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Ready to start your business? Many who start a business launch in the industry they have been working in already have some familiarity. Due to this, many assume they know what they need, especially regarding overhead, such as office space, equipment, employees, and other factors. However, this is a flawed approach, as many do not start and budget for any brand identity or strategy, as the assumption is made that “if you build it, they will come.” This assumption can result in a costly pivot after launch or, worse, higher and unnecessary overhead costs that could delay or prevent business growth. How does an entrepreneur ensure that this does not happen? 

Related: If You’re Not Approaching Your Brand This Way, You’re Losing Customers

Start with a strategy first

While the idea is just a concept, before the first conversation with a bank, landlord, investor, or other parties, start with a brand strategy. Identify what type of brand your business will be and an initial concept of the customer base. In addition, begin developing goals for the first six months, year, five years, and more. What do ‘wins’ look like in those time frames? What is truly necessary to spend now, and what can wait? With sound strategy, many startups can use incoming revenue after opening to help fund additional expenses if required, rather than purchasing everything at once before launch. With sound strategy first, an entrepreneur can spend both less and better and realize better results. 

Related: 3 Tips for Mastering Storytelling as a Small Business Owner

Work with a team of experts to ensure your brand identity 

While many marketing agencies claim to assist new startups and existing businesses with their brand identity and clarity, entrepreneurs should be cautious of such claims. Some agencies are more interested in a monthly retainer or pushing companies to purchase services and deliverables that may be unnecessary for business growth but instead helps the agency in an area where they may not have enough work. While an entrepreneur should always do their due diligence, this is one of the critical areas required. Ask for references, and check those references. Ask other businesses how the agency has helped and what impact the recommended strategies had on their business. 

Define the “me only” differentiator

One of the first steps in working with an agency is to define the “me only” differentiator. Not a “me too” or a “me better” difference, but something offered in a way that the customer base wants it and cannot source, or perceives they cannot source elsewhere. Getting the help of brand strategy professionals with experience navigating this process is critical, especially before launch. Determine competitors, the value or perceived value those competitors bring to the market, and then determine what differentiating factors separate all in the market. 

Related: How to Craft a Compelling Brand Story That Drives Sales

Consistently evaluate and pivot when required

After launch or opening, evaluate the brand strategy. What is working and what is not? Are there other opportunities for the business that are not currently realized? In choosing and working with an agency, make sure it is an agency that can produce on strategy both before launch and after. It is not enough for an agency to create videos or social media content, ensure that the agency can build a strategy that promotes continued growth and expansion.  

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Whether you have a good year or miss your revenue goals, all entrepreneurs and small business owners want to boost their bottom line. One simple way to do this is by changing the payment method you use for business expenditures.

Choosing a credit card that earns rewards is essential for scaling startups and small businesses. Selecting a card with cashback rewards can add to your bottom line as you invest in your company. It is literally a way you can “spend money to make money.”

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Scale And Save Money Without Startup Capital

How cash-back cards can help your business

As a consumer, you are likely aware of the many options for cash-back credit cards on the market today. Companies like Capital One, American Express, Chase and others aggressively advertise on TV, via mailers and other media.

You might see these advertisements and recognize the value of a cash-back credit card. You might even use one in your personal life. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners, however, do not connect the benefits of a cash-back card to their business.

Cash-back credit cards for businesses pay you back a percentage of the money you spend on business-related expenses. This includes expenditures on supplies for the office, gas and accommodations for business-related travel, vendor services and more.

The amount of cashback varies by card. Most companies offer a cash-back rate ranging from 1.5 percent to 5 percent. Such a refund might seem small, but the money you receive adds up when you consider how much you spend on your business.

Related: How to Choose a Business Credit Card?

Recouping money from a cash-back program directly offsets a portion of the money you spend on your business. This is money that goes straight to your bottom line without requiring extra work or expenditures on your part.

For example, our agency uses the Capital One Spark Pro credit card, which provides two percent cash back. This can augment our revenue by as much as $100,000 without adding to the payroll or requiring us to take on more projects.

What to look for in a cash-back credit card for your business

Entrepreneurs have a number of choices for credit cards with cash-back programs that are specially designed for business owners. When considering a cash-back credit card, evaluate the following:

Cash-back rate: How much money you are awarded for your business spending is not just a question of more. Although you want to maximize your cash back, it is also important to assess the other features of the card before you apply.

Minimum purchases: Some programs require you to spend a minimum amount of money before you are eligible for cash back. For entrepreneurs and small business owners with a high volume of business expenses, this is generally not an issue. However, if the monthly minimum is higher than what you typically spend, it may be best to look for a different card.

Spending categories: The awards on purchases vary by cash-back program. Some cash-back cards provide full reimbursement on any expenses related to your business, while others offer varying levels of cash back for different types of purchases. Be aware of the different levels of cash back when you sign up for a credit card and carefully review the terms and conditions so you are not confused by your rewards.

Cap-on rewards: The majority of programs offer cash back on all eligible purchases with no spending limit. However, some cards only provide the maximum cash back on purchases up to a certain amount of spending. Once you exceed this amount, your benefits are reduced. If you spend a lot on your business, you will want to make sure that your cash back is not subject to a cap. 

Bonuses: The attraction of cash-back credit cards is not limited to the extra money you earn on purchases. Programs vary in their incentives, but you may be able to take advantage of bonus cash after your spending reaches a certain level, $0 annual fees and more.

As with any credit card, it is also important to budget for annual fees, APR and other costs. Cash-back programs can help defray some of the expenses associated with the card, but you want to be aware of fees and interest rates that offset the money added to your bottom line.

Related: What 6 Money Pros Wish They’d Known About Credit Cards

Adding it all up

Many entrepreneurs have maxed out credit cards and even gone into debt to get a business off the ground. Given the expenses associated with starting and running a small business, credit cards can seem like both an essential ally and — when the balances are high — an implacable adversary.

Cash-back credit cards enable entrepreneurs and small business owners to invest in the company while getting something back. The rewards may seem small in terms of percentages, but the money you are reimbursed on purchases can add up to a large chunk of change.

Ultimately, businesses with a lot of purchases can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bottom line without having to work harder or hire more people.

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After years of struggling to make ends meet, your business is finally booming. Old clients are referring new clients, new clients are taking notice and your staff can barely keep up with the influx of client-related tasks.

The boutique business model you worked so hard to create has worked better than you ever dreamed and you are nearly drowning in new business. The phone keeps ringing and the prospects for the future look incredibly bright. By all accounts, life couldn’t be better. So why is everything suddenly so challenging?

Related: Why Does Coaching Matter for Entrepreneurs?

Just when a robust workforce is more important than ever, some of your best talent is quitting. The rest of your staff is stressed to the max as they work around the clock to manage a burgeoning workload. A behind-the-scenes balancing act is holding together an uneasy peace.

The growing pains are real and how your organization handles them will shape your company’s future. It’s a pivotal time for your team that must be addressed with care.

Proceed with caution

During these periods of rapid growth, companies need to hire quickly to accommodate the increasing workload, but it is important to be smart about it. With so many variables in play, statistics on the long-term success rate for startups are not in your favor. According to Fundera, 20 percent of small businesses fail the first year, 30 percent fail the second year, 50 percent fail within the fifth year of business and 70 percent fail by their tenth year.

Causes of failure

Let’s consider why startups collapse in the first place. According to a research brief by CBInsights, the causes for failure range from no market need, poor marketing and inadequate finances to having the wrong management team, burnout, legal challenges and a lack of passion among employees.

In other words, miscalculating your target market and personal capabilities can be disastrous.

Entrepreneurs who don’t do their homework and don’t adjust to ever-evolving market challenges are setting themselves up for failure during periods of growth. Successful businesses can pivot quickly in the face of a bad hire, a poor product or misguided decision whether they are experiencing a lull or a growth period.

For example, the smart luggage manufacturer Bluesmart shut down in 2018 after most major US airlines began requiring passengers to remove lithium-ion batteries from their checked luggage, CBInsights reported. The company couldn’t pivot because their product relied upon lithium-ion batteries to operate.

Related: Morning Brew Founder Alex Lieberman Isn’t an Overnight Success. Instead, He’s Harnessing the ‘Balloon Effect’ — Here’s What That Is

In another instance, an e-commerce startup DoneByNone failed because of poor customer experiences. The company illustrated that getting distracted in the race to the top and forgetting your customers’ needs can be a company killer.

The CBInsights study shows that many companies nosedive when they don’t spend enough time talking to customers, rolling out features or getting feedback from clients. Squabbling over company goals, mission statements and management hierarchies can also sink a ship.

Preparation, planning and a careful evaluation of the existing marketplace will save you time, money and loads of disappointment during periods of rapid growth.

Stay true to core values

The best way to make sure you are on track is to retain your company’s core values, no matter how fast or slow your organization grows. A company’s core values are its roadmap to success and will steer the organization in the right direction, even if it means navigating some bumps along the way.

If you built your company’s reputation on top-notch customer service, then stay the course and make sure you continue to provide the same quality of goods or services that vaulted you to success.

Here are 4 tips to manage growing pains as you progress to the next level:

  • Create mechanisms for quality control. The products or services that got you to the top should never suffer because of growth.
  • Hire carefully, making sure each new employee is inducted into the company culture. Introductions to existing employees are important when so many people are working remotely, and it is easy to feel disconnected. If face-to-face introductions are out of the question, video conferencing can be a good alternative.
  • Show appreciation to people who have been with you through the ups and downs of the company’s earliest days. Loyalty to those who helped you get where you are today is one of the keys to successful growth. Startup CEOs and C-suite leaders rely upon devoted employees who will stick with him or her through thick and thin.
  • Provide management and leadership training. Employees don’t instinctively know how to manage. Employers must invest in leadership training so when employees move into positions of authority they can learn how to effectively manage others.

If your company has reached that sweet spot in growth where business is booming, staffing is lean and work is piling up, then hold on tight. Dig deep, ask for assistance if you need it and remember help is on the way. Growing pains are temporary and commitment to abiding by these principles ensures that the best is yet to come.

 

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Twitter will now allow content creators to receive tips in the form of bitcoin from their followers and will launch a fund for users who are leaders in the audio chat rooms in Spaces, the company announced in a session with journalists.

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Convert followers to fans and fans to backgrounds

The microblogging social network wants to help content creators who contribute to public conversations through Super Follows, Tip Jar, and their hosts on Spaces.

What will this tool be like?

  • Super Follows : Twitter is testing Super Follows with a small group of creators on iOS, in the United States. This is a monthly subscription service so that creators can charge for an extra level of content, such as behind-the-scenes opinions or private conversations, so their followers can have more of the content they like.

  • Tips: O Tip Jar, as it is known in English, allows you to send and receive payments through third-party services. Since May, a small group of people in the United States have had access to Tips, but today the tool has already been deployed globally for iOS devices. They also added more Tipped payment services so that people can do it with Bitcoin by using Strike , a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which allows people to send and receive bitcoins for free and instantly.

  • New Spaces Host Program: Twitter announced that it will soon introduce a Spaces Host program designed to provide financial, technical and marketing support to emerging audio creators interested in creating recurring content on Spaces.

More ways to tweet

The social network that became famous for only allowing 140 characters per message also announced today that it will open up new ways to open a conversation, beyond its current 280 characters.



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When most people go home and park their car in their driveway, they’ll lock it for extra safety precautions so that no one can break in or steal anything.

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Twitter via @ijayt205

Usually not on the list of potential carjackers? Giant black bears.

This was the case for one woman in a video that has since gone viral on Twitter who found an unlikely guest sitting in the driver’s seat upon walking up to the front door of her car.

Related: Teenager Goes Viral After Fighting Off Giant Bear to Save Family Dogs

The clip, presumably taken from security footage at the woman’s home, shows the woman walking towards a black Lexus SUV in her driveway while carrying a picnic basket.

As she approaches the open door and peers inside, she jumps back and attempts to close the door shut in a frantic frenzy, trying to jam it shet several more times before bolting back to the house and dropping the basket, leaving a trail of apples behind over muffled screams.

As she runs away, the black bear can be seen leaping out of the front seat of the car and running in the opposite direction before turning around and walking slowly back in the driveway and towards the picnic basket.

The nearly unbelievable clip has been viewed over 4.7 million times and received over 31,500 retweets.

“She gave the bear the Lexus,” Twitter user @ijayt205, who posted the clip joked, alongside several crying laughing emojis.

“The fact she tried to trap him in HER car,” Twitter user @SomaKazima pointed out.

“The fact she was still screaming tho off camera and the bear wasn’t even chasing her,” Skeeter Jay said. “But she was OUTTA there.”

The woman in the video and the location of her home have not been publicly identified.

The video is reminiscent of another viral video from earlier this summer where a teenage girl fought off a bear that was trying to enter her home and attack her dogs.

It is estimated that there are around 40 bear attacks around the world each year, with 23 reported fatal attacks by black bears on humans from 2000-2016.

Related: Why the ‘Save Ralph’ short went viral



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Financial innovations and trends can often propel businesses forward in ways they never imagined. But it isn’t always easy to keep tabs on the ever-evolving world of finance, especially when you’re an entrepreneur already stretched thin.

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Join us for a free webinar, 10 Financial Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know for 2022, presented by Oracle NetSuite and produced by Entrepreneur. We’ll hear from a pair of financial industry experts to uncover the financial tools and strategies every entrepreneur should be aware of when analyzing the full picture of their business.

Speakers include Jason Cherubini, CFO and partner at Dawn’s Light Media—producers of films such as Money Plane and Black Water—who will shed light on entrepreneurial financial mindsets and trends, and Daniel Gilham, CFP and managing director of advisor strategy at Farther—a digital family financial office—who will add insights on how to strategically protect your company and personal assets. The conversation will be curated by Dynamic Communication author Jill Schiefelbein.

Register Now

We’ll give you 10 considerations for your financial future, including:

  • Tax changes, capital gains, and what that means for you
  • Asset consolidation and strategies to be more efficient and financially effective
  • KPIs and understanding how they tie into your financial picture
  • Revenue strategies to keep your business on a recurring cycle
  • And more 

The 10 Financial Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know for 2022 webinar will take place live on Tuesday, 10/26, at 12 p.m. EST | 9 a.m. PST.

Register Now

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The United States Government reported this Monday that it will allow entry to the country of travelers from the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) who are vaccinated with the full schedule from November.

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Frontera México – Estados Unidos.

According to the Expansión site, Jeff Zients, head of the response team against COVID-19 at the White House, announced that travelers must show proof of vaccination and a negative test carried out three days before entering the country.

Travel restrictions to the United States had been in effect and unchanged since March 2020.

These are the new measures to enter the United States

Starting in November, travelers entering the United States – whether they are residents returning to the country or business travelers – must present their vaccination certificate and a negative COVID test taken three days before entering.

If it is a resident who has not been vaccinated, you will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test one day before your return trip and another as soon as you arrive in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue an order for the airlines to collect the information of the passengers (telephone numbers and email address) to be in contact with the passenger in case of a case of COVID-19.

And Mexico and Canada?

For North American countries with land borders with the United States, the White House said it will extend restrictions on non-essential travel (such as tourism) until October 21.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) of Mexico pointed out in its social networks since July 7 that the US government clarified that “neither the entry of travelers to its territory nor the eventual reopening of the common border are conditioned on the use of specific rates of vaccine “.

With information from EFE and Reuters.



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There will always be forces that throw your plans by the wayside and recalibrate — whether they take the form of political changes, a natural disaster, a cultural shift or a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. So for marketers, the question is not “How can we plan for the new normal?” but instead, “Why are you expecting one?”

While on a general level the phrase “new normal” just represents a desire to get back to times when we weren’t all constantly stressed out and life didn’t depend on being highly socially and politically aware, what it really represents is a desire for stagnancy. To be able to take a breather. But no matter what’s going on in the world, marketing has never been about taking a breather.

Our clients don’t hire us to create a “new normal”. They want to lead the pack in their industry and be positioned as movers and shakers. But with more competition and an increasing rate of media circulation, it’s getting harder and harder to be at the front of the curve.

There are a few techniques marketers should either adopt or dust off that can help place their clients at the front of the pack.

1. A heavier focus on social listening

Effectively, social listening is just an elevated version of the research you already do into your industry. It’s a bit like doing a competitive analysis, but of your audience instead of fellow industry members. What are customers saying about your brands versus the others? When they search for you, what terms do they use? How many mentions are you getting versus your closest competition? These and many more reasons why social listening is my most highly recommended technique that marketers should start adopting if they want to get to be cutting edge.

But think ahead: Once you’ve been actively social listening for a month or so and you have a good amount of data piled up, what should you do with it? Data is of no value if you collect it and let it sit there. Start incorporating it into your strategy discussions to help guide your campaign. If you were listening closely enough, you should be able to identify at least one key desire or pain point among your audience that your competitors aren’t addressing.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

2. Reputation is everything

The world is more connected than ever before and people have more outlets to make their voices heard. While this is a net positive for global communications, it does mean that brands have increasingly less armor against online outrages and bad reviews. For this reason, reputation and review management are going to be crucial services for marketers to add to their repertoire.

This is also where a strong competitive analysis and social listening techniques will do marketers a huge favor. The ability to know what successes or misfortunes your competitors are having is going to be the best navigator of your campaign. Emulate what similar businesses do well, but don’t shy away from highlighting the differences between you and your competition if one of them accidentally finds themselves at the mercy of an online mob.

Marketing is a full-contact sport. When you have the means to — ethically, of course — knock other players off the field, you should take it.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

3. Build a community, then a campaign

A loyal fanbase can help a brand weather pretty much any storm unscathed, so channel a lot of your marketing efforts into fostering a community around your clients. Play to the audience in the first few weeks of your campaign. 

Engagement isn’t something that you have to pry out of your client’s audience — you just need to put more effort into asking questions. Audiences will see liking and sharing as a Herculean task if you’re not giving them anything to chew on, but they’ll gladly write you a novel in the comments of a Facebook post when given the right prompt.

Make sure that they feel like they’re part of a semi-exclusive club. If you don’t have a newsletter, start one. If you have one, start another one that’s only for the most devoted members of the brand. Hire influencers your audiences connect with and have them start making content for you.  

Marketers should realize that there isn’t going to be a new normal. Instead, marketers should use this time to get fully experimental with campaigns and see what kind of content hits the bullseye in the ever-evolving content cycle. With more competition and more content comes less of a chance that the tried-and-true methods of digital success will continue to hold up. In this way, as much as it might feel like constant chaos, we’re being given an opportunity: The world is clearing the board and saying, “Impress me.”

Related: 3 Reasons Marketing Is The New Sales

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I remember hearing a story as a child called the Farmer’s Donkey. One day, a farmer’s donkey fell into an abandoned well. The farmer, fond of his faithful animal, tried and tried to figure out a way to raise the donkey from the well. Tearfully, he decided the animal was impossible to retrieve and the well must be felled before other animals also slipped into the hole. He asked his neighbors to help him, and as the men grabbed shovels and began to throw dirt into the well, the donkey realized he had to save himself. As more and more shoveled dirt landed on the donkey’s back, he shook it off and took a step up. The farmer, realizing the donkey’s plan, encouraged the men to continue throwing dirt down the hole on top of the animal. Each time, the donkey would shake it off and take another step up. Eventually, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted to the grateful farmer. 

Each person controls their future

Blaming someone or something for one’s circumstances is common in our society, perhaps because we continuously face circumstances that we cannot control.

The consequences of being a victim are heavy – hopelessness, anger, frustration, stress, and depression – and self-inflicted. But you don’t have to cede control of your life to your circumstances. Helen Keller overcame the limitations of being blind, deaf, and mute. Stephen Hawking became the world’s most famous physicist despite contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 21. Oprah Winfrey’s childhood in a broken home did not stop her from becoming one of the first African American billionaires. Each person has the power and ability within to take control of their destiny and successfully realize their dreams.

The path to riches

If wealth is your goal, complaining will not add to your bank account. Attitude, associations and action are the ingredients necessary to acquire a significant net worth and are available to everyone, despite their beginnings or current circumstances. People who begin with little advantage can achieve great prosperity.

Rafael Badziag and Jack Canfield interviewed self-made billionaires around the world to learn the secrets of their success. Some credited a willingness to take intelligent risks. Some credited the self-determination spirit of “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Others credited relentless self-improvement, ignoring naysayers and embracing an appetite for hard work.

Related: 5 Money Habits You Need to Adopt Today to Build Your Wealth

Associations

People tend to conform to common behaviors around them, even when they do not personally agree with the behavior. They justify their conformity by rationalizing it; if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do. A group of victims and complainers feed on each other. T. Harvey Eker, a self-made millionaire, notes that “Like attracts like. When you are complaining, you are actually attracting ‘nonsense’ into your life.” In other words, get rid of the complainers, the excuse-givers, and discontent and add people to your life that inspire and teach. Stay positive and immerse yourself with similar thinkers. If you go there in mind, you are much more likely to go there in real life, too.

Related: 3 Simple Words That Will Help You Build Wealth

Action

Newton’s first law of motion states that “An object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by force.” In other words, changing your circumstances requires an infusion of personal energy, also known as work.

If wealth is your goal, your tasks include:

  • Selecting an occupation with the most significant exposure to financial success. Wall Street, finance and entrepreneurship are popular destinations to make large sums of money.
  • Developing the skills necessary to excel in the occupation. Aside from the required degrees (BBA or MBA), knowing the path and relationships of money flowing through a business is valuable. Understanding and managing risk is essential, as is familiarity with human behavior.
  • Identifying the proper mentors and associates. Successful people never stop learning or asking for information. Building on top of another’s experience is a map for your progress and a source of potential shortcuts.
  • Work your tail off. Winning the financial competition requires total dedication to achieving the goal, often involving long hours, weekend work and personal sacrifice of other activities. Remember that many are called to wealth, but few are chosen.

Being captain of one’s ship, whether sailing to the golden city of El Dorado or the paradise of Shangri-La, is a powerful motive to reject the limitations imposed by friends or society. Each person can rise above their circumstances: A poor man can become rich, a fool educated, or a woman elected to the Presidency of the United States. Our futures are determined by the choices we make, so make the right ones.

Related: 5 Long-term Strategies To Create Wealth

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So, you’re ready to negotiate with your VC, and you know this will be a zero-sum game. Every decision is a shift of risk, reward or control. You’ll need to be prepared to compromise on some things, but how do you decide what and when to give or hold firm? You should start by consulting with the experienced advisors in your corner, such as a quality founder-focused startup attorney, but that is only the first step. Enter the BATNA. 

What is a BATNA and why is it important?

The term BATNA refers to your “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” As an example, say you’re negotiating with MoneyCo Funding Group. If negotiations break down, you must have a plan in place in the event that you or MoneyCo walk away.

Your negotiating position is fundamentally dependent on your willingness to walk away.  If you are presented with a set of terms and you are not willing to walk away (or be walked away from), then you have limited leverage. Yes, you can fake a willingness to walk away, but if that is tested, your position will be transparent, and this could negatively impact your long-term reputation.

Your BATNA is your backup option. It’s a plan detailing how your company will survive without any funding or support from the entity with which you are negotiating. This will change depending on the terms provided by the other party.

How to use your BATNA in negotiations

Your BATNA establishes your exit. But, it also dictates whether or not you should walk away from a negotiation.

If you are presented with a set of terms from MoneyCo (let’s call it term sheet X) better than your BATNA, you must decide how much you’re willing to push to improve term sheet X if you can’t afford to lose the initial offering. 

Carefully consider how hard you can reasonably push MoneyCo to improve term sheet X before they withdraw their offer. This will depend on your knowledge of MoneyCo’s past negotiations, their previous investments, your gut sense of the individuals involved, their level of interest in your company, and the strength of your BATNA.

Related: 8 Negotiating Tactics Every Successful Entrepreneur Has Mastered

Building your BATNA

To create an effective BATNA, you must understand how it compares to as many potential scenarios as possible. Establish a set of assumptions based on what is going on in the market and what you learn from your legal and financial advisors. A good advisory team will have great market awareness.

For example, let’s assume the following:

  • Without funding term sheet X from MoneyCo, the expected value of your startup in 5 years will be $20 million.

  • With funding on term sheet X from MoneyCo, the expected value of your startup in 5 years will be $40 million.

With these assumptions in mind, does the comparative startup value mean that your BATNA is worse than term sheet X? Not necessarily. Remember, you need to compare apples to apples.

Let’s say that without accepting MoneyCo’s funding, you would own 80% of your company.  This would place the expected value to you of the non-funding scenario at 80% of $20 million, which is $16 million.

Let’s say that a $40 million valuation on term sheet X with funding from MoneyCo requires a series of dilutive events wherein you would only own 30% of your company.  This would place the expected value to you of accepting funding at 30% of $40 million, which is $12 million.

In this scenario, your BATNA represents $16 million, while accepting term sheet X leads to an expected $12 million. This would make term sheet X not worth accepting. This is an oversimplification, but this is the framework from which you should consider a set of funding terms.

Related: 10 Tips to Negotiate Like a Boss

Improving your BATNA

Establishing and understanding your BATNA is important, but equally important is improving your BATNA. The stronger your BATNA, the stronger your negotiating position because, among other things, it gives you the freedom to walk away. Let’s explore some ways you can improve your BATNA.

Raise the Stakes

The most straightforward way to improve a BATNA is to have competing term sheets from different investors. Suppose that in addition to being offered term sheet X from MoneyCo, you are also offered term sheet Y from InvestorFund.  If Y is at least as good for you as X, then you have the leverage to push on MoneyCo. In a worst-case scenario, if MoneyCo won’t budge, you can accept Y from InvestorFund.

Relatedly, if MoneyCo knows it is competing with InvestorFund, it may sweeten its terms to get you to accept their investment. They know that your BATNA is high enough that you don’t need to accept their terms.

Plan Ahead

Another way to increase your BATNA is not to delay funding until you are desperate.  

Only form the BATNA from a position of strength. You should create your BATNA as early as you possibly can, and regularly update it based on your current situation.

Decide if you need to shoot for the moon, especially in terms of fundraising. If you think $20 million would be put to use and grow your company substantially, it’s conceivable you’ll find investors willing to invest in that range. But the terms might be terrible.

Alternatively, if you aren’t in the greatest position to raise a lot of money, what can you do with a small amount to get yourself in a better position to be in a better position? If you can grow your company enough with a small investment to ultimately be appealing enough for a larger investment, that initial small investment is a great way to improve your BATNA down the road.

In summary, build your BATNA as early in your company’s formation as possible. Continually update it and consider all your options, as well as market trends. Before going into any negotiation, make sure your BATNA is as strong as possible, and consult with your advisors. Approach all negotiations understanding how hard you are willing to push the other party based on how your BATNA compares to what they are offering. Work to strengthen your BATNA by seeking other investors, and planning for as many scenarios as you can.

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting based on any content included in this article without seeking legal or other professional advice.

Related: Why Young Professionals Don’t Negotiate Salary (and Why They Should)

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