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Run a Tight Ship: 8 Tips for Running Effective Meetings Online

We start the Springboard coaching program with a one-hour webconference call. It is a critical meeting that introduces our entrepreneurs to their coaching team, the coaches to each other, and provides everyone with a shared foundation for the coaching that will take place over the eight weeks that follow. A…

DIY Personal Advisory Board Part Two: Recruiting and Working with the Team

This article is part of a series on the Springboard process and the second half of a two-part post. Here is Part One. When we look to craft the coaching teams for the companies in our Springboard accelerator - Personal Advisory Boards - we first conduct an assessment to better…

DIY Personal Advisory Board Part One: Self-Assessment

This article is part of a series on the Springboard process and the first half of a two-part post. Here is Part Two. At Springboard, we run an 8-week individualized coaching program for the companies accepted for our accelerator. We identify each company's needs through a two-part assessment process, which…

The Investor Pitch Appendix is Your Friend

Yesterday we were talking with a Springboard entrepreneur who was selected for our accelerator this year. She has been working over the past six weeks with a team of coaches, as a group and individually, to refine her investor pitch, make connections, and hone strategy. As it often happens during…

The Problem With Judging Accelerator Success By The Numbers

This article is part of a series on the Springboard process. For an organization that runs accelerator programs like Springboard, metrics are intended to be an important and objective measure of success. We recently applied for the SBA's Global Accelerator Fund and TechCrunch Include and both asked us about how…

5 Networking Tips for Introverts

I'm an introvert. So in my role at Springboard, where I'm talking every day with entrepreneurs in our portfolio, new investors and advisors we're looking to engage, sponsors and prospective sponsors, I spend a lot of time operating outside my comfort zone. It also means that I need to find…

Email is a Necessary Evil. Here's How to Cope.

Last week I was doing a demo of a new product, and the founder was screensharing her entire desktop. As she was logging into her account, my eyes wandered and I couldn't help but notice another browser tab saying that there were over 60,000 emails in her Gmail. Most…

Inviting Criticism

Being a perfectionist has it's pros and cons, especially for those that work with and for startups. It can be good to take pride in your work and to produce good work, but not when perfect becomes the enemy of good. When it came to writing, I struggled with this…

The Venture Karma System

Everything in the startup world hinges on the strength of your relationships. Investors back people they know or people referred to them by people they know. It's why investors don't want to meet you, they want to be introduced to you. Your ability to navigate challenges that block your company's…

How to Start a Blog When You Don't Have the Time

It takes resolve to commit to blogging as an entrepreneur, and even more resolve to maintain it as a habit. There can be so many other competing priorities and the benefits of blogging often aren't realized short term. It's a long term strategy not just for your company but also…

5 Things You Shouldn't Forget When Pitching Investors

I'm not an investor but I've seen hundreds of pitches while running Springboard's accelerator programs for the last five years. There's a lot of good advice out there for how to construct an investor pitch, and like any advice you should think critically about whether it makes sense for you…

The One Reason All Entrepreneurs Should Write

Recently I read Jason Cohen's post about the challenges of writing and being a CEO and Ryan Hoover's reflections on the time that writing takes away from building. Being in an industry as fast-paced as the startup world, time is our most precious commodity. Where you focus and where you…

Feeling Phony

About a month ago, I made a commitment to write twice a week and publish that writing for the world to see. Sharing my ideas publicly still scares me, because despite having an authoritative tone I don't feel like an expert. This past week was a reminder of that. I…

Springboard's Secret Sauce

Someone last week asked me about our secret sauce. In other words, what is it about Springboard that gives us a differentiated competitive advantage? It's a topic I've discussed with many of our entrepreneurs, but we always focused on their secret sauce not Springboard's. To me, Springboard is a marketplace…

Why "Investor" is a Difficult Language to Learn

When I landed in Italy last Fall from DC, where I'd lived for the last nine years, I knew hardly any Italian. Ciao, Gratzie, Arrivederchi, and a handful of other catch phrases that I'd picked up from movies or books made up the full extent of my vocabulary. When I'd…

The Problem With All the Standard Investor Pitch Advice You've Heard

What if Entrepreneurs Used the Inverted Pyramid When we are about to see an entrepreneur pitch at Springboard and we're given a printed copy of the slides, we flip right to the team. I want to know the background of the person leading the company, because if we accept her…

Finding Fit

Last week, I was talking with a friend who had recently relocated to Australia and was looking for a new position there so she could be sponsored under the 547 visa policy. We talked about what kinds of opportunities she was looking for and I was thinking of some of…

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