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Seven ways you can financially prepare for a recession

What happens to startups during a downturn?

While downturns aren’t always bad news, you’ll want to do everything you can to maintain momentum. Remembering that this, too, must pass, here are some recommendations for surviving and thriving as a startup:

Reduce your burn time. 

In this type of frigid fundraising environment, startups should aim for at least 12 months, preferably 24 months, of runway. 

 Make use of conservative math. 

Assume that revenue will be smaller than in your previous strategy. If you want to reduce your burn, you need also consider the revenue side of the equation, which is also likely to fall. As a result, your cost side may need to be reduced more than you anticipated.

First, cut non-people expenses. Software, real estate, bonuses, marketing expenses, or non-necessities are examples of expenses.

Once, headcount should be reduced. Multiple rounds of layoffs are detrimental to corporate morale and can leave employees uneasy or furious. If you must make cuts, consider this as an opportunity to get rid of underperformers. While it’s an unfortunate and tough thing to do, keep compassion in mind.

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Need PR Wins? Think Into the Future First

Oftentimes in new companies, the need for PR will come to mind. We  want all people to buy our service/product, but to do that, our business must display a good image. These strategies will help get desired outcomes for your company. The first thing most businesses try to do is make a big splash. Making a big impression is beneficial, but having a plan in place to convert media attention into specific and sustained momentum is far more beneficial. We live in a shiny-object culture, and as soon as your great hit has its turn in the spotlight, your audience’s collective attention will demand the next dazzling object. Prepare to promote those media hits in your email marketing campaigns, invest in them on social media so that more people can interact with them and discover ways to give them a longer shelf life on your own website.

When thinking about public relations, people should normally start with their long(ish) term corporate objectives, then discuss how certain public relations deliverables may help them reach those goals. At the end of the day, PR, like every other aspect of your business, must assist you in meeting your objectives. When you use this strategy as your compass, it becomes much easier to create a public relations plan that is more valuable than your pals saying, “Hey, I saw you on the news!”

So, begin with the end goal in mind and reverse engineer a program that will assist you in achieving your overall company objective.

Finally, determine early on which key performance indicators (KPIs) will allow you to measure success. These can be unique to your company. For some organizations, it may mean a significant increase in SEO and app downloads. Other organizations may be interested in specific industry leads and newsletter signups. Whatever those exact KPIs are, agree on them as you develop your strategy. You’ll be able to more clearly agree on if your efforts were successful this way.

The common thread throughout these three proposals is that if you’re thinking about investing in public relations, you’ll be far better off if you start with the destination in mind.

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Want VC money for your startup? Make your employees come to work.

In the last two years, remote work has taken over the startup culture. However, several investors have increasingly expressed a desire to fund “IRL startups” (in real life).

Not everyone has been as forthright as Elon Musk, who informed Tesla staff last week that remote work was “no longer acceptable” (and then announced that he would lay off 10% of his paid workforce). However, Musk’s remark to employees who don’t like the policy, “pretend to work somewhere else,” appears to have tapped into a growing dissatisfaction with remote work among some loud VCs.

Pave, a compensation-benchmarking software provider startup, has hired employees to work in person at their San Francisco and New York offices.

When it comes to being office-centric, Pave’s founder and CEO, Matt Schulman, told me last month, “We’re very much in the minority. It’s actually a significant selling factor when we’re recruiting candidates.”

Companies that start remotely appear to have special issues transferring to the office, according to Schulman, because some employees will not want to go to IRL.

As the industry shifts, some venture capitalists are even advocating remote-first as a cost-cutting measure. Kat Steinmetz, a principal and talent consultant at Initialized Capital, proposed in a blog post on Monday that companies “make everything virtual for now” — including subletting their office if they can’t get out of their lease — to save money.

Remote employment remains dominant – but this could change.

Founders ultimately shape culture, whether it’s office-based, remote-first, or somewhere in between. Most people here aren’t dogmatic about their plan. According to the SaaS investor, over 80% of founders are open to modifying their remote or in-office strategy based on where the market goes and what allows them to execute.

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SBA announces landmark collaboration with historically black fraternities and sororities to address the wealth gap through black entrepreneurship

President Biden and the Small Business Association have partnered with historically black fraternities and sororities to bridge the wealth gap in America. Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s cabinet, signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM). The SAM serves as an authority unique to the SBA among federal agencies — with President Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents. The NPHC is comprised of nine historically Black fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as the “Divine Nine.” This new strategic relationship, announced ahead of Juneteenth, backs the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthening equity throughout the federal government and across America. The partnership will focus on increasing financial literacy within traditionally underserved, disadvantaged communities. This involves expanding the Agency’s outreach, and introducing Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses, including access to capital, government contracting opportunities, and counseling, under the new alliance, a first for a federal government agency.

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Goldman doles out $10M to Black women-led organizations

Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women project is awarding funds to 50 groups representing a diverse variety of geographical areas and organizational purposes. Each grantee will receive $50,000 to $250,000 in general operations money over two years. This comes in response to Goldman Sachs’ history with black women and women of color to address racial disadvantages. According to Goldman’s exclusive data, one of the most significant barriers to black women starting their own businesses and NGOs is a lack of finance. 

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Blog Startups

How to sell your story through your pitch deck

A flawless pitch — more particularly, a perfect pitch deck — can make or break a startup seeking investment. Delivering a flawless pitch deck gives you access to an investor who could contribute transformational funding to your company, making it the most critical aspect of a successful meeting with a VC.

Embrace the power of six. Strive for no more than six bullet points each page and no more than six words for each bullet. If necessary, provide graphics, but never exceed 36 words in your bulleted list.

Think short and sweet. Your pitch deck is not a long-winded romance novel. It is a summary of the most significant aspects of your startup. Because most VCs look at pitch decks for less than four minutes, keeping your deck brief keeps VCs actively listening to what you have to offer.

Invest in professional VC pitch deck design. Although it may appear that VCs make all of their decisions based on figures, eye-catching pitch deck designs can nevertheless lure them in and keep their attention. Find someone who is skilled at creating strong pitch decks if you aren’t. As the aforementioned angel investor pointed out, it may cost you more than $1,000 to outsource the design to a professional who can make it appear neat and beautiful.

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Take your landing page to the next level as a startup founder

Landing pages are a multi-purpose tool that every startup entrepreneur should have in their arsenal. They are excellent for effectively discussing your products, services, and general business to all potential stakeholders. This is vital for all types of businesses, but important for startups because their offerings need to be crystal clear.

Your landing page can make or break your startup as they are an excellent means of determining the viability of your service. A landing page’s objective isn’t always to incentivize a purchase, but rather to promote some form of activity to allow users to subscribe to your content, create leads, and so on.

The standard landing page structure consists of the following sections:

  • Navbar: logo and links
  • Hero section: This is where you need to explain as succinctly as possible what exactly you are offering. What problem you are solving and how?
  • Social proof: Why should the visitor believe you? Present evidence, social evidence being the best kind.
  • Call to action: Ask the users to do what you want them to do.
  • Features: give more details about your offering
  • Call to action: repeat the CTA
  • Footer: miscellaneous links

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Need a government program to back your startup?

The government provides a wide range of assistance and funding to entrepreneurs who are beginning or expanding their firms. But what does government funding imply for the individual entrepreneur?

Whether you’re seeding money to get started, or looking for capital to scale out a viable firm, receiving funding can be challenging. After all, venture capital (VC) and angel investment are founded on the common shortage of investment money to support the riskier stages of entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs regard bootstrapping as a necessity rather than a strategy. This means they must make do with very little – not by choice.

The question for the individual entrepreneur is not whether the money could be put to good use, but is it worth considering a government program for support in your startup? Here are four things to consider:

1. Value
2. Lethargy
3. Cost
4. Independence

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South LA Best Buy Teen Tech Center opens June 2

The South Los Angeles Best Buy Teen Tech Center is the third of 12 to open in Los Angeles, and is part of a bold effort announced last year by Best Buy, in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation and Greater LA Education Foundation. The centers are safe, after-school spaces for students to have access to the latest technology and develop critical skills through hands-on activities.

The new South LA Best Buy Teen Tech Center on S. Western Avenue features a mural by South LA artist, Mike Norice, commissioned by VSEDC. (photo credit: Adam Dominguez)

“The education, training and hands-on access at the Best Buy Teen Tech Centers prepares teens for tech-reliant careers of the future,” said Andrea Wood, Head of Social Impact at Best Buy. “This is a collective effort. We’re honored to collaborate with committed partners like the Annenberg Foundation and VSEDC to build brighter futures for young people in South LA through tech.”

The grand opening celebration for the South LA Teen Tech Center is slated for the afternoon of June 2, when community members, civic and education leaders, and partners will gather to formally launch the space.

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Blog The PISLA Beat

Founders showcase their startups at PISLA’s Demo Day

Last Thursday, go-getters and trailblazers in the tech industry gathered for Plug In South LA’s  (PISLA) founder’s showcase, also known as Demo Day. The event held at YOUBE in Los Angeles featured a host of tech founders from the PISLA Accelerator Program who gave dynamic presentations on their startups.

Founders from the cohort included Zef Neemuchwala (Be A Maker Club), Serge Amouzou (Finpro), Ashley Williams (RIZZARR), Dr. Nana Afoh-Manin (Shared Harvest Fund), Dr. Steven Moyo (Welfie), Leonard Tatum (Tatum Games, LLC), Mitchella Gilbert (Femtech Apparel), Kyra Peralte (The Traveling Diary) and Kameale Terry (ChargerHelp). 

Each presenter captivated the audience with their powerful pitches and strong business models which led to intriguing discussions and valuable connections. Support and encouragement among one another was felt in the room with the event concluding on a high note. PISLA is extremely proud of these rockstar founders and grateful for those who have come alongside us to champion the success of black and brown founders.

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