The Transparent Business Owner

Being a fellow business owner, I always keep my ears out for tips and techniques that have led others to success. I’ve recently discussed a few tips with a fellow business owner, and gained a bit of insight into their perspective. While their specific business isn’t the important part, it is how they made the business work that should be taken into consideration.

Transparency – as she put it – is the art of orienting yourself in the public eye, so that you, too, are part of the audience, rather than separate from it.

This is accomplished on all levels of the business, providing you with a solid foundation that develops trust amongst your clientele (present and future) and within the business as well, namely, your employees.

Linda is the CEO of her business, and readily practices the art of transparency. Her store primarily deals in graphic designs, such as banners, signs, and poster work. She uses the technique to place herself amongst her audience, generating new ideas and offering exactly what her customers want, and just as importantly, how they want it done. Transparency has allowed her the gift of insight.

As it is well known, social media, blogs and articles are all great ways to create an online public image. This is where transparency works best, as it places you amongst the crowd, rather than on a pedestal. Here, amongst the others, people see, talk and discuss with you about your business. For instance, picture yourself at a business meeting. The person on stage is you, and though you are speaking to the audience, you are unaware of what they are discussing amongst themselves. Although there is always time for questions, discussion is limited. Transparency places you and your business within the crowd, and here people can talk to you without worrying about time specifics.

In order to become transparent, and join the audience, you display your business information, such as ideas, plans and budgets publicly. You hide little, if anything at all, placing information out there for the world to see, and furthermore, discuss amongst themselves and you. This creates new ideas, new direction, similar to a think-tank. With this in mind, you can set your business in the direction to better satisfy your clients and audience.

As for the internal portion of business, transparency allows for you to function freely, and interact with your employees, involving them more deeply in the direction of your business. Here, by displaying all information to your employees, they feel more secure, and work more effectively because there is a sense of trust. Decisions and ideas are made public to them, so that nothing is hidden in the shadows to obscure the vision of success.

“Transparency is one of many keys to a successful business, but it offers the user a clear window to the world so that we can communicate freely without obstruction.” – L.H.

After a cup of coffee and the sharing of ideas, I have indeed been enlightened by her words. Transparency is not the only technique necessary for business success, but it offers a solid foundation for you to build on.

You become part of your audience, and they are a part of you.

New Businesses and Angel Investment

A new business depends primarily on the management skills of the entrepreneur. The most successful entrepreneurs manage their resources by minimizing the amount of capital needed to start and grow their business. Angel investors want all of their investment put directly into making the business grow in order to insure a high rate of return, which should be about 20% to 30% per year on the invested amount. It is often a mistake among entrepreneurs to think that there are no competitors that operate in a similar capacity to their business, and this should be shown in your business prospectus as it relates to starting a company with money from an angel investor. Equity will almost always be required as a negotiating tool as it relates to working with a private third party funding source.

The details of how you will accomplish the goals of your business are described in your business overview documents. Entrepreneurs often have the misconception that a new business idea must be unique in order to be financed by an angel investor. However, this is usually not the case as the most important thing about your business is that it is economically viable. An expanded executive summary can be used to attract the attention of potential investors, and this should be shown within your new business plan.

Angel investors usually ask for less equity than a venture capital firm due to the fact that they require less capital and are less risky. We always recommend that you work closely with a CPA when you’re going through the very complex capital raising process. If it is investors you seek, do what you can to make the opportunity you present to them as attractive as possible. You may wan to find discussion groups for additional advice and support on business plan writing.

The ROI of your business should be more than 20% per year as it relates to working with a professional investor or individual funding source. An organizational business plan will be organized in a similar fashion as any other business plan as it relates to working with these individuals.

Writing a good business plan is one of the most important parts of raising capital as this will put all of your ideas for a business in a document that you can use to raise capital while also providing you with a guideline for how to expand your business. If you are uncertain as to how to put together a business plan specific for an angel investor or venture capital firm then you need to work closely with an appropriate adviser in order to accomplish this goal.