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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

30 LinkedIn Influencers Who Built A Powerhouse Personal Brand



Ziad Abdelnour- CEO of BlackHawk Partners, Financier and Impact Investor- Ziad is known for being an outspoken maverick on geopolitical matters, international finance and much more. You won’t agree with everything he says and you probably think how does this guy get business? Don’t worry, he knows how to make money and to be frank he could care less of what people think of him.

Personal branding isn’t just a commodity, it’s a necessity. People do business with people they trust, if people don’t know you, they won’t buy from you. Period. Here is a sample on how an Influencer would distribute your business message to mass audience.

More Info: https://gdms.texilaconference.org/blog/top-linkedin-influencers/


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Friday, 16 March 2018

How Stupid and Dumb as a Rock Venture Capitalists Are Killing Companies



To recognize how venture capitalists are killing companies, you need to understand how venture capitalists work.

Venture Capital firms typically have managers who we come to think of as investors because they sign the checks. The limited partners, on the other hand, are the investors in the venture capital firms themselves. Why are they called “limited”? Limited partners don’t actually invest in VC firms or start-up companies because they invest in an individual firm. Most of these limited partners are massive financial institutions who work with venture capital on a diversified investment strategy capacity.

And once a fund is raised by investors, the money is committed for the life of the fund. Venture capitalist then takes the limited partner’s money and use it to invest in a bunch of stock. Mind you; there are strict rules on what VC funds can do with the money because they are limited partnerships.


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Monday, 5 March 2018

Our 2018 Predictions for New York City Real Estate


With 2018 in full swing, experts in real estate are already making their predictions on how this year is going to pan out. Will rents continue to rise? Will affordable homes be as hard to find as they were in recent years? How will the industry be affected by the changes in transportation?
Here are some New York real estate predictions we see looming up ahead:
The L-Train and NYC Ferry
According to Grant Long, StreetEasy’s senior economist, sales within the surrounding area may see decreases as buyers—especially in the Brooklyn area because of the L-Train’s scheduled shutdown in 2019. However, because the NYC Service is set to expand this 2018, it could mean new sales and development opportunities in Manhattan and the Bronx.
The 2019 L-train shutdown means that anyone signing a 12-month lease after May will need a new commuting plan that doesn’t rely on riding through the Canarsie Tunnel to the 14th Street.
Jason Saft, a broker with Compass, had this to say about the L-train shutdown: “Smart developers will realize instead of paying concessions and renovating to compete, they will begin to capitalize on the L train shutdown and the need for instant gratification (in the form of living near your office) and convert rental buildings to condominiums.”
Attractively-Priced Luxury
Principal and VP of TF Cornerstone, Zoe Elghanayan, predicts that more suburbanites will make their way to areas like Downtown Brooklyn and the far West Side where heavily amenitized luxury developments that will be priced attractively.
StreetEasy’s Grant Long also talks about how 2017 saw the supply of luxury condos surpass buyer demand, making luxury living in 2018 even more accessible to the “normal-rich” New Yorkers who can now afford these luxury condos that are now being offered at discounted prices. This includes discounted rents of high-end luxury rentals.

More Info: http://www.blackhawkpartners.com/blog/2018-predictions-new-york-city-real-estate/

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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The Secret to Closing Big Business Deals

There’s a reason why you bring out the big guns when you’re trying to close a big deal. While all your business deals will ultimately bring value to your company, it’s those big deals that can cause an explosive surge in your organization’s value and enrich your portfolio.
Big business deals involve far more people than your typical sale, and you’ll need to pull out more resources to support the various people and processes involved. And now that you’ve shifted your mindset to think big, ask yourself: What do I have to do to close this deal?

Meet Them At Their Level

Big business deals mean that you’re not the only one bringing out the crème de la crème of your organization. They are too. So beyond having all-hands-on-deck as you scramble to prepare to present to big clients, you need to also think about who will be in the room during the presentation.
Because big deals mean a substantial amount of money is involved, you’ll most likely be dealing with senior leaders from their organization who will be complemented by trusted support such as advisors and maybe even lawyers. In turn, you should also be prepared to match their senior people with your own.
Having your own senior sales team, senior officers, and experts mean that you want to ensure that the most productive conversation takes place that can easily transition because all the decision-makers are already present.

Speak Their Language

It really pays to do your homework. And it pays even more to know your audience. It’s been said that a good salesman can sell anything, even ice to an eskimo. What’s not mentioned in that idiomatic expression is how the salesman most likely went to the eskimo’s turf, talked to him in terms he could understand, and related to him on a level that made him feel as though his needs were being looked after.
And this is why it’s important to do some investigative work on the people with the decision-making power. When it comes to that moment when you’re given your moment to shine, get straight to the point and give your prospects what they need. They want to know how they benefit from this deal. They want to hear that you’ve done your research, know their pain points, and can offer them solutions.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Your pitch should always end with a mild threat that there’s an expiration date on your offer. While this isn’t always exactly true, encouraging a verdict to happen sooner rather than later is better for everyone involved. Quantify what a delay in decision could potentially cost them.
When it comes to closing big deals, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that your prospects are motivated by self-interest but on a much larger scale. Unlike your typical sales, big deals involve a substantial amount and high-profile stakeholders which also means a considerable risk.
Besides, and in a lot of ways it is easier to do things on a large scale. For one thing, it takes just as much time to close a big deal as it does to close a small one. You will endure as much stress and aggravation; you will have all the same headaches and problems. It is easier though to finance a big deal. Bankers would much rather lend money for a big project than for a small insignificant one. If you succeed with the big project, you stand to gain a lot more money and at the same time accelerate the building of your brand in a much more significant way.
Now go and make a killing.

To know more click here: https://goo.gl/2DNd4A

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

CRYPTOCURRENCY: WHERE IS IT HEADED?

Crytocurrency
Bitcoin has practically become synonymous with the term cryptocurrency for being the largest blockchain network. And as the public struggles to wrap their minds around whether this global phenomenon is just the latest trend or the future of currency as it is now being hailed, we wonder where it is all headed.
Why are cryptocurrencies making so many waves? First of all, it’s anonymous and decentralized, neither controlled nor regulated by a single authority in the way that conventional currency is. To create counterfeit currency is virtually impossible, unlike conventional currency.
Although the concept of cryptocurrency was first widely released in 2008 and Bitcoin was introduced to the public in 2009, followed by countless startups, it would take nearly a decade for cryptocurrencies to be the most-talked about subject in the financial world.
While so many cryptocurrencies have gone on to fail with many of us never even learning their names, Bitcoin and Litecoin’s recent rise has gotten people talking. And because of it, other cryptocurrencies such as Ripple and Litecoin are suddenly soaring.
At its record high, Bitcoin price reached above $19,700. However, when this was reported on December 17, 2017, 96% of economists that were surveyed by the Wall Street Journal the week before believed that Bitcoin’s price surge was driven because of the speculation that there would be an advancement in the blockchain’s technology which allowed secure value transfer over the internet.
Still, people like Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at Ayondo, tells Express.co.uk, “We are in an age where technology is changing the dynamic of the business world. Older, traditional organisations are seeing their long-held dominance challenged by ‘disrupter’ companies. For me, it’s no surprise that another disrupter, this time in the form of an asset or currency, is picking up speed.”
However, just 5 days on the 22nd of December, Fortune would report that digital markets were in turmoil with the price of bitcoin dropping dramatically to below $12,000. But by mid-morning bitcoin prices began to tick upwards again. And as of writing, bitcoin price is at $13,602.73.
What is the future of cryptocurrencies? Between its meteoric rise and extreme plunges, it’s hard to tell where it’s all headed. Because market demand determines their flow, how can it be a reliable form of currency when you take into consideration just how fickle the market is?
By January 2018, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, Ripple, has picked up speed and quickly gaining on Bitcoin thanks to their promise to proactively work with financial institutions, banks, and payment providers.
Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Fox News: “We are going to keep working with the system because I think the early days of bitcoin are all about down with government and down with banks.
Government isn’t going away. Banks aren’t going away. Let’s work with the system to dramatically improve the way and reduce the friction for how money moves globally.”
And perhaps this is where we will see the most apparent divide amongst those who invest in cryptocurrency. Will the cryptocurrency that refuses to be controlled continue to rise because it promises freedom the big banks and government? Or will cryptocurrencies that bow down and integrate themselves into conventional systems be the cryptocurrency of choice for the masses who seek safety and security in innovative yet decidedly traditional practices?

I let you be the judge

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

5 Essential Elements to Your Success as a Real Estate Developer in NYC


Surely you’ve heard that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. And if you’re aiming to make it big in real estate in the Big Apple, then you’re hoping to take a bite out of a multi-billion industry.
But what does it take to fall into the ranks of the richest New York real estate developers such as Stephen Ross, Richard LeFrak, Donald Trump, and Jerry Speyer? Here are 5 essential elements to becoming a successful real estate developer in New York:
More Info:http://www.blackhawkpartners.com/blog/5-essential-elements-success-real-estate-developer-nyc/
http://www.crunchbase.com/person/ziad-abdelnour
https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=66246&privcapId=39594896
https://twitter.com/blackhawkinc

Friday, 27 October 2017

The Ultimate “Blackhawk Partners” Cheat Sheet for Starting and Running Your Business  

For all of you showing us deals to be funded, I thought of sharing this with you in order to avoid wasting your time and ours. We analyze over 2,000 propositions a year. Time to be focused.
This is by the way a bullet FAQ we share with people looking from us for funding – especially when starting a business or looking for us to invest in early stage companies.
There are many types of business. Depending on your business, some of these won’t apply.

All of these questions by the way come from entrepreneurs – the smart and dumb ones alike- The rules are: I’m going to give no explanations. It is as explicit as can be…. Here you go

1) C Corp or S Corp or LLC?
C-Corp if you ever want to take on investors or sell to another company.

2) What state should you incorporate in?
Delaware.

3) Should founders vest?
Yes, over a period of four years. On any change of control the vesting speeds up.

4) Should you go for venture capital money?
First build a product, then get a customer, then get friends-and-family money (or money from revenues which is cheapest of all) and then think about raising money. But only then. Don’t be an amateur.

5) Should you patent your idea?
Get customers first. Patent later. Don’t talk to lawyers until the last possible moment.

6) Should you require venture capitalists to sign NDAs?
No. Nobody is going to steal your idea.

7) How much equity should you give a partner?
Divide things up into these categories: manage the company; raise the money; had the idea; brings in the revenues; built the product (or performs the services). Divide up in equal portions.

8) Should you have a technical co-founder if you are not technical?
No. If you don’t already have a technical co-founder you can always outsource technology and not give up equity.

9) Should you barter equity for services?
No. You get what you pay for.

10) How do you market your app?
Friends and then word of mouth.

11) Should you build a product?
Maybe. But first see if, manually, your product works. Then think about providing it as a service. Then productize the commonly used services. Too many people do this in reverse and then fail.

12) How much dilution is too much dilution?
If someone wants to give you money, then take it. The old saying, 100 percent of nothing is worth less than 1 percent of something.

13) What if nobody seems to be buying your product?
Then change to a service and do whatever anyone is willing to pay for using the skills you developed while making your product.

14) If a client wants you to hire their friend or they won’t give you the business (e.g. like a bribe) what should you do?
Always do the ethical thing: Hire the friend and get the client’s business.

15) What do you do when a customer rejects you in a B2B business?
Stay in touch once a month. Never be angry.

16) In a B2C business?
Release fast. Add new features every week.

17) How do you get new clients?
The best new clients are old clients. Always offer new services. Think every day of new services to offer old clients.

18) What’s the best thing to do for a new client?
Over-deliver for the first 100 days. Then you will never lose them.

19) What if your client asks you to do something not in your business plan?
Do it, or find someone who can do it, even if it’s a competitor.

20) I have lots of ideas. How do I pick the right one?
Do as many ideas as possible. The right idea will pick you.

21) What is the sign of an amateur?
  • Asking for an NDA.
  • Trying to raise VC money before product or customers.
  • Having fights with partners in the first year. Fire them or split before anything gets out of control.
  • Worrying about dilution.
  • Trying to get Mark Cuban to invest because “this would be great for the Dallas Mavericks.”
  • Asking people you barely know to introduce you to Mark Cuban.
  • Asking people for five minutes of their time. It’s never five minutes, so you are establishing yourself as a liar.
  • Having a PowerPoint that doesn’t show me arbitrage. I need to know that there is a small chance there is a 100x return on money.
  • Catch 22: showing people there’s a small chance there’s 100 x returns on their money. The secret of salesmanship is getting through the Catch 22.
  • Rejecting a cash offer for your company when you have almost no revenues.

22) What is the sign of a professional?
  • Going from bullshit product to services to product to SaaS product. (Corollary: the reverse is amateur hour).
  • Cutting costs every day.
  • Selling every day, every minute.
  • When you have a billion in revenues, staying focused. When you have zero revenues, staying unfocused and coming up with new ideas every day.
  • Saying “no” to people who are obvious losers.
  • Saying “yes” to any meeting at all with someone who is an obvious winner.
  • Knowing how to distinguish between winners and losers (subject of an entire other post but in your gut you know — trust me).

23) When should I hire people full time?
When you have revenues

24) How long does it take to raise money?
In a GREAT business, six months. In a mediocre business, infinity.

25) Should I get an office?
No, not unless you have revenues.

26) Should I do market research?
Yes, find one customer who DEFINITELY, without a doubt, will buy a service from you. Note that I don’t say buy your product, because your initial product is always not what the customer wanted.

27) Should I pay taxes or pay dividends?
No. You should always reinvest your money and operate at a loss.

28) What should the CEO salary be?
No more than 2x your lowest employee if you are not profitable. This even assumes you are funded. If you are not funded your salary should be zero until your revenues can pay your salary last. Important RULE: the CEO salary is the last expense paid in every business.

29) When should I fire employees?
When you have fewer than six months’ burn in the bank and you aren’t getting revenues growing fast enough.

30) What other reasons should one fire an employee?
  • When they gossip.
  • When they don’t over-deliver constantly.
  • When they ask for a raise because they think they are making below industry standard.
  • When they talk badly about a client.
  • When they have an attitude.

31) When should you give a raise?
Rarely.

32) How big should the employee option pool be?
15 to 20 percent.

33) What if one client is almost all of my revenues?
Treat them very nicely. Don’t forget the Christmas gift basket.

34) What’s the best way to sell anything? Show arbitrage: If they pay X now they are buying something worth X * Y. That is the ONLY way to sell.

35) What is the best way to sell anything? Part II: fear and agitation. Get them afraid (the world is falling apart). Get them agitated (this is the only way to stop it).

36) What’s the best way to talk about your competition in a meeting? Use “choice ambiguity” (Google it). Say, “all of my competition is great. I wouldn’t even know how to choose among them.”

37) Should I ever worry about the news or the economy? Absolutely not. The best businesses are started in horrible economies.

38) What happened to all of my friends? You don’t have any more friends.

39) How do I charge more for my services? Itemize as finely as possible and charge for each item.

40) Do I charge per hour or per project or per month? First per project, then per-month maintenance.

41) How do I prepare for a meeting? Know everything about the clients: competition, employees, industry. Over-read everything.

42) What is the only effective email marketing? Highly targeted email marketing written by professional copywriters, and the email list is made up of people who have bought similar services in the past six months.

43) Should I give stuff for free? Maybe. But don’t expect free customers to turn into paying customers. Your free customers actually hate you and want everything from you for nothing, so you better have a different
business model.

44) Should I blog? Yes. You must. Blog about everything going wrong in your industry. Blog personal stories that you think will scare away customers. They won’t. Customers will be attracted to honesty.

45) Should I care about margins? No. Care about revenues.

46) Should I spin-off this unrelated idea into a separate business? No. Make one business great. Throw everything in it. Do DBAs to identify different ideas.

47) Should I hire people because I can travel on a seven-hour plane ride with them? Don’t be an idiot. If anything, hire people the opposite of you. Or else who will you delegate to?

48) Should I negotiate the best terms with a VC? No. Pick the VC you like. Times are going to get tough at some point, and you need to be able to have a heart-to-heart with them.

49) Should I even start a business? No. Make money. Build shit. Then start a business.

50) Should I give employees bonuses for a job well done? No. Give them gifts but not bonuses.

51) If my customer just got divorced, what should I say to him? “I can introduce you to lots of women/men.”

52) When should I give up on my idea? When you can’t generate revenues, customers, interest, for two months.

53) Why didn’t the VC or customer call back after we met yesterday and it was great? “Yesterday” was like a split second ago for them and a lifetime for you. There’s the law of entrepreneurial relativity. Figure out what that means and live by it.

54) Should I hire a professional CEO? No. Never.

55) Should I hire a head of sales? No. The founder is the head of sales until at least 10 million in sales.

56) My client called at 3 a.m. Should I tell him to respect boundaries? No. You no longer have any boundaries.

57) I made a mistake. Should I tell the client? Yes. Tell him everything that happened. You’re his partner. Not the guy that hides things and then lies about them.

58) I personally need money. Should I borrow from the business? Only if the business can survive for another six months no matter what.

59) I just bought two companies. Should I put them under the same roof and start consolidating? No. Not for at least two years.

60) Should I quit my job?
No. Only if you have salary that can pay you for six months at your startup. Aim to quit your job but don’t quit your job.

61) What do I do when I have doubts?
Ask your customers if your doubts are trustworthy.

62) I have too much competition. What should I do?
Competition is good. It shows you have a decent business model. Now simply outperform them.

63) My wife/husband thinks I spend too much time on my startup?
Divorce or close your business.

64) Should I expand geographically as quickly as possible?
No. Get all the business you can in your local area. Travel is too expensive time-wise.

65) I undercharged. What should I do about it?
Nothing. Charge the next client more.

66) I have an idea for an app but don’t know how to execute. What should I do?
Draw every screen and function. Then outsource someone to make the drawings look like they come from a real app. Then outsource the development of the app. Get a specific schedule. Micromanage the schedule.

67) I want to buy a franchise in X. Is that a good idea?
Rely on the three Ds: Death, Debt, Divorce. When someone dies, the heirs will sell a business cheap. When someone is in debt, they will sell a business cheap. When someone divorces, the couple usually has to sell a business cheap. IMPORTANT: even if the trends in the industry are in your favor, you CANNOT predict the future. But you can use the past to help you get a deal. Always get a deal.

68) I have a lot of traffic but no revenues. What should I do?
Sell your business. There’s only one Google. (Well, there are two or three Googles: Facebook, Twitter … )

69) I have no traffic. How do I get traffic?
Shut down your business.

70) Should I hire a PR firm?
No. Do guerilla marketing. Read “Newsjacking” and “Trust me I’m Lying.” PR firms screw up from beginning to end.

71) My competition is doing better than me across every metric. What should I do?
Don’t be afraid to instantly shut down your business and start over if you can’t sell it. Time is a horrible thing to waste.

72) XYZ just sold for $100 million. Should I be valued at that? I’m better!
No, you should shut up and stop being stupid

73) Investors want to meet me and customers want to meet me. Who do I meet if I need money?
You should know the answer to that by now.

74) If an acquirer asks me why I want to sell, what should I say?
That you feel it would be easier for you to grow in the context of a bigger company that has experienced the growing pains you are just starting to go through. That 1+1 = 45.