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Startups Should Make Their First Dollar Before They Raise Their First Dollar – ReadWrite

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Brad Anderson


The world of startups is a bit like a gold rush right now: there’s lots of money to be made, almost no rules regarding who will make or lose it, and only a few will actually see a sustained profit at the end of the day. Global venture funding hit a record high in the first half of 2021, with $288 billion being poured into early-stage businesses. Numbers that high are probably leaving entrepreneurs everywhere wondering what they need to do to get a bigger slice of that pie.

Small business leaders salivating at the idea of getting a big cash injection from an angel investor need to slow things down a bit and focus on their own company first. The answer to the age-old question of whether your business should be trying to make money or raise money is almost universally the latter. Generating solid revenue streams early on will make many of the fundraising problems much easier to handle later on.

4 Reasons to Focus on Revenue Before Fundraising

1. More Independence

It doesn’t matter how good your idea is, how scalable it can be, or how interested investors are: a startup already making money is in a completely different league from one with no revenue. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with startups that can’t initially generate cash.

Some ideas require larger amounts of capital than others to become viable — but the early establishment of revenue streams completely changes the relationship between your business and its investors.

If you’re already making money, you’ve already proven that you have an established model to maintain a successful business.

Any investors who hop on board later will need to acknowledge that they’re joining an already-successful enterprise, not trying to build one from the ground up. On the other hand, if your company has yet to make any money at all, your investors will want a bigger say in how you eventually go about doing so.

Every dollar you make before allowing investors to come in is a piece of evidence showing that your business works and doesn’t need an investor to come to save it. This can help protect you against any overbearing “angels” later on down the road.

2. More Leverage

Along those same lines, revenue also makes investor negotiations much easier to navigate. If you’re running a business without products currently deployed, it can be difficult to negotiate with investors in good faith. How can either of you confidently give a valuation of a business that doesn’t make money? How will you be able to push back against offers that seem too low, too controlling, or not cash-heavy enough?

The truth is that revenue is your ace in the hole when it comes to negotiation.

Not only does it increase your standing among investors, but it also ensures that your business doesn’t become fixated on ideas that only become profitable at a massive scale, ceding even more control to your investors.

According to Devon Fanfair, co-founder of startup studio Devland, “building companies that demonstrate enterprise value is the best path for new builders because they generate revenue with very little investment.

It allows operators to focus on solving quantifiable problems and building momentum that is fed with every new iteration. Unfortunately, some startup builders get lost solving consumer pains that are harder to validate without scale. This can prove to be adversarial to growing confidence and routine behaviors that breed traction.”

If it’s solid and consistent, even modest revenue can make a world of difference during seed rounds.

3. More Choice

The logic here is pretty simple: there is a relatively small subset of investors interested in investing in startups founded on great ideas that have yet to deploy them at a profit, but nearly all investors working today are willing to invest in companies that have an already-proven ability to make money out in the wild. So the more spoiled for choice you are when it comes to interested investors, the better terms you’ll be able to secure when negotiations eventually rear their ugly head.

If you don’t believe me, listen to Geoff Ralston, President of legendary startup incubator Y Combinator: “Investors need persuading. Usually, a product they can see, use, or touch will not be enough. They will want to know that there is a product-market fit and that the product is experiencing actual growth.

Therefore, founders should raise money when they have figured out what the market opportunity is and who the customer is, and when they have delivered a product that matches their needs and is being adopted at an interestingly rapid rate.”

A revenue stream of practically any size at all proves all of the things listed above — and more.

4. Greater Chance of Long-Term Success

It’s no secret that the vast majority of startups fail within the first 5 years after their founding, whether they received funding or not. While this issue is often thought of as germane only to the world of startups, businesses of all kinds are in constant peril of failure if they can’t find a way to make money.

Investor funding can only prop up an unprofitable business for so long, but it can disguise some of the internal problems young startups often suffer from. Eschewing early investment in favor of revenue generation ensures that your company never has the chance to mask unsustainable losses with investor money.

Secure revenue streams also mean that your business always has something to fall back on.

If plans for expansion and new products go completely awry, you can always be sure that there is at least one pathway for your business to remain viable into the future.

The world is so saturated with seed money right now that it’s easy to lose sight of what running a business is all about. Focus too much on investors, and they’ll never return the favor. Instead — prove that you have a business plan capable of surviving and thriving, and you’ll have no difficulty attracting the interest you want.

Image Credit: dziana hasanbekava; pexels; thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER

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ValueWalk


Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.

Russia’s Default

Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.

 

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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.

Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.

With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.

The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.

Data

Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.

Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.

This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.

The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses


Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.

Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.

Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.

Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.

What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?

E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
  • Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.

Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses

1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.

Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.

Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.

2. Leesa

An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.

Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.

The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.

3. Modcloth

ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.

Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.

ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.

4. Amazon

Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.

Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.

Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.

It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.

6. LARQ

LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.

LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.

The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.

7. Beer Cartel

Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.

Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.

One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.

8. Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.

They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.

They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.

9. Bonobos

With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.

This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.

They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.

10. TOMS

The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.

What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.

Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.

What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?

Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.

Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.

Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.

Conclusion

Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.

If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Parth Pandya

“Nothing Is Impossible” – is a quote that guided me to climb up the toughest peak of my professional journey. Having a great zeal for excellence and ambitious nature to reach the peak, leads me uninterrupted to provide the best content to all the visitors. I like to read and share contents which are related to Technology Solution and Digital Marketing.

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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?

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Gold Ban Mean for Stocks?


The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.

Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.

However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).

Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?

This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:

“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”

Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.

In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.

How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?

At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.

  1. The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
  2. Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
  3. The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.

Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.

Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.

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