Skip to content

Posts by SPN Newsroom

Startup Sales: Give it away

(Guest post by Kirk Hasenzahl.) There are a number of tremendous ideas and new startups in the Silicon Prairie these days. It is an exciting time to be a startup around here. In all my worldly travels as a startup founder (2 years worth), it amazes me that many of the most incredible ideas I hear consistently are missing a key part to the solution: sales.

The goal, I believe, is that at some point you do this to generate cash flow. Right? Or am I missing something? Even if you start a non-profit; money creates jobs, growth, and helps the company accomplish whatever …

Read More

If you (re)build it, they will come

(Guest post by Nathan Benjamin.) I don’t pretend to have a fail-proof recipe for a successful business, but I do know that for us, it’s about purpose, the planet and a bunch of people who all see a baseball game where others see only a field. A recent study in The Wall Street Journal found two-thirds of people would take a pay cut to work for a company that focused on sustainability. Why? Because we want our lives, and our work, to matter. InvenQuery was created around an environmental mission, and we stay true to that. It infuses who we are, what we do and why we do it. …

Read More

No. 1: “Fire the a**holes”

(Guest post by Paul Jarrett.) If my title was polarizing enough to entice you to read this, I’m guessing I have about two minutes and thirty seven seconds to get a few points across about company culture before you decide to stop reading before I lose you to /r/AWW. I could spend some of that time leading you to believe that Bulu Box has “the secret” to company culture… but we don’t. And that’s not how we roll. For me, there’s nothing more refreshing than someone with less than one year of entrepreneurial experience (that’s me) calling it how it is and sharing their experiences, candidly.

That said …

Read More

Creating a collaborative culture

(Guest post by Joe Petsick.) The word is thrown around rather frequently in the world of startup businesses, and is largely regarded as being pretty important, but at times, I’m not sure everyone defines it the same way when they process the word – culture. What is culture? For the purposes of this post, let’s agree on this definition:

cul·ture [kuhl-cher] noun – the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group working toward a common cause.

I recall during an extensive interview process for a particular key hire at a critical, high-growth time for Proxibid, that culture became …

Read More

Lessons from the classroom on company culture

(Guest post by Michal Eynon-Lynch.) Creating a positive company culture is much like creating a positive classroom culture. As former teachers and camp counselors, this is something we enjoy actively considering. When intentionally attempting to improve company culture, I recommend following these three tips:

1. Laissez-faire it up
2. Hire well
3. Make it enjoyable.
Laissez-faire it up:

In the classroom, I can easily make a lot of really firm rules and structures. I can make my students do worksheets every night and give them points for completing their homework on time. I can penalize …

Read More

Four points for a productive pitch to investors

(Guest post written by Mark Hasebroock.) Frequently, we are asked, “What should I present to you when I pitch my business?” I’ve heard and read a number of different ways to pitch and they all have merit. There isn’t one specific right answer. But there are some guidelines. From our standpoint, as capital providers and value add partners, we like to hear:
What’s the problem?
What’s your solution?
How big is the market opportunity?
Why will you win?
Format: Ten to twelve slides. Be brief and be blunt. |

What’s the problem?

Some of the best ideas we have invested in so far stemmed from a founder identifying a problem that is personal to them. It often starts with …

Read More

Prairie Portrait: Steve Roatch of Twentyseven Global

Silicon Prairie News: What factors led to your decision to leave your previous gig and start Twentyseven Global? |

Steve Roatch: I had spent my entire career at Accenture. It was a great run from new analyst to managing partner. But as the company grew, it became more bureaucratic and harder to innovate. So I joined a small software company as the COO, turned it around and ran it until we sold it. I found that I liked the small business environment and had several of my own ideas I was anxious to implement. |

SPN: What have you found to be the biggest challenges to working with offshore delivery centers? How about the most significant benefits of it? ?

SR: The biggest challenge, not surprisingly, is culture. I don’t mean …

Read More

Prairie Portrait: Andrew Evans of Gamer Talent

Silicon Prairie News: What was the series of events that led you to up and move to Kansas City and into the Homes for Hackers house? |

Andrew Evans: I was working hard and playing hard in San Francisco for about two years. I got burned out. I needed a really, really big break. I decided to quit my job, transfer the apartment and travel the world for a year or two while trying to start a company. While on my first month away in Costa Rica, I heard about Homes for Hackers. Free rent and Google Fiber sounded great. |

SPN: Aside from Gigabit-speed internet, what have been the biggest benefits of your time spent in Kansas City Startup Village? …

Read More

“Where the money is”

(Guest post by Gordon Whitten.) When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he famously said, “That’s where the money is.”

Not so different from an entrepreneur looking to start a business. Business is where the money is. But most entrepreneurs go into business to build something. The money to be earned is somewhat secondary to the creation of this new thing, which is kind of nice. Obviously, to get money out of the new business, however, you usually have to put some in.

I’ve raised capital for three entrepreneurial ventures of my own so far in my life, and I’m commonly asked, “What is the best way …

Read More