “big wings” but I have encountered quite a few investors that do. One of my younger sisters models part time. When looking for investors for her next big shoot my sister tends to go after high profile photographers or producers some that have even modeled in the past. She feels that not only is she getting an investment towards her shoot but she feel like having a prominent name connected to her can increase her exposure.

“Get to it”
Meaning shorten the negotiation process. As I mentioned previously, I have negotiated when purchasing vehicles. Every time that I have bought a car I go in during a weekday evening. I always let them know that I don’t have much time in my busy schedule and I would need to purchase a car that very night. I have seen very relieved looks on salesmen faces excited for potential deals and knowing that their finance counterpart will want them to close the deal just as quick as I did due to limited time.

“Don’t gouge”
This tip, is one admittedly that I struggle with. Sometimes I feel an investment is over valued but when you try to low ball an entrepreneur with unreasonable terms it can damage the relationship and ultimately leads to a bad return on investment.

“Wait until the second time around”
I remember I did this with a college scholarship pageant. An organization wanted to put on a pageant. I had participated in a cotillion so I had some idea of the nuances of a pageant. However this being a fairly new service organization with little experience throwing any event much less a pageant, I had my reservations on being a sponsor. I instead offered a small donation and took the role as an adviser for the pageant. This was a way I was able to see the processes up close. The pageant was a success and the following year I invested.


In my opinion, this section really separated the successful investors from the not so successful investors. The book defines valuation as “what you are willing to exchange for something else that you want.” The author provides several methods to evaluation and each method has its own subset of methods. Being completely candid I felt like some of the methods were hard for me to visualize due to the large amounts of capital that was suggested, such as the 5 million limit method or the Berkus Method. I felt more comfortable with the virtual CEO method or the Start-up Advisor method. These methods seem almost too good to be true with an offering of minimal risk and an exchange of time and knowledge for a fee and/or equity in the company. I can be very indecisive sometimes, and I tend to be drawn to products or services that allow me time to take a closer look before fully committing. For example, the gym I belong to allowed me to visit the gym for 30 days and enjoy all the privileges of a member of the gym without signing a contract or paying a membership fee. By the end of the trial, I had a better idea if the equipment would fit my needs and if the class availability would fit my schedule. The same can be said of the start-up adviser method. As a start up investor I can add some value in the initial stages in exchange for “minimal equity.”

This section also clued me in that maybe I have been thinking about investing on a very basic level along with many investors. I assumed that a good investing technique was to read the financials or pro forma and adjust with my own idea of the numbers to see if a profit could be made. The author instead encourages a “discount or kill” method. Instead of trying to force a profit quickly eliminate what simply will not work or what leads to little profit. Another misconception I had was thinking you have to focus on the plan or market instead of the better method of looking for low capital large market opportunities. I currently work in the commercial insurance business. One of my largest clients are venture capitalist that buy and sell residential apartments. I noticed that in the past couple years it seems that their interest has changed. They are no longer purchasing apartment complexes in bustling cities or college towns. My clients are now purchasing smaller complexes in smaller towns outside of major cities with opportunities to build and expand. I am sure they are spending way less capital but as cities start to overcrowd and people run to the suburbs, I am confident this will be a profitable investment.


As , the we continue to explore Winning Angels the 7 fundamentals of early stage investing, the authors introduce the next fundamental Evaluation. Evaluating is defined as sizing up the fundamental elements of an opportunity. The reading encourages you as an investor to do your own research and suggest using the Harvard Framework to do so.

To be honest I have not done any serious investing but when I read more about this model it was easy for me to relate it to purchasing my home. Buying a house was one of my biggest transactions or investments that I have made to date. The Harvard style of evaluation requires you to evaluate your investment opportunity based on four elements and how they connect or don’t connect. Some opportunities do not have all the elements which leads to a poor investment. The four elements required are People, Business Opportunity, Context, and the Deal. Now let’s look at these elements in actual business investment such as purchasing my home as I mentioned earlier.

People: The people involved in the deal were my Husband (also an investor), the bank, and our realtor.

Business Opportunity: When looking at my home as a starter home, one that can be sold eventually for a profit. I admired that it was in a growing town, came with land, and was located in a sought-after neighborhood.

Context: The market had shifted to a seller’s market, the school district that our home was in had a high rating, the size and number of bedrooms were what buyers were now looking for.

Deal: The appraised value of the home was much lower than the sale price. The seller offered concessions, and the bank offered reasonable terms.
I think if I would have evaluated using the Harvard framework at the beginning of my home search, I would have found my home much quicker based on the 4 elements.

Another portion of the evaluating section of the book that I found interesting was the rejection section. I think rejection scares me the most, not only saying no but being on the receiving end of the “no.” As I started to read the authors thoughts on the most effective way of rejection, friendly rejection, it became apparent investors have been using some of the tactics discussed for a long time. When I was in high school I was apart of the yearbook staff. Each year we had to go to local businesses and convince them to buy a yearbook advertisement to help offset the cost of the yearbook. Looking back, some of the businesses I approached definitely gave me a friendly rejection, a plumbing business sticks out in my memory.

He let me know up front he has been asked to purchase ad space in the past and he declined. He stated that he supported his children’s former high school exclusively which was not mine. He asked me to still pitch the deal and after hearing my pleas he was very supportive and offered constructive criticism. He acknowledged I had great eye contact but needed to appeal to the customer more and let them know how much exposure the business may gain by having their ad in the biggest high school yearbook in the county. He also referred me to a local hardware store that a buddy of his owned and this business owner was known to attend all of my high’s school sporting events. This turned out to be a great lead. I am thankful for this early experience with friendly rejection and as I see it now, evaluation.


Sourcing, in the age of “pyramid schemes”, I was excited to learn more about this topic. Winning Angels The 7 Fundamentals of Early Stage Investing by David Amis and Howard Stevenson defines sourcing as “identifying entrepreneurial projects of merit.” Referring back to my statement regarding Pyramid Schemes. It has found me a little leery of investment opportunities. For a while every few months a “friend” that I had not seen in ages would reach out and want to do coffee or invite me to come to their mixer, only to find it was all a ploy to get me to invest in their “new venture.” Some of my contacts would come right out and tell me that they were living their “best lives” now that they were “owners” of a particular company and promised me recreational travel, flexibility, and financial freedom if I invested in their company. After reading what the authors had to say about sourcing, I realized that my “friends” efforts may have been more successful if they focused more on their quality of sourcing activities.

The reading divides the sourcing activities into 4 major groups.
Preparation activities
Networking activities
Visibility activities
Focus activities

In preparation for a deal, the reading encourages writing a one-pager. This basically is writing down everything that you are looking for when looking to make a deal. This part seemed a little further down the road for me as a novice entrepreneur but when I delved into the actual components of a one-pager such as what is a typical deal you would like to target and what kind of management team you would like to see, I realized these are all important areas to think about at any stage of business.

It is also important to build a network and set personal meetings with “bankers, lawyers, and venture capitalist.” I have seen firsthand that this can tap into an even larger network as each one of these professions have their own professional network. I interviewed an attorney early in my Master’s program and I asked him how he grew his business. He advised that he received referrals from other lawyers. Of course, many practiced a different type of law, so they didn’t mind giving him the business but there were also lawyers in his field that referred clients because he communicated exactly what he was looking for which sometimes differed from the type of client they wanted. He made sure to return the favor, stay in touch, and reward them when a referral went particularly well.

Visibility, this activity I had a little bit of trouble supporting and after reading further into the chapter it seems that I am not the only one. It makes perfect sense that if you give interviews and find yourself in the press it can generate contacts. Some “angels” find this additional exposure overwhelming as I would.

A final but very complex sourcing activity is FOCUS. The author encourages an investor to focus on one or two industries, build a network, and turn away all deals but those in your focus. I immediately thought of a book I read in another course titled It’s a Jungle in there by Steven Schussler. He invested in so many different projects and sometimes they didn’t pan out and sometimes those that invested in him would become irate because some of the shortcomings of the projects. I believe that with more focus on both sides it would have led to greater success in the long run because of the ability to access a particular market faster and have high quality deals.

ENT 600 Blog #6

Investing, to be honest I have never looked at business through an investors point of view. I just kind of though that when the time came for me to start my own business, I would prepare a great business plan and if I needed help people (investors) would throw money at me. Naïve, I know. After reading more of Noam Wasserman’s book The Founders Dilemmas I am learning that Investors actually face their own set of problems and as a founder it is not always easy to secure funding from investors. When a start up is created it is from the founders dream and vision. As much as a potential investor wants to be on board to help fund your dream they also are trying to reduce their own personal risk and that comes with the potential for them to press some of their own ideas and direction for the company. This pushes many founders to not reach out to investors. In my opinion it can sometimes be a pride issue. No one likes asking others for money especially if that means they have some kind of control over how you spend the money.

Investor dilemmas can also be one of the scaling issues that come with growing your business. However they can also be a resolution to one of the problems growing business face. That problem being “growth” itself. As startups begin to grow many entrepreneurs fail to grow with their business. The Fortune.com Article Transitioning from a startup to growth-stage company suggest, “to get better as you get bigger.” The age-old saying “If ain’t broke don’t fix it” does not apply here. Reaching out to investors and even forming partnerships with the competition can help push your business forward in times of rapid growth. It may seem impossible to collaborate with the big names when you are just starting out but that is where investors and the right set of board members can come into play. Another issue that plaques entrepreneurs in the growth stage is focus. When your initial business becomes successful you start to look at other ventures and opportunities and take your eye off your core business. I personally, foresee this as being a problem for me. When I think about my vision for a start up, I often began thinking 10 steps ahead at what other businesses I can tie in. This takes my focus off my original idea and does not give it the full attention it deserves to be really developed. I can see how this is problematic. In my current 9-5 I find myself multitasking amidst my projects which is effective in most cases but if not done correctly it leaves a lot of unfinished work and some projects suffer because they were not given the attention early on to sustain their value. It was interesting to read of the of the many issues growing companies face in their growth stage. I expected finances to be top on the list but many of the problems relate back to core values and in some cases good old common sense.

ENT 600 Blog #5

Hiring is a constant theme and task when running a business. Founders have many dilemmas in the hiring process. One of those being whether to consider relationships in the hiring process. In addition, you must take into account the stage that your start up is in. In a fairly new business you are faced with many uncertainties and hiring the right people is at the forefront of those uncertainties. The obvious choice is to choose people that are already in your networks. However, as your business grows, and you gain investors you are faced with yet another dilemma as who you want to hire may not align with who investors want to hire. Once the investor tries his hand at hiring this can lead to more issues as the hire the investor chooses may side more with that investor and their lies potential loyalty problems. Hiring also comes with firing and the creation of new positions. It is really hard to let people go or address conflicts with people you have drawn from your own network or even your family and friends. The same holds true for positions. A small restaurant in my hometown is family owned and mostly ran. The time came for the owner to retire and he has 2 children but he could only choose one to be his successor and manage the business. When he made his decision of course the other child was not pleased and left the business altogether. So not only was he faced with the dilemma of choosing a Manager (CEO) but he also lost a valued employee that will need to be replaced.

So how do you keep top performers? Top performers believe that their success is tied directly to the success of the company, hence one of the reasons that they work so hard. A good founder has to find ways to communicate to these employees that as a founder they are thinking about the longevity and ways to build their business. The company I work for recently went through a name change. This scared me, I immediately thought that we were being sold or there was some sort of ownership change. My employer is a very large company tied to a bank, so I assumed that they were ridding themselves of the insurance business. The CEO sent a message publicly and even internally reassuring the future of my company and the future of the employees that work there. Another way to keep top performers is to make them feel valued and set apart. Growing up as the eldest child my parents would sometimes call me in on their family discussions and even sometimes asked for my input. They would let me know how responsible I was and how they valued my opinion. This in turn was incentive for me to be on my best behavior and an example to my younger siblings. This same principle can be applied to how you should treat the top performers in your business.

ENT 600 Blog #4

I have heard it said “more money more problems” but I think a more accurate statement is more roles more problems. Titles can create many problems for the founder. Many founders dream of having the title of CEO. They feel that this automatically comes with starting their own company. However there comes a dilemma when you enter a business with multiple people. There may not be much conflict if everyone has the same vision for the company, but you could face extreme adversity when more than the title is up for grabs such as the direction of the company itself. For example, Curtis and Prestley Blake the founders of Friendly’s, a restaurant chain, ended up feuding over the direction and future of the company. It not only ruined their personal relationship but also their business relationship. They eventually sold. Another dilemma that plagues titles is that sometimes titles can be tied to commitment. I have heard numerous times in my career someone complain “that is above my pay-grade.” most times pay-grade as in compensation is not really in question but it is more so a title or position. Employees do not usually like to go the extra mile if they feel they do not have a title that warrants the extra effort. Sometimes it can even be a bit rebellious. People that feel they should be in the coveted role of CEO may not push themselves to assist a vision that they do not support or do not feel they will be credited in doing so.

So now let’s take the focus off upper level management and the prized title of CEO and focus on finding talent where you would least expect it. Most companies flock to colleges to recruit young professionals that at the mere excitement of having a “real” job will work for nothing, have computer skills, and a “education,” but that does not always guarantee an “A Player.” My first job out of undergrad was a glorified call center for an insurance broker. They came to a job fair at my school, did a couple short interviews and hired me. Not only did they hire me, but they hired my husband and a slew of other candidates in my business school. We were all excited to have jobs awaiting us after graduation. However, they admitted to us this was the first time they had done so and looking around we were the youngest employees in the building. Not having worked in a professional environment before our training class had attendance issues, behavioral issues (saying inappropriate things), and relationships were formed, and those same relationships were ruined within the same month. The rest of us had to deal with the backlash. Eric Herrenkohl the author of How to Hire A-Players recognizes that the targeted pool has to be more specific. Instead of just college students he brought attention to college athletes who are hardworking and committed. He also focused on a group of women that I have had the pleasure of working with, Women re-entering the work force. In my experience these women are extremely hard working and are happy to get back into a life they once thrived in while still being available to their number one priority, their family.