Thursday, September 18, 2014

Matt Levine Talks about his Company - ECR

 Matt Levine Talks about his Company - ECR


Where are you from originally?  

A suburb of Houston called Clear Lake


What university did you go to? 

Baylor University – sic em Bears


What is the idea behind your company? 

Focused and professional commercial real estate services based on long-term relationships with our clients


What need does it fulfill? 

Anyone with a need in commercial real estate, from a requirement to lease, sell, purchase, or have our firm manage their commercial real estate assets for them


Who is it for? 

Anyone with a commercial real estate requirement. 


What was the most challenging aspect of growing your business?  

In the very beginning when ECR was more of an idea than an operating company it was challenging to help bring on team members to grow the business.  However, opportunity presented itself and our core team that started with us in the beginning and have helped build ECR to where it is today are still with us helping lead us to new heights.


What is the next step for you and your business? 

Continue to build out our commercial real estate brokerage team to be able to serve more people in the Greater Austin area and expanding to other markets thereafter.


What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? 

Keep your head up, stay positive and stay true to your course.


What is your motto in business? 

I like to encourage other entrepreneurs launching new businesses to laser-focus on sales in the beginning, as without sales you have nothing, but with sales you can build and build.



What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?  

INC Magazine has been an amazing source of information, articles and stories for me throughout the years.  I read INC Magazine cover to cover each month and always end up sending myself a handful of notes and ideas from the content.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

“We Put Our Money Into Our People, Not Our Facilities”--Tim Edwards of NSR Holdings



“We Put Our Money Into Our People, Not Our Facilities”

Tim Edwards was a student at Brigham Young University when he helped start FirstRev, which eventually led to the founding of EBQuickstart, the genesis of NSR Holdings, Inc (“No Small Reputation”). EBQuickstart grew out of his Capstone project to become a leader in Outsourced Sales Services and is one of five Pardot Preferred Partners.

Before that, Tim attended 3 different colleges while working towards a degree. First, he followed a basketball dream. Then, Tim says, “I looked for cost effective education since I was paying my own way. BYU offered a scholarship and provided a more cost effective degree than I could get from UT, so I went there.” After the first company began to gain traction he dropped out to focus on the company and never finished his degree.

Tim used the success of EBQuickstart to fund NSR Holdings, Inc . Tim says, “We are in essence a small image of Berkshire Hathaway. However, expanding a group of companies or portfolio of organizations that are not necessarily linked to each other takes an ability in multi-tasking and leader development. I can’t fully manage each company and creating managers who understand and implement the vision of their perspective business unit is essential to the success of each business unit.”

Since its founding, NSR has started or acquired two additional companies and a non-profit. Silver Rock is a project management and professional services company. Limelight Technologies builds and sells electroluminescent lighting products for homes and businesses. And Maverick’s Miracle Babies helps families afford infertility treatments via grants.

Tim says he has always enjoyed building businesses and managing operations and scope. “By establishing a holding company, I am able to scratch the entrepreneur itch without having to give up the prior company I created or acquired. “

What makes NSR unique is it’s focus on meritocracy and how it grows managers and leaders from within its organizations. Tim explains, “Our ability to develop leaders has created an environment where we promote 90% of our management from within.”

NSR businesses conduct 101 courses in their businesses, taught by the business leaders. Employees that are looking to grow their careers are encouraged to explore the upward or outward mobility that a meritocracy-driven holding company can provide. Says Tim, “Our training programs are deep and very hands on and we hold ourselves accountable to make sure the internal employees are given every chance to understand expectations and culture in order to earn consideration for available positions. “

Growing up in Austin, Tim sees the culture and environment of Austin as being core to his businesses’ success. Because he hires from within, almost all of his new employees are entry level. The large number of universities in town provide him a fresh batch of recruits every year. And although he hires entry level employees, it’s not the GPA or transcript that he looks for as much as it is the ability to set a goal and accomplish it.

“It’s just like our customer’s do with us” explains Tim. “We then work to create an environment where employees receive what they earn. We work hard, set clear expectations, provide thorough training, and allow leaders to rise to the top.” This has enabled Tim to “Create mid-level management who understand the vision and implement it while maintaining the culture that was established within the smaller company.” NSR’s portfolio of companies currently have about 75 employees and are looking to add another 25 in the next twelve months.

The desire and ability to promote from within and cross pollinate between businesses makes NSR stronger than the individual companies would be alone. Each business unit can approach different industries and drive different value propositions. Then, as an investment company, NSR can benefit from great ideas that have not taken off and are caught in stagnant or failing companies. Says Tim, “We acquire organizations and embed our scope, vision, and finances into their growth and can put their great idea into a better, more fruitful situation.”

Tim believes that this focus on internal employee growth and success is one of the main ways that NSR sets itself apart from its competition. Tim says that “Existing management and personnel can provide great insight into your organization and how to drive it forward. Outside advice is always appreciated, but those who are in it with you will be more likely to assess the situation and then help to sustain the solution.”

Like most fast-growing companies, cash flow is one of the most important factors and limiters to NSR’s growth. Tim says, “We worked out of an apartment and then a broken down office building while we organically created momentum. We took the bootstrapping route but it is tough.”

While continuing to bootstrap, NSR is now at a place where it can fund its own growth. Tim says, “We have 3 major business units and are working to keep each on pace for stable, long term growth. We will also look for growth by adding additional business units and making further investments in private and public companies. “

Tim recognizes the struggles that entrepreneurs face. “If I had to do it all over again” says Tim, “I would have gone slower at certain times. But there is nothing harder or more rewarding in the business world than starting your own businesses. You will go through the lowest lows and the highest highs. If you aren’t ready for hurt, you shouldn’t start a company. “



Monday, September 1, 2014

Pawan Gupta talks about Point AB

Pawan Gupta talks about Point-AB

Where are you from originally?

From India however, I have spent most of my life in US, so this is home.


What university did you go to?

I did my engineering at IIT in India and UCLA followed by MBA at Pepperdine University, CA.


What is the idea behind your startup?

I have seen so many companies and products fail because the team gets too close to the idea and stops seeing the reality and/or does not plan well. It’s sad to see so many good ideas and products never make it. Just imagine what it would add to our life and economy if they were done right.

We help companies to hit the bull’s-eye.

I am fortunate to have worked at large companies like Microsoft, Citicorp, and Toshiba as well as Start-ups where I learned about strategy and planning. Business is like playing chess; you have to plan ahead and make several right moves or you lose. You have to get several things right: the product, pricing, go-to market plan, channel, partners, raising money etc. 
We help companies to do this right.


What need does it fulfill?

Risk management; one of the biggest and most important aspects of running a company or team is to manage the risk well. Risk management is generally associated with financial management however, even bigger contributor to risk management is having the business, product, go-to market strategy right.

Since most entrepreneurs and product leaders get too close to their idea to see the reality as it is or in case of a first time entrepreneur, he/she has never done it before and lacks the seasoning of experience. They are too close to the problem or are emotionally invested in their idea. We help them to clear the fog, sort out the issues, and zero-in on the target – to see around the corners and discover ways of solving the toughest problems.
We work very closely with the client and give them full undivided attention.

What exactly does it do?

We can think of it in two categories. 

First, we help to build a sound strategy for the business, product, or go-to market. This involves one or more of the following: analyzing the market, trends, product roadmap, company data, company goals, competitive scenario and coming up with a strategy.

Second, we offer workshops in Presentation Skills, Business-to-Business Sales Skills, and Managerial Skills. Having a solid strategy or roadmap is important however having the ability to communicate and execute it is even more important.


Who is it for?

Consulting Services are for funded startups or large companies.
The workshops are for any size companies as well as individuals.
Our presentation skills workshop, The Art and Science of Presentations, is the most popular one and we have had 100% success rate with it. Communication skills are critical for everyone – if you cannot get your idea across, it has little value.

Warren Buffet once said, “If you improve your communication skills, I will guarantee you that you will earn 50% more money over your lifetime.”


What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?

Giving up the comfortable corporate life. Once you decide you are going to do it, you kind of get in to the swing of things. From there on it is persistence to make it happen.


What is the next step for you and your business?

All my engagements have been by referral. I am new in Austin, so getting to know people and getting those first engagements is important. Although, I have to say, the people in Austin are just wonderful – it’s easy to talk to them and they are so willing to help.
My way of doing business is to spend at least 2-4 hours with a prospect before agreeing to take up the assignment. This allows both sides to evaluate each other. If I cannot do the job, I let them know and try to refer someone else.


What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Starting a company is the most exciting and fulfilling career experience one can have. It is tough and you got to be a bit crazy because it is amazingly hard work.

The most important thing is to keep it simple! Make sure the market is ready for consuming your product or service. Many times companies fail because they are far ahead of the times.
Don’t be shy to trade equity for money. Money makes money. The market gives you no points for being ultra-brave to pull it off on your own.  Once you have an idea, know that there are lots of others who are also pursuing it. In that regard test the product often at interim stages to make sure you are hitting the mark? Know one thing that your products are going to be quite different than what you started with, so be ready to adjust.

Finally, investors care about only two things: (i) how much money they will make and (ii) how much risk are they taking by giving you the money. If you can address these two satisfactorily, you’ll walk away with their money.


What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

Relationships. If you plan to start a company, get out and make friends; get yourself introduced to people in power and who can help you. This work starts way early. If you haven’t started, get started.


There are organizations like TEXNetworks and TiE that are great places to meet like minded people including investors, lawyers, bankers, potential partners and employees. I am new to Capital Factory but I attended one of their events and they seem like a great organization to join as well. Investors, lawyers, bankers, partners, future employees, etc. are the people you will need to be successful.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scott Faust Talks about Togga

Scott Faust Talks about Togga


Where are you from originally?

Miami, Florida


What university did you go to?

Georgetown University.  Hoya Saxa!


What is the idea behind your company?

The idea behind Togga is that soccer is the most popular and exciting sport in the world, yet there does not exist a leading draft style fantasy platform that lets fans connect, engage and enjoy with their friends and the worldwide soccer community.


What need does it fulfill?

Our platform fulfills the following needs:
  1. A draft style format - The draft is the best part of playing fantasy sports and we have finally made it possible for soccer fans.
  2. Enhanced Scoring – We are the first fantasy soccer platform to reward valuable player stats that have not been recorded in other fantasy sites.  These include stats such as shots on target, successful dribbles and crosses, chances created and interceptions.  Now a 0-0 or 1-0 game will still be exciting for the average fan.
  3. A keen focus on the user experience – We have a mission to build a platform that clearly establishes Togga as setting the bar in terms of always thinking in a user first mentality.
  4. Community – The online soccer community is vast and we will create an environment where our users can play and engage with soccer fans across the world.

What exactly does it do?

Togga allows users to set up a league and invite friends to compete in a season long fantasy competition.  It also allows single users to find other soccer fans to form a league.  In time, Togga will offer varying styles of weekly games so users can have access to even more action.


Who is it for?

Initially, our platform is for the 1.5 billion fans who watch the biggest league in the world, the English Premier League (EPL).  After rolling out to the EPL, we will create games for other soccer leagues around the world, beginning with Major League Soccer.


What was the most challenging aspect of growing your business?

Building a fantasy platform from scratch is not a small undertaking as it requires a ton of engineering and product time/expertise (combined with navigating the plethora of league distinctions that make the EPL so exciting).  The most challenging part was establishing the prioritization of the product roadmap and then forming the team and roles to constantly improve the communication and velocity with enhancing the platform.


What is the next step for you and your business?

The next step is to continually enhance the product, while at the same time, acquiring users to engage with the game.  We have been seeing weekly double digit user growth with several emails a day from users expressing their excitement about the platform.  We are actively seeking seed investment to increase both engineering and marketing efforts.


What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Move forward each day!  The amount of items to do will always seem endless, but the key is to accept this as natural and then prioritize, focus and continually make progress.  The speed at which this happens is dependent on finding the best team and then delegating to their area of expertise.


What is your motto in business?

Demand the best, get it done, build awesome


What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

Wow, there have been a ton.  A phrase that sticks with me is:

See it, forget it
Read it, learn it
Do it, understand it

It’s a combination of jumping in head first in order to provide a framework and then looking to people you respect in both your network and online to substantiate and better understand how to approach the aspect of the business you are focused on.  My top online thought leaders that I always to go to are Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, Jeff Weiner, Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Email Becomes the New TV

I used to watch TV -- a lot.  In fact, growing up it was always on and for a time became part of the background noise in the house.  You turned it on and content just showed up.  You didn't have to go find it.  You didn't have to analyze it if you didn't want to or if you didn't need to.  It was just there and that was great.   There were periods of interesting content segmented by commercials -- some of which came up frequently and some quite interesting -- most of it not.

Email used to be my to-do list.  In fact, some startups are banking on the fact that email users still treat email as the daily to-do list.   As the email continues to grow it's starting to look like TV.  It's always on with content continually pouring through the digital pipes. There are sections of content segmented with a "commercial" promoting the next event, product, or activity.  It's now part of the background noise. Productivity coaches tell us to check email only two or three times a day and no more. It's no longer the to-do list even though some users are desperately fighting to keep it that way.   So what comes next?

Hopefully, the next generation of email will be able to manage content from a multitude of sources and for many purposes.  It should be able to list messages by priority and importance rather than time and date of arrival. It should integrate with other tools so it can move files and links from one application to another without manual entry.  It should form collaboration groups more efficiently and tie results to a calendar or project management list more effectively.  It should leverage social media more effectively rather than run independently from it.

Perhaps the next big thing will be the next generation of email.

Best regards,
Hall T.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Make Room for the Investor in the Business Model

While some investments merit an equity position because the company is on the fast track for growth in a highly desirable industry, many startups are not.  In reviewing business models, there's a cost set aside for sales, marketing, and product development, but rarely does one see the cost for funding.  In fact, most business models don't even take funding into consideration which is one factor why so many entrepreneurs spend an inordinate amount of time raising funding.  There's simply no room for the investor in the business model.

The equity raise is giving way to the revenue-based funding investment. Investors are looking for revenue streams and attaching to it.  The implication to the entrepreneur is that they have to develop business models that take in account the cost of funding.   When was the last time you saw funding as a line item in a startup business plan?  

More and more the world is moving to a pay for performance and pay for use.  Funding will go to entrepreneurs who perform and entrepreneurs will pay for the use of money along the way, and not just at the end of the rainbow.

I recommend you start making room for the investor in your business model as that will be the primary way you'll be able to engage funding.

Best regards,
Hall T.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Brendan Coffey talks about Heatgenie

Brendan Coffey talks about Heatgenie

Where are you from originally?

I’m from the Chicago area but allergic to cold winters.  Love Austin.


What university did you go to?

I got my BSc. degree from the University of Manchester (England) in 1981 and then worked in industry for 10 years before going back to Johns Hopkins for a PhD. in materials science.


What is the idea behind your startup?

Basically, for all sorts of reasons, and today more than ever, people would like to be able to have a hot meal or drink anywhere and anytime.  There’s strong market research to prove it.  But while others have tried, there’s never been a self-heating packaging technology that offered all the performance, safety, and cost characteristics needed.  That’s what we bring.


What need does it fulfill?

Our technology gives brand producers of packaged food and beverage the means to make their products available to consumers.  It goes beyond the convenience of microwave ovens to create new dining opportunities: desktop or dashboard dining, freshly heated meals in a lunchbox, etc.


What exactly does it do?

We have invented and patented a compact, very efficient, and safe heater that fits into the base of a package and allows a consumer to push a button and have hot food or drink in 2 minutes.


Who is it for?

Convenience and mobility are designed into all sorts of new products, not just food and beverage because consumers want it.  Our technology is the wireless or untethered app for eating out.


What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?

Raising funds for an early stage product concept.  It’s easier now that we are funding commercialization and have active customer interest.


What is the next step for you and your business?

Our business model is licensing so we’ve already begun the process of transferring to a manufacturer and we’ll continue to work with them as they scale to high volume.  Also product technical support; along with our packaging partners, we’re working with food & beverage brands who pay us to customize the product to their specific requirements.


What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Put a lot of thought into the team you need to accomplish the business objectives. The right team is what will make it successful.   Network a lot.


What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?


Every problem you encounter has been met before so we’re very fortunate to be based in central Texas where there is an active entrepreneurial community to engage with.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dawn Weathersbee writes Three Steps to Leveraging Your Network for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign



Many companies launching a crowdfunding campaign believe that signing up on a crowdfunding platform will bring supporters flocking to their project. Simply post, and they will come. But the reality is that only 2% of funds raised come from outside of a company’s own network. This was the experience of Diana Mitchell, Founder and Designer at DDCC, a fashion company in San Francisco. As a client and a friend, Diana graciously agreed to meet with me to discuss the promotion of her successful Kickstarter campaign, where she exceeded her $17,000 goal for funding the manufacture of her spring line. She shared with me her ideas for activating and expanding one’s network in order to get project backers.  As Diana found, the majority of her supporters were friends and friends of friends, showing that word of mouth is still the most effective method of advertising for crowdfunding.
Our talk led me to develop a list of three necessary networking steps for any crowdfunding campaign. These three steps should happen months BEFORE the campaign launch.
Step One: Prepare Your Network
  • Talk with Everyone, Early On
Diana is one to err on the side of building trust with her customers through brand familiarity. Two months before she launched her campaign, she made an effort to discuss her plans with her friends, family, networks, and just about anyone at any event she attended. She didn’t want to appear to be just asking for money all of a sudden, and felt that putting the campaign on people’s radar ahead of time would encourage them to support her project and spread the word.
  • Ask People for the Right Connections
Looking back on this time period, she wished she had also considered asking people point blank if they knew anyone with extended reach in the media, or held prominence in communities associated with her fitness products. After her campaign was over, people told her they knew so-and-so at this specific media outlet with so much reach. She says people don’t always just think of it, and you should be brave enough to ask.
Step Two: Identify Your Numbers 
  • The 10% Rule
It is said that in sales one out of ten people you approach will buy. In the online world, you probably need more than ten impressions to gain one sale. Based on her backer rewards list and financial goal, Diana realized she would need to have a minimum of 250 backers. She decided that she must try to reach 10,000 people, and set about finding ways to meet that number of potential backers. She looked at the membership numbers of organizations she was involved with, and also looked at the follower numbers of organizations, blogs, and businesses likely to want to support her product and its values.
Step Three: Extend Your Network
  • Be Active in Your Own Communities
You should already have established your own social media platforms and developed your own audiences long before you launch. From there, ask your supporters to spread the word for you. Diana did these things and also extended her reach by recruiting her loyal customers to be the stars of her pitch video, and asked them to promote her campaign, too.
  • Join and Be Active in Your Targeted Communities
Based on her goal of reaching 10,000 people, Diana did research on the top 20 blogs associated with her product and her brand values. She emphasized that it is important to become a member of any online community before you ask them to support your project, otherwise, why would they care? When I asked her about her positioning in each of her online and personal event outreach efforts, she said to be authentic, but speak to the audience at hand. Think about what your product and your brand values have in common with the audience on any given platform and engage on those topics.
  • Gather Emails
Email marketing is still cited as being the number one online sales tool. Build your list whenever you can. Diana used online sign-ups for events, in-person sign-ups at trunk shows, industry events, etc. to build her list. Other ways to grow your list can be found here on Hootsuite’s blog. When approaching friends, family, or loyal customers, always make your email appeals personal. Always offer something of value when you send your emails, and people will keep opening them.

Running a crowdfunding campaign means reaching, interesting, and activating a crowd of people. The most successful way to do this is to build your network ahead of time, and keep building throughout your campaign cycle. No one said it would be easy, but the right type of prep work will make it run more smoothly for you and help you reach the backers you need.

You can reach Dawn Weathersbee at her site here

Best regards,
Hall T. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Karen Soeffker Talks about All Things Kids

Karen Soeffker Talks about All Things Kids


Where are you from originally?

I’m from Leicester in the United Kingdom originally but have spent most of my life in Germany.


What university did you go to?

Beauchamp College in the UK


What is the idea behind your startup?

Provide an alternative to toy stores that are stuffed  with mass produced, plastic, battery driven, whirring, mind numbing toys.


What need does it fulfill?

Children today have very limited access to high quality educational toys, particularly European toys. Our concept includes a Play Zone where all our toys and games are out of the box - children can interact with our toys and games in a beautiful setting.


What exactly does it do?

All Things Kids offers Exceptional toys, books and events. Each aspect of our concept has been designed to provide an exceptional experience whether it be product, service or event. The focus is always on educational, not just the toys and books but also the Play Zone which hosts toy themed birthday parties,  after school and summer classes, workshops for parents and foreign language play groups.


Who is it for?

With our flagship location on Main Street Georgetown and our 2nd location at The Domain in Austin, our future franchisees will be able to select from 2 models – Downtown and Uptown. Although the look and feel are similar, the Downtown concept has been designed to have a more classic look and the stores marketing and communications plan is based on working closely with local businesses, schools, churches and non-profits. 


The Uptown concept has a modern, upscale finish and gravitates more towards retailing of the toys and books than the Play Zone services. Both stores are fitted out with solid wooden shelves and floors, the best possible staging for our beautiful toys. The toy islands are all on wheels and can be moved aside in a matter of minutes to allow room for magic shows, balloon artists and even talent shows! Yes, we’ve done that before. 

We have been careful to design the stores to be an experience for both children and adults. Classic toys and books remind Grandparents and parents of their childhood and are eager to share them with their little ones. 


What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?

We started out with a little inventory and in a location with little foot traffic. It took us a year to fix both issues – now both locations are fully stocked and enjoy strong traffic.


What is the next step for you and your business?

We are currently working on franchising our concept. The plan is to roll out 40 stores within the next 5 years both in downtown communities and high end Malls. Our Domain location is a Simon Property Mall, they have recently used our store as ‘Best Practice’ at their national convention. We are working with the Simon Property Group to identify similar malls to place our franchises.


What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

-         Surround yourself with brilliant people.
-         Ask for help and take it!
-         Passion is contagious and will always get you to your goal


What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce has been very helpful, they provide many workshops and even SCORE sessions. They have been able to connect us to business leaders as well as financial and marketing resources that we have needed.  We received the Small Business of The Year in 2012 so that was a real honor to be recognized by our peers so early in our journey.


The Texas Downtown Association has also been instrumental. Last year, we were awarded the Best Downtown Business in Texas – this has opened the door to other downtown contacts throughout the State.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chris Forgey Talks about Light Bohrd


Chris Forgey Talks about Light Bohrd


Where are you from originally?  

I was born in Groton, CT, but grew up in Lubbock, Texas.


What university did you go to?  

Texas Tech University.


What is the idea behind your startup?  

My oldest son was the inspiration behind the idea.  My wife and I bought him a skateboard for his 8th birthday.  It quickly became his biggest passion in life.  So of course, as parents we supported his passion by taking him all over to skate parks.  I spent countless hours filming him and taking pictures.  One night he and I were talking about some of pictures and I came up with the idea of adding lights to the bottom of the board for better artistic effect.  So that led us on our journey to see if we could make it happen.  The idea and technology have evolved from that point.


What need does it fulfill?  

Our lighting technology has evolved with a purpose of improving the way people are seen.  Better visibility improves safety.


What exactly does it do?  

Our lighting technology is unique in that it’s fully embedded.  There are no wires, switches or batteries to worry about.  The lights are motion activated and the internal power source is wirelessly charged.


Who is it for?  

We’re seeding our technology into running apparel, snowboards, marketing apparel and helmets to name just a few of the applications.  Our next focus will be safety apparel.


What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?  

There are many obstacles and challenges with starting up a business.  We originally had a focus on bringing our own product to market.  This is a very difficult challenge.  Don’t underestimate the importance of branding and marketing.


What is the next step for you and your business?  

We’re now ready to scale the business by recruiting the right team and talent to exploit our technology and seed it into several market applications.

  
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?   

There will be many ups and downs.  The key is to keep pressing forward.  Build out a strong advisory board.
  


What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?  

Other entrepreneurs that have had success.  They can more easily help you navigate through each stage as an entrepreneur.  They help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can detract from the real things that matter in getting your business off the ground.