The Difference Between a Mentor and an Advisor

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on March 28, 2012:

I asked Jim Flowers, Executive Director of VT KnowledgeWorks, this question:

"What is the difference between a mentor and an advisor, between mentoring and advising?"

Jim Flowers kindly replied:

The Difference Between a Mentor and an AdvisorMy working definition of a mentor is "someone who provides timely, contextually relevant information."  Merlin did not tell young Arthur what to do.  He provided him with examples of potentially useful information about the world.

I also attempt to make clear for people the differences between and among information, opinion, and advice.  This set of distinctions is most easily demonstrated by a simple example.  "The sky is blue."  "Blue skies are pretty."  "You ought to go outside and look at the pretty blue sky."

Information is almost always useful.  Opinion is colored by the experiences and beliefs of the person opining.  Advice is a prescription, typically based on opinion, and is heavily loaded with the world view held by the advisor, often regardless of, or with limited relevance in the context of, the world view of the advisee.

"if I were you, I would…" is a useful acknowledgment that the advice about to be delivered is recognized as personal to the speaker, though not necessarily to the listener.

Advisors assume, at least temporarily, control of some part of the decision-making process.

Mentors assist and empower decision-making by the mentee.

More by Jim Flowers on Handshake 2.0

More about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0

Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0, is a VT KnowledgeWorks member company.  VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Three Fundamental Tools in the Fundraising Toolbox

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on March 26, 2012:

From Mike Drzal, LeClairRyan: 

Much has been written about what it takes to raise capital for startup and emerging companies.  The truth of the matter is that raising capital is simple but hard.  Many entrepreneurs are woefully unprepared as they approach capital providers, the result being frustration when they fail to connect.  Having the necessary tools in hand before embarking on a fundraising effort greatly enhances prospects for success.  Time spent developing and refining these tools forces focus and discipline and pays big dividends.

3 Fundamental Fundraising ToolsHere are three fundamental tools companies need when they begin to seek outside investment. 

The Executive Summary.  The first tool for the toolbox is a powerful, well written 2 - 2 1/2 page executive summary that covers the essential points that convince a capital provider to read on and want to learn more.  Think of it as an electronic calling card - we push these out to our internal and external networks in order to introduce a deal and generate leads for our clients.  Typical headings are:  The Company; The Opportunity; Large Market Size; Competitive Position and Barriers to Entry by Competitors; Go to Market Strategy; Management Team; Financing Requirements and Exit Strategy.  This is a sales document, not a securities disclosure document, and is designed to grab the attention of a potential investor and pre-qualify them as being interested in the company.  It amazes me how many of these I see that are not in the King's English. An incoherent executive summary projects an incompetent management team.

The Business Plan.  There are lies, damned lies and business plans.  No one's business ever developed exactly along the lines set forth in a business plan.  Everyone knows that, so why are entrepreneurs expected to bother?  The main reason is that putting one together forces the management team to articulate the revenue model and demonstrate a facility with the numbers.  Along the way, the management team has to think through the development path for the business and the capital it will take to buy the runway necessary for the business to take flight.  Putting together a business plan should not be outsourced - using a canned business plan or one prepared by someone else leaves the entrepreneur at serious risk of being asked a question when making a pitch that he or she has not thought through.  By all means observe the 80/20 rule - 80% of the business plan should consist of an expanded treatment of the topics covered in the executive summary and 20% on the invention or science.  Investors want to know you are focused on making money, not working on a science project.

The Slide Deck.  Investors have a limited attention span, so a 40-slide deck will not do.  There are only about a dozen or so points that are essential to cover: Overview; The Problem/Opportunity; The Solution; The (Large) Market; The Technology/Product; Unique Competitive Advantage/Barriers to Entry; Competitive Landscape; Go to Market Strategy; Financial Roadmap (including high level 5-year projections and investment sought); The Team; Current Status (milestones achieved and pending orders); Exit (include most likely exit and comparables if available); Summary (three strongest points and what distinguishes this opportunity from others).  Detail on any or all of these points can be kept in hidden slides, available at the touch of a button in response to a potential investor's question.  Excellent presentation skills are a must.  Slides are not a crutch and should not be read.  

So there it is, the Fundraising Toolkit - simple but hard.  With these tools in hand, a bit of coaching, and the right warm introductions, fundraising success can be yours!

Mike Drzal will be the keynote speaker at the VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Challenge in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 11, 2012.

Read more from LeClairRyan on Handshake 2.0.

LeClairRyan specialized in high-tech corporate law.LeClairRyan is a law firm that has deep entrepreneurial roots, having originally been founded as a venture capital boutique.  With more than 350 attorneys and offices from Virginia to New York to California, the firm provides business counsel and client representation in matters of corporate law and high-stakes litigation.  Its mission is to achieve excellence for its clients by providing integrated, responsive and timely services.  LeClairRyan has numerous attorneys and professional support staff focused on intellectual property, venture capital and the other legal needs that are often required by emerging businesses.  Our intellectual property team is nationally recognized in patent prosecution, interferences, reissues and reexaminations, and in patent litigation in the biotech, pharmaceutical, software, chemical, electrical and physical science fields.  This suite of services, coupled with expertise in venture capital and other types of equity financing, strengthens the firm’s ability to serve entrepreneurial, knowledge-based companies.

LeClairRyan and VT KnowledgeWorks are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

VT KnowledgeWork Blog Offers Global Handshake

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:21 AM on November 29, 2011:

On November 30, 2011, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, the blog for business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, will celebrate its fourth anniversary.

Inside VT KnowledgeWorks was founded in 2007 to report and share news of its entrepreneurs, start-ups, member companies, partners, sponsors and events at VT KnowledgeWorks. I, and then the company I founded through VT KnowledgeWorks, Handshake Media, Incorporated, have operated the blog since its beginning.

Global matters.

From reflecting upon operating the VT KnowledgeWorks blog for four years and from analyzing four years of traffic to the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, I discovered these beauties:

  • When we started the blog in 2007, the top source of traffic was direct i.e. people knew of the blog and typed in the URL or clicked on a link in an email. Four years later, the top source of traffic is Google search results. 
  • From 2007 to the present, Google search users from 136 countries have found what they sought on the VT KnowledgeWorks blog.
  • In 2007, VT KnowledgeWorks was an incubator serving technology companies and entrepreneurs in the Blacksburg, Virginia, USA area, home of Virginia Tech. Today, it is in partnership with universities and companies around the world. In 2011, its global site, VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership, surpassed its home site as a top source of traffic to the blog.

Inside VT KnowledgeWorks began in 2007 in a town when one person said, "How about a blog?" and a person at an organization said, "Yes."

Four years later, that blog offers a global, entrepreneurial handshake and that town is a global destination for the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership

I am honored and delighted to have been part of reaching a handshake out to the globe's people on behalf of VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory mobile application, offering members of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership a way to find and connect with each other, is a Handshake(R) mobile app from Handshake Media.

Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0, is a member company of VT KnowledgeWorks. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Go Global, Eat Local, Listen Local

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:21 AM on August 18, 2011:

Since the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership launched, I've thought a great deal about the extent to which local companies can be global.  I have big dreams for my company and for the region in which it was founded.

Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys, Roanoke and Blacksburg, VirginiaBut I won't have to think global - I'll BE global - at the Tastes & Sounds of the Valleys Reception on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.

Tastes & Sounds of the Valleys is the welcome celebration and opening ceremony for the VT KnowledgeWork Global Partnership Week which includes the Global Student Challenge and interactions and meetings with student teams, university faculty, business professionals and business leaders from all over the world.  I'll be present locally at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia, USA, enjoying the local menu and music, but I'll BE among the global citizens of the world.

Please join me in being global!

Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys Reception
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center
Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Map

Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0, is a member company of VT KnowledgeWorks.  VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Artbeating Presents to Panel, Models Global Partnership

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:15 AM on August 2, 2011:

"French-founded company Artbeating presented its business model to a panel of regional corporate leaders on Friday, July 29, 2011, during their summer work-abroad experience at VT KnowledgeWorks in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Blacksburg, Virginia. In addition to providing useful feedback to the young entrepreneurs, this type of interaction fosters bonds of trust between globally distant partners and lays the groundwork for continuing inter-regional cooperation."
- VT KnowledgeWorks

I am neither an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
- Socrates

I was delighted and honored to be a member of the panel to which Artbeating presented its online marketplace for companies in need of designers in industrial, graphic, fashion, interior or motion design fields. I was particularly interested in the soon-to-be-released iteration of Artbeating.com in which a company can submit a brief and then select from, and negotiate with, the best designer for its creative project.

As part of VT KnowledgeWorks, I have attended dozens of presentations and pitches by young men with online enterprises.  What differentiated Artbeating's presentation from most of the others I've heard - and heartened me as well - is that the company is not seeking funding in the near future.  They want to create a superior product and service, then prove they have done so with the most fundamental measure of market value - revenue. 

In Artbeating Accelerates in Blacksburg, I wrote about the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's goal of establishing the Blacksburg, Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia regions as a global destination for companies seeking to accelerate their enterprises.  I would argue that Artbeating's presence in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA - an excellent one at that - is evidence of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership achieving its mission of fostering both the tangible and intangible benefits of global collaboration, partnerships and relationships.

Congratulations to Artbeating and to VT KnowledgeWorks.  You do us all -  citizens of the world - proud.

Artbeating at work in the JumpStart Community at VT KnowledgeWorks 
Artbeating.com team members at the JumpStart Community at VT KnowledgeWorks pictured left to right: Martin Houdbine, Charles-Éric "Charlie" Gorron, Romain Lauwerier, Mathieu Lima (Photo by Florent Mérian)

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Artbeating Accelerates in Blacksburg

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:52 AM on July 26, 2011:

In addition to fostering collaboration, partnerships and interactions, a goal of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership is to establish the Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA area as a global destination for companies seeking to accelerate their enterprises.  Artbeating.com participated in the 2010 VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Business Concept Challenge and returned in the summer of 2011 to Blacksburg, Virginia to do just that.  Artbeating.com is part of the JumpStart Community at VT KnowledgeWorks.  We asked Martin Houdbine, co-founder of Artbeating.com, to tell us more about Artbeating and about the company's choice to return to Blacksburg.  Martin kindly replied.

Artbeating.com is an online marketplace whose goal is to connect companies' needs and freelance designers' offers in industrial, graphic, fashion, interior or motion design fields.  Online, a company can submit a brief to our community and then select the best designer for its creative project. Artbeating's business model is based on a commission system.

Artbeating also provides information and various collaborative tools in order to enhance a designer's creativity that can become essential to their day-to-day creative life.

Artbeating at work in the JumpStart Community at VT KnowledgeWorks
Artbeating.com team members pictured left to right: Martin Houdbine, Charles-Éric "Charlie" Gorron, Romain Lauwerier, Mathieu Lima (Photo by Florent Mérian)

Artbeating was founded by four French students in December, 2010.  Since then, the community has been built (more than 500 designers use the website every day) thanks to the tools provided (Portfolios, Trends etc.). The second version of the website, which enables companies to submit their briefs, will be released soon.

To further develop our company, we chose to spend the summer in Blacksburg, first because we met plenty of interesting people, both professionally and personally when we participated in the Global Student Business Concept Challenge.  We had the opportunity to come back and share with people who have known our project since last year. Thus, we would be able to stand back and see what choices drove us from point A to point B and what things we would have done differently if we had to start all over.

Blacksburg is also a wonderful business place, especially in the technology and web technology fields. Many high growth companies are established there, such as Modea, a very interesting brand, also in the design field. We had the desire to come here for a different point of view on our business, and to create or foresee opportunities. 

In terms of our goals for our work this summer, we want, by September 2011, to have a global vision for our business.  Then, we seek feedback on our service in order to see if we could settle in the United States. We also want to observe business operations in other sectors, and try to adapt and apply them in our business.

Finally, we want to meet as many people as possible, to be able to ask for feedback and opinions when we need it, and to offer the same in return.

Welcome back to Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, Artbeating!

***

You're invited to read more about Artbeating on Handshake 2.0.

The 2011 VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Business Concept Challenge will be held during the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA, August 21-27, 2011.

Registration is open for participants, advertisers, and attendees.  Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys, the kick-off reception for the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week, will be held on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 5:30 PM - 7:30 - PM, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia.

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Start-ups Get Early Start on Global Partnership

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:30 AM on June 28, 2011:

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week begins on August 21, 2011, but we start-ups are getting an early start!

In Going Global, I wrote:

Looking ahead five years - maybe fewer - if the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's vision plays out, my university-rich locale will be enlivened not only by the presence of global students, researchers and faculty members, but by global corporate leaders and professionals as well.

No need to look ahead - global corporate leaders are here now!

Artbeating participated in last year's VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Business Concept Challenge and company members have returned to spend this summer accelerating their start-up at VT KnowledgeWorks as members of the JumpStart Community.   

I love this quote from VT KnowledgeWorks:  [The VT KnowlegeWorks Global Partnership] "offers university students, faculty, and business professionals from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships and interact on a completely unique and exciting level."  Yes!

Welcome back to the "unique and exciting" Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, Artbeating! 

Artbeating at Wikiteria in Blacksburg, Virginia

Artbeating and Handshake shared lunch at Wikiteria at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center on June 24, 2011.  Pictured left to right: Mathieu Lima, Romain Lauwerier, Charles-Éric "Charlie" Gorron, Martin Houdbine, Anne Clelland.

Photo credit: Florent Mérian

Registration is open for participants, advertisers, and attendees of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week, August 21-27, 2011, Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA.  Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys, the kick-off reception for the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week, will be held on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 5:30 PM - 7:30 - PM, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory mobile application, offering members of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership community a way to find and connect with each other, is a Handshake(R) mobile app from Handshake Media.

VT KnowledgeWorks and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company and parent company of Handshake 2.0.

VT KnowledgeWorks to Hold Global Party: Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 3:26 PM on May 25, 2011:

Exciting news from VT KnowledgeWorks:

Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys during VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week 
Kick off the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week in style with unique food and music from the Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia.  Help introduce our Valleys to an audience of students, university faculty, and business professionals and leaders from all over the world as we celebrate our growing place in the global community.

Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys Reception
5:30-7:30 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center
Roanoke, Virginia, USA

Questions? Please call 540-443-9100 or email [email protected]. Here's the Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys "Save the Date" flyer (.pdf).

***

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership is a three-layered, ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social, academic, and commercial relationships with each other, honoring their mutual best interests and for mutual long-term advantage.

On Handshake 2.0, we wrote about the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's recommendations in Going Global.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students, faculty, and business professionals from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships and interact on a completely unique and exciting level in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA.

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory mobile application offers members of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership community a way to find and connect with each other.

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

JumpStart and FirstOffice for Good People and Good Companies

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2011:

My passion is sharing good news about good people and good companies.
 
VT KnowledgeWorks at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center I was reading the latest from VT KnowledgeWorks on its co-working space, the JumpStart Community, and a new package called the FirstOffice Program. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media and we publicize the VTKW member companies, partners and sponsors through the VTKW blog and our social media services and consulting.  JumpStart and FirstOffice offer many features and benefits, but it was this bullet point that captured my fancy:  “4-month membership in VT KnowledgeWorks.” 
 
This means two things to me:  1) My company, Handshake Media, Incorporated, is a VT KnowledgeWorks member company.  When I hear of new members at VT KnowledgeWorks, I want to clasp their hands.  They have no idea what good is ahead for them. 2) I’ll get to continue to pursue my passion - my company will get to publicize FirstOffice members.

Here are highlights of JumpStart and FirstOffice from VT KnowledgeWorks:

The VT KnowledgeWorks JumpStart Community is a co-working space for start-up companies and businesses.  Located at VT KnowledgeWorks at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, JumpStart is a step up for home office-based entrepreneurs in all industries, but still short of a full commitment to a private office suite.
 
FirstOffice Program - $750

Fundamentals and perks:

  • 4-month membership in the JumpStart Community for up to 3 people
  • work space
  • conference rooms
  • interaction with fellow founders
  • wi-fi
  • coffee
  • $50 gift certificate to the Wikiteria Cafe 

Business acceleration services:

  • 3 two-hour strategy sessions with 2 professional mentors
  • market opportunity review
  • product/service differentiation
  • profitability plan
  • 4-month membership in VT KnowledgeWorks

According to Jim Flowers, “We offer Class A office space, plus all the amenities and perks of a CRC domicile, such as cool conference rooms, easy parking, and seasoned professional mentorship.  And we run a professionally administered blog and social media program to publicize our members.  And, BTW, we are easily accessible from all over town, including the campus, via regularly scheduled Blacksburg Transit bus service.”
 
Looking forward to hearing who signs up for FirstOffice and to sharing their good news!
 
VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.  Handshake Media, Incorporated is a member company of VT KnowledgeWorks.

Global Handshake Survey

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:48 AM on May 4, 2011:

"Know thyself."
-inscribed on the Temple of Apollo in Delphi

Martin Houdbine and Charles-Eric Gorron of Artbeating The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman is now in a 3.0 version, but when I read it five years ago, I didn't have a high-tech start-up with high-growth dreams, and I certainly had not done business internationally other than as a consumer.  Now that I do have that company and have done business internationally, if only minimally, I have become thoughtful about Friedman's premise about the oneness of the global economy.

I'm not alone. I am studying work by Pankaj Ghemawat, professor of global strategy at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, and author of World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It. In The Cosmopolitan Corporation (Harvard Business Review, May 2011), Ghemawat writes:

 "For every article or book you read about the world being flat, you’ll read another that highlights the rise of state capitalism and the economic rivalries between China, India, and the United States. It’s worth reemphasizing that the world is neither a collection of autonomous nations (World 1.0) nor perfectly flat (World 2.0), but semiglobalized, with some places being much closer to home than others. In such a world, rooted cosmopolitanism is a more realistic and, ultimately, more useful objective than statelessness."

The concept of "some places being much closer to home than others" seems in keeping with the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's recommendations for regional economic development. While those recommendations are addressed to "cities with strong universities," I used them as criteria by which to evaluate my own company "going global" as I attempt to contribute to my locale becoming "among the globally competitive regions as the economy of the 21st century evolves."

I am finding my company's current greatest strength and contribution to be in "deliberately creating multi-layered global networks."  Those networks are with people and they, of course, are what Handshake 2.0 is all about - "It's still who you know." 

With regard to globalization, Ghemawat writes that an estimated 90% of the world's population will never leave home, yet "it’s the people who are their [corporations'] customers, employees, investors, and suppliers."  He asserts, "...a global strategy and a global organization...must be based not on the elimination of differences and distances among people, cultures, and places, but on an understanding of them."

Let's start "close to home" with understanding of self first, then others.  To aid in the process of understanding each of our companies in a region that is part of a global economy, I invite you to take our Global Handshake Survey.  We'll share the results.  Feel free to leave thoughts, ideas and feedback in the comments.  Thanks!

***

Go straight to the Global Handshake Survey. 

Photo: Martin Houdbine and Charles-Eric Gorron share a global handshake at Handshake Media. They are two of the founders of France-based Artbeating which will experience acceleration services at VT KnowledgeWorks in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA during the summer of 2011.

Handshake 2.0 is the flagship site of Handshake Media, Incorporated. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media.