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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Archives: March 2009

The “Use of Funds” Issue

Mary Schmidt

Mar 31, 2009

Free MoneyNobody “gives” you money (with the possible exception of your Mom, and unless she’s a mega-millionaire, she likely can’t fund your start-up)

When you’re looking for financing - rather from VCs, angels, banks, or alternative lenders - they ALL want to know how you’re going to spend the money. As one of my long-ago mentors used to say, “We’re not the Fresh Air Fund.”

In my role as a long-time advisor for the annual TVC Equity Capital Symposium, I see the “use of funds” headline a lot. 

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Three Things You DON’T Need In A Start-Up

Mary Schmidt

Mar 31, 2009

In my last “real’ job I worked for a technology start-up for which the founder raised $60 Million. Yes, that’s right 60, six-oh, followed by million. We had beautiful, custom designed offices, terrific marketing materials, a great support staff….and one customer.  Sad (and needless) to say, my stock ended up being worth nothing. 

So, here the three things you don’t need in start-up mode, if ever:

1.  Cool Offices. If you’re two guys coding, you can do that at home.  But DO have some

In Start-Up Sanity Checks

Going To Market: “When Will That Be Done?”

Mary Schmidt

Mar 30, 2009

I once had a software client that was prepping for an IPO (Ah, remember those? The good old days!)  The CEO brought me in as a general purpose “turn this into a viable business” consultant.  One of the first things I did (the “troubleshooter” part) was to take the very, very long project plan and dissect it. They weren’t hitting the milestones, software was going out untested, and their (very large, market-making) customers were not happy. 

Second thing I did was schedule a regular meeting

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Start-Up Sanity Check for B2B Tech Ventures

Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

Investment: $500.00 (Why do I call it an investment? Two reasons: 1. If you’re willing to pay, that tells me you’re serious. 2. When you pay for advice, you’re more likely to value and use it.)

Drop me a line and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If I can't help you, I’ll tell you (and if possible, tell you who can.)

Got funding? I work with one to three start-ups a year, on retainer (minimum of three months, maximum one year).

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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