Posted: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Venture Connects received Brand Amper co-founders Lisa Cervenka and Jason Seiden's application to join the VCVetted program on March 18th, 2015. It was clear very early on this team exudes passion, but most impactful to our team was their clear explanation of the problem their company aimed to solve and the means in which to get there. Hear from Jason in this interview about all the factors leading to their successful acquisition.

Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2017

What can women do to help each other? First and foremost, we must become the champions of other women. Build, reinforce, encourage, empower and develop women when you can.  It will fuel our economic engine and build stronger more productive companies for everyone.

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Please join us in congratulating Maurice Vincent on his new role as President at Venture Connects.

Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017

The decision to have an office space is an important one for your company. Find the best fit and opportunity for your company with these resources and guidelines.

Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2017

A look into a 10-year study on venture capital returns, coupled with a conversation about the endowment asset allocation model and where venture capital may fit within it.

Posted: Friday, April 14, 2017

Congratulations Jessica Powell on being promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

During a recent evening out, a close friend suggested the concept of “self-preservation” as it relates to both personal and business matters. She went to some effort to point out that I could devote a little more time to examining my own needs as should every smart person in today’s business culture. I stared, taken aback, across the table at this person asserting her opinions as if she knows me. Ok, she actually does know me. But admittedly, my initial reaction to her slant was a little judgy. How selfish of any adult, parent, or business woman (or man) to think of his or her own needs first, right? I was raised in a home where we were taught to put others first, do more than our share, embrace moderate martyrdom. How was I to reconcile my own definition of selfishness with her counsel? Did I even want to?

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I have spent a considerable amount of time doing “men’s jobs” from being an engineer in manufacturing to being the professor and ultimately the dean of a business school.  I’ve retired from academia and recently been working in the entrepreneur and investor space for the last 18 months.  I network regularly and spend a lot of time with large groups of entrepreneurs and investors.  I’m still surrounded by men most of my life;  Men in black suits, young men in jeans with “great ideas” and start-up companies.  To be clear, I’ve worked in a similar situation most of my life and I’m used to it and not troubled by this.  However, I would really love to see more women taking the leap to financial and professional independence.  I doubt that women are less entrepreneurial or have fewer ideas or that they are limited in any way. What I see is that women are often without support systems to help them accomplish this type of independence.  They are rarely encouraged nor do they normally have strong individuals who assure them of the rightness of their ideas or offer support.  I speak to women entrepreneurs and work with them.  I find them at the fringes of networking events.  Standing alone or talking in twos with another woman; I’ll approach them and ask about their ideas and what they hope to accomplish.  I give them as much encouragement as I can and offer advice that can point them in the right direction.

Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017

Entrepreneurs are often working very hard to start up their company with few safeguards in place and many very holistic processes. They often will ask for support from friends and family in the form of cash or “in-kind” effort or sweat equity. Assuming the company survives, as it grows and transforms, there will be times when accounting is loosely managed, problems arise that create managerial disagreements or disgruntlement and/or times when people feel that although they agreed to work for sweat equity, they feel they are unfairly compensated.

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recently, Inc.com published an article about the best cities for early-stage companies. The premise: Chicago is the surprise winner. Why would that be? San Francisco and New York are both beautiful, thriving cities that diametrically represent the diversity of American ideas. San Fran – younger, more venture-oriented with beautiful natural vistas. New York – the classic, bustling private and public equity concrete jungle.

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I am grateful to be a part of the #MsTech private Facebook group created to be a resource for both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. This group does a phenomenal job in together helping business women do tech and tech women do business. While trolling my social media accounts last week, I came across this question presented in the MsTech group:

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2017

Your company name is splashed everywhere. You’ve got a good customer base. People know who you are and what you do. So, why in the world would you spend your marketing dollars on annual sponsorship? How can you be sure you will get enough return on your investment if you do allocate money from your marketing budget? Solid questions. Consider for a moment these three factors, and you’ll see why it could be money well spent. Factor One- Direct engagement. Slapping your company name on everything in sight has its benefits for sure, but what are you doing to get that face time with potential clients? The opportunity to chat with prospects is invaluable- not only does your logo stick with them, but so does your face! You have essentially become the brand they carry away from that contact and I think we all feel more welcomed by a service or product when there is an engaging human touch in the mix.

Posted: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

As a business owner, leader or board member, you are often tasked with the idea of increasing revenue to help build the company, improve the profitability of the organization and enrich the owners and employees of the company. At the same time, one might need to develop more stability, decrease risk and/or build value for potential future sales, all while managing it’s growth. As a company strengthens the complexity of the communications systems and all processes increases. Eventually no one person really knows what is exactly happening and for a small company these changes happen rather organically; without planning or design.  Let’s face it, everyone is very busy trying to deliver to the customer, not thinking about how the internal processes are working. That is normally the job of the COO, but that position may not be filled until the company is rather large and already unwieldy. So what can you do to staunch the inevitable flow of losses that result from such unplanned and chaotic expansion?

Posted: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I’ve taught operations management for decades and sometimes factors that appear obvious to me are often not obvious to managers with no operations experience.  One of these factors is the concept of “hollowing out.”  I see the tendency toward hollowing out taking place in economies and companies, both service and manufacturing, quite often.  Its hallmarks are the desire, by managers working with the financials and predominantly the bottom line, to find new efficiencies by eliminating unprofitable activities, services and products.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing that.  On the contrary, I would hope that managers would always be driving out inefficiencies and optimizing profit.  However, there is a major hazard to doing this that must be kept in mind as these decisions are made; the concept of hollowing out.

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2017

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan? In my consulting work with small businesses and entrepreneurs, I find that many do not understand the difference between a business plan written for potential investors and a strategic plan. One conversation I had with a particularly resistant entrepreneur about the need for a strategic plan went something like this:

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2017

In his blog on October 4, 2015, Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence stated, “Keep in mind that self-awareness isn’t just navel-gazing. It’s the presence of mind to actually be flexible in how you respond. It allows you to be centered, and know what your body is telling you.” While much has been written about emotional intelligence or EQ as many have come to call it, not much is written about how to improve your EQ.  He and many others stress the importance of knowing your emotions and realizing where you’re most likely to react.  EQ also stresses the need to read people well and determine their needs based upon active listening and careful observation.  

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2017

Whether building a company from scratch or running an existing one, alignment is a factor that can make your life easy or thoroughly complicate it if you are misaligned.  Building in methods and policies that align with your mission and vision, and plans that lead to infrastructure, policies and processes that are consistent is extremely important.  While simple to state, it can be a complicated idea to implement effectively as your company grows or changes.  This article discusses how to maintain alignment throughout your organization and the downside of losing control of alignment. 

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