Building Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Building_Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

by Donna Howard 

March 18, 2018, Marketing is a social process. Although there are all sorts of metrics that can be used, data gathered, and analytics generated, marketing innovation is typically not driven by data. Data drives tactics, experience, practice and intuition drive marketing strategy. It’s not too complicated to employ marketing tactics, but it’s very difficult to master marketing strategy. It requires time, patience, and some critical thinking ability.

Studying digital marketing strategy is as easy as doing a simple Google search. Whatever pops up first within your search parameters is a good example of a search engine optimized website. Whatever shows up hundreds of pages later could be an example of poor search engine optimization. Closely comparing both and seeing where they are similar and where they are different can help you identify what comprises good SEO practices.

Social media provides a unique opportunity as well. You have the ability to connect with influencers as well as study how they interact with the platforms they choose to use. What platforms do they chose to employ? Do they have a substantial following on each of the platforms or are they focused on one? How do they interact with their followers? These are important questions to ask as you learn from big voices on social media.

Content marketing is another important piece of the digital marketing puzzle. As we move away from outbound marketing and traditional ads, we see the importance of creating value from marketing initiatives. Generating content that is authentic, helpful, and informative will help your business grow. Simply advertising may help you get some exposure, but building your brand awareness and your brand image will require genuinely thoughtful content creation.

Consistency is necessary in order for you to communicate with your target audience. There is a certain quality to quantity, as they say. Daily, weekly, and monthly blog articles will help legitimize your company blog and help establish a concrete online presence.

Before venturing into content marketing and other PR initiatives, be sure to get done your company voice. A journalistic tone may be appropriate for most communication, but you won’t be able to stand out as a brand without some type of personality. Brands need the help of graphic designers, copywriters, and social media experts to get this just right. It’s not something company’s can typically accomplish on their own.

If you’re a small business, you may be surprised about what you can afford. Bringing on designers, marketing consultants, and freelance strategists on a part-time basis could be a viable option. If you manage to hire the right people, you could see major returns for your business. Even if you don’t have the funds readily available, you can start crafting your brand image. Test out your own copy and designs with your friends, business connections, and family. You can start with this and tweak your brand with professional marketers later.

The brand of your company should be built around the content you’re creating. This is where your company’s message is really going to be heard. You company message needs to as concentrated and as directed as possible.

A direct, concise company message with a solid content marketing strategy will help your SEO efforts, your PR initiatives, and it will help you gauge how your target market is responding to you. At the end of the day, it’s all about how your customer is responding to your company and your company’s communication. Even the greatest marketing plans can have a lackluster response. This simply means you need to go back and look at the content you’ve created thus far and assess how you could better communicate your company’s message.

Building effective digital marketing strategies is a lengthy but rewarding process. Start employing some simple marketing tactics, researching the digital marketing strategies of competitors, and analyzing what makes strategies succeed. There’s a great deal to learn about marketing online and creating content for your target audience, and most of it is only a Google search and a little bit of elbow grease away.

– Contributor – Donna Howard is a business consultant working with high growth companies for their business development. She has worked with companies in scaling their business operations from Europe, Asia and Africa. 


More Than a Kind Heart

Co-author of the study, "Feeling capable and valued: A prosocial perspective on the link between empathy and social entrepreneurial intentions," Dr. Sophie Bacq joins indigenous people on the campus of Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, February 2013. (Photo courtesy Northeastern University) Posted for media use

Co-author of the study, “Feeling capable and valued: A prosocial perspective on the link between empathy and social entrepreneurial intentions,” Dr. Sophie Bacq joins indigenous people on the campus of Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, February 2013. (Photo courtesy Northeastern University) Posted for media use

By Sunny Lewis

CAMBRIDGE, UK, February 15, 2018 ( News) – To want to be a social entrepreneur, a kind heart is not enough for millennials. They need to feel confident in their ability to solve social problems and feel valued by the people they want to help, according to new research published in the “Journal of Business Venturing.”

The study, “Feeling capable and valued: A prosocial perspective on the link between empathy and social entrepreneurial intentions,” looked at key character traits of 281 students undertaking modules on social entrepreneurship as part of their wider university courses.

The researchers, Dr. Elisa Alt and Dr. Sophie Bacq, found that while not all kind-hearted individuals consider the idea of becoming a social entrepreneur attractive, those that do feel confident of making a difference, and feel valued in their interactions with potential beneficiaries.

The researchers questioned participants at two different stages in their courses, several weeks apart, on elements such as perspective-taking, empathic concern, social entrepreneurial self-efficacy, social worth, and their social entrepreneurial intentions.

The study found that self-efficacy has a strong positive effect on whether or not someone intends to become a social entrepreneur, as does a sense of social worth.

Self-efficacy, commonly called confidence, is the optimistic self-belief in one’s competence or chances of successfully accomplishing a task and producing a favorable outcome.

The study found that both self-efficacy and social worth explain how kind-hearted empathy translates into social entrepreneurial intentions.

Social entrepreneurship is an attempt to use a business to solve social issues. Examples include D.Light Design, which makes low-cost lights sold in areas without reliable electricity, or Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, which employs chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr. Alt, co-author of the study and senior lecturer in Strategy and Planning at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, said, “We have long known that empathy plays a big part in social entrepreneurship, especially in comparison to traditional entrepreneurship, which tends to have a self-oriented motivation. But we cannot assume that every kind-hearted person will want to become a social entrepreneur.”

Dr. Bacq of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, is an associate editor at the “Journal of Social Entrepreneurship” and serves on the Editorial Review Board of the “Journal of Business Venturing.”

Empathy is a key trait distinguishing social entrepreneurs from traditional entrepreneurs, and an important antecedent of social entrepreneurial intentions, the researchers found. Yet, little research explains the mechanisms through which empathy motivates social entrepreneurial intentions.

Alt and Bacq argue that studying the link between the prosocial trait of empathy and the prosocial outcome of social entrepreneurial intentions requires a prosocial lens that traditional entrepreneurial intent theories cannot offer.

“Our study is among the first to shed light on how individuals actually channel their empathy into careers in social entrepreneurship,” said Alt.

“Our focus on university students also offers an interesting perspective on a generation that is often portrayed in paradoxical ways,” she said.

“Millennials are either generation ‘me me me,’ or the generation that is seeking meaning through a stronger sense of social responsibility,” said Alt. “Our study paints a more nuanced picture of how they go about forming career intentions.”

Millennials are considered to be people who reached young adulthood in the early 21st century.

The researchers said, “With millennials currently comprising 35 percent of the UK workforce, and set to represent 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, our findings offer practical insights for social entrepreneurship educators, as well as potential employers interested in sparking ‘social intrapreneurship,’ and shaping this generation’s involvement in social innovation.”

What more than a kind heart is needed to be a successful social entrepreneur?

From education to health care to inclusion, social entrepreneurs use their skills in harnessing the power of market forces and business principles to build better societies.

The necessary qualities can be seen in the work of the 2017 winners of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum. Both organizations are founded on the work of Klaus and Hilde Schwab.

A German engineer and economist, Klaus Schwab is best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. His wife, Hilde, co-founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship with him.

Many of their 2017 awardees partner with governments in a range of roles: as service providers, demonstrating how programs can be delivered differently; as technical assistance providers, giving public employees new skills, technology, and processes; and as advocates, helping to craft new laws or policies that have a direct impact on people’s lives.

Here are a few of the 2017 Schwab Foundation winners:

Keller Rinaudo, Zipline, Rwanda.

Zipline is the first company to use drones – which they call “zips” – to deliver vaccines, medicine and blood transfusions for use in rural Rwanda. A zip zooms along at 100 km/hour, dropping off its cargo with a small parachute. Zipline is partnering with the Rwanda government in 20 hospitals and health centers, providing medical supplies to meet the urgent medical needs of millions of people.

Malik Ahmad Jalal and Fayeeza Naqvi, The Aman Foundation, Pakistan.

The Aman Foundation provides ambulances, health centers and education to fill unmet needs in fast-growing Pakistani cities. Its ambulances attend 100,000 cases a year, 60 percent of which are road accidents handled free of charge. It is working with the local Government of Sindh to expand to 450,000 cases a year. The Aman Foundation also provides vocational skills training programs for young people in violence-prone areas.

Carlos Edmar Pereira, Livox, Brazil. In Brazil, 15 million people struggle to communicate because of disabilities or illness, from strokes to cerebral palsy. Livox created an app that uses intelligent algorithms to interpret a user’s finger movements, allowing disabled people to communicate and study. Pereira’s daughter has cerebral palsy, providing the impetus for his work.

Vivek Maru and Sonkita Conteh, Namati, USA/Sierra Leone.

Billions of people live outside the protection of the law. Namati trains and supports local paralegals to help communities uphold their legal rights on three justice challenges: land and environment, accessing decent healthcare, and citizenship rights. Namati works in eight countries, supporting 54,000 clients.

“Law should be a tool for change, not an instrument of oppression. The more people know and use it, the less afraid they become,” said Conteh.

Nga Tuyet Trang and Gregory Dajer, Medical Technology Transfer and Services, Vietnam.

MTTS produces medical devices for newborns that are as little as an eighth of the cost of western models, reaching 1.3 million babies in Asia and Africa last year.

“I grew up in Vietnam right after the war where almost everything was in short supply including access to basic healthcare. I wanted to make a difference,” said Trang.

Yves Moury, Fundación Capital, Colombia/Panama.

More than two billion of the poorest people in the world have little or no access to a bank account. Fundación Capital facilitates partnerships between governments and financial institutions to provide inclusive financial services and social programs, reaching over five million people in 2016.

“Poverty will not disappear with handouts: we need to work together to change the system and build economic citizenship,” Yves said.

Eleanor Allen, Water For People, USA.

At least 1.8 billion people go without access to water. Water For People works with governments to scale up water and sanitation services. Over the next five years, its “Everyone Forever” model aims to raise the number of people it helps to access water from four million to 40 million.

“Water changes everything. It lays the foundation for health, education and economic prosperity. That is social progress,” Allen said.

Kimbal Musk, The Kitchen, USA.

The Kitchen is a group of affordable restaurants selling healthy, local food that wants to start a revolution in western food culture.

“The industrial food system is designed to give us highly calorie, low-nutrition food. This food leaves us malnourished and obese – we are literally fat and starving at the same time,” said Musk.

Christopher and David Mikkelsen, REFUNITE, Denmark.

Refugees often lose everything when they flee, including their families. REFUNITE has built a platform accessible via any basic phone that is free of charge, allowing refugees can search for missing family members. REFUNITE registers 170,000 refugees a year and has reconnected more than 38,000 family members.

Toby Norman, Simprints, UK.

Some 1.5 billion people in the world do not exist, officially. A lack of official ID is a major barrier to accessing services, and it entrenches poverty. Simprints has developed an affordable, secure open-source fingerprint system that is four times cheaper and 228 percent more accurate than existing biometric tools.

Dr. Dale Lewis, COMACO, Zambia.

If farmers could make a decent living, poaching would decline. That’s the theory behind Community Markets for Conservation, (COMACO) which has eradicated poaching across a million hectares by giving farmers education and access to premium markets for products like peanut butter, rice and honey. To date, COMACO has registered 140,000 farmers committed to conservation farming and wildlife preservation.

Neichute Doulo, Entrepreneurs Associates, India.

Established in September 2000, Entrepreneurs Associates is an organization of First Generation Entrepreneurs, passionately committed to developing entrepreneurship, sustainable livelihoods, economic development, creation of jobs, social justice, and the increased participation of local people in the economic activities of the state, for social equity and harmony in India’s politically turbulent and economically disadvantaged northeastern region.

“Anyone can be an entrepreneur,” Doulo said. “The hallmark of a social entrepreneur lies in taking society forward as part of one’s own success.”

Featured Image: The Chairman of the Aman Foundation, Fayeeza Naqvi was awarded the honorable Schwab Foundation award for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 in Durban at the World Econimic Forum by the Chairman of the Schwab Foundation, Hilde Schwab. January 2017 (Photo courtesy Aman Foundation) Posted for media use


Unlocking Investment in Africa’s Sustainable Landscapes

Sharing successful techniques for landscape restoration pays off. (Photo courtesy Global Landscapes Forum) Posted for media use.

Sharing successful techniques for landscape restoration pays off. (Photo courtesy Global Landscapes Forum) Posted for media use.

By Sunny Lewis

KIGALI, Rwanda, May 18, 2017 ( News) – Businesses can realize many benefits by investing in restoration of forests, rivers and freshwater, new research finds. Corporations increasingly recognize that working in landscape partnerships can help them address critical issues beyond their immediate supply chains.

Yet, today, only a quarter of the 428 large, multi-stakeholder landscape partnerships surveyed for the research report include businesses.

The report was presented in Kigali on May 16 at the inaugural Forest and Landscape Investment Forum organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Forum attracted project developers and business leaders from African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and investors from all over the world to explore a marketplace for effective forest and landscape investment opportunities. Delegates came from

“The importance of promoting a broad spectrum of investments in forests and landscapes in East Africa can’t be underestimated,” said Douglas McGuire, coordinator of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism for FAO.

“We can no longer afford to miss out on funding opportunities,” said McGuire. “There is so much talent and enthusiasm out there, and it is our hope that this event will make those important connections between project developers and investors that until now have been missing.”

The research report, “Business for Sustainable Landscapes: An action agenda for sustainable development,” is based on an 18-month consultation with input from more than 40 organizations.

It shows how public-private-civic partnerships for integrated landscape management are emerging to address the difficult problems of natural resource degradation, competition, and conflict.

Innovative financial instruments designed to support landscape investments – new blended finance schemes, impact investment funds, investment screens and standards, and investment strategies in sustainable supply chain programs – are attracting investment, the report shows, but the authors point out that greater participation is needed.

The report was produced by EcoAgriculture Partners, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) <>, the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, and the Sustainable Food Lab , under the auspices of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative .

It outlines an action agenda with concrete steps that businesses, finance institutions, governments and landscape program leaders can take to strengthen these partnerships and advance a socio-economic transformation based on sustainable production and economic growth.

“Innovative financial instruments designed to support landscape investments are emerging, and they have the potential to help drive nature-based solutions, such as forest landscape restoration and climate-smart supply chains,” says Stewart Maginnis, global director of IUCN, which co-authored the report.

“IUCN’s Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Hub for Eastern and Southern Africa, which was established last year, is an excellent example of how increased coordination at a landscape level can catalyze resources and technical capacity to deliver tangible benefits for communities,” said Maginnis.

The Forest & Landscape Investment Forum was intended to advance efforts to achieve the Bonn Challenge and the AFR100 target of restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land in Africa by 2030.

Ambitious restoration goals will require large investments. A recent analysis by the FAO and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, up to US$49 billion worth of investments are needed every year to achieve this and other restoration goals.

Today, investments in forests and landscapes are being made, but they unevenly distributed. While most are made in Latin America, only one percent are in Africa.

“Although landscapes are still not a natural business environment for most companies, the frontrunners are now starting to grasp the potential, take responsibility beyond their direct interests and seek collaborative solutions to address issues like water scarcity, deforestation or ecosystem services by landscape projects,” says Peter Erik Ywema, director for strategy and engagement, SAI Platform.

The nonprofit SAI Platform is the primary global food and drink value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture, founded in 2002 by the multinational corporations Nestlé, Unilever and Danone. Working at the precompetitive level, the SAI Platform’s more than 90 members share knowledge and best practices to support sustainable mInstream agriculture involving stakeholders throughout the food value chain.

The report’s action agenda suggests that to be most effective, landscape partnerships should:

  • Develop a landscape financing strategy
  • Get creative in blending finance
  • Heat up the incubators
  • Ensure finance reaches the farmers and resource managers
  • Leverage grant funds for enabling investments, for asset investments that do not generate financial returns, and to leverage private finance.
  • Socialize innovations among peer institutions

“Investors can do much more to identify promising integrated landscape investments. Innovative investment models from groups like Commonland, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest, the Livelihoods Fund, African Wildlife Foundation’s African

Wildlife Capital, and the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation, are demonstrating ways to link agriculture

and conservation to contribute to landscape goals, incubating and providing finance for them,” the report advises.

Potential investments by local businesses and farmer cooperatives often need to be supported during the development phase to reach the point where they are attractive to debt or equity financiers.

The report points out “an urgent need for major development finance institutions to establish business incubators with public-civic-private funding to provide pre-financing and advisory services to improve business performance/design and consistency with landscape goals.”

These services and funding could be paid back once the business becomes profitable.

“Collaborative landscape approaches align stakeholders in a particular place to resolve complex issues that cannot be successfully resolved by actors working alone,” said Sara Scherr, president of EcoAgriculture Partners and one of the key authors of the report.

“These partnerships reflect growing recognition that long-term business success is tied to healthy communities and ecosystems.”

Featured Image: This Kenyan farmer is happy with his thriving papaya grove, showing what investment can accomplish. (Photo by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)) Creative Commons license via Flickr


Maximpact’s consultant network has a sustainable agricultural experts that can help your organization.  Find capacity services at Maximpact Advisory and help your business and increase the capacity of your organization to influence society. Contact us at info(@) and tell us what you need.

8 Essential Things You need to Know When Looking to Raise Capital

Capital Raising

By Maximpact

Whether you are a seed, start-up, growing, established or mature company – at one point of another – you need to raise capital. In days past, this usually meant going to the bank to apply for a loan or perhaps sharing your ideas with your rich great uncle over tea. But in the modern age of the Internet and the technologies at our disposal, there are diverse and viable options for raising the capital you need. To better understand the 8 essentials you must know to raise capital. Let us first briefly discuss the common methods used to obtain capital.

Ways to Raise Capital

Friends and Family: 

They have always been there for you and you for them. Often if you have a great idea or need to grow your business, they are happy to get on board and support you all the way. There are disadvantages in the fact that relationships can be strained if you are slow to see returns on investments or things “go bust”.

Loans / Banks: 

Among them,

1) Long term loans, most often for large investments like expansion, acquisition or working capital. These loans are typically paid monthly and tend to have lower interest rates, but you must borrow a very large sum of money.

2) Short term loans, most often for immediate needs like accounts payable, or small projects, things that keep your business functioning in the short term. These also require monthly payments and are a bit easier to get, but the interest rate may be higher for loan amounts.

3) Line of Credit is a flexible option. You apply in advance and then request only the money needed in small increments. As you continue to replenish the money you can draw out more up to your limit. The downside is that the funds are limited. And, similar to credit cards, interests can be high. These are best only used for emergency shortfalls and not as an every day means to obtain capital, although some businesses use it in this way.

4) Alternative Financing, is things like cash advances, asset-based loans, leasebacks. These can be helpful as a last resort, but due to the high interest rates and low dollar amounts, they should be used with caution.

Venture Capital

This type of financing in provided by investors, who believe that your startup or small business can become a great success with the help of their money and they see great long term potential. The investors are taking a great risk, so they expect exceptional returns in a reasonable amount of time. This means that they will likely require a significant chunk of equity in the business and will want to have some say in how you do things regardless of whether they have a majority share. The partnership between a venture capitalist and an entrepreneur has incredible potential to generate wealth if the drive is there and smart decisions are being made with the money.

Crowd funding Platform such as Kickstarter

There are many crowd funding options today largely thanks to the success of a crowd funding website, These utilize the power of social media and hype to get everyday people excited about ideas. These can raise a lot of money in small increments, but it can be hard to generate the kind of excitement that can propel a crowd funding attempt. Additionally, you only receive the funds if you reach your funding goal and you need to provide something in return to the funders i.e. your product prototype, a trip to see your facilities or a thank you note.


This type of financing is available when loans are not an option. They are more creative, often group-based models where entrepreneurs and small business work together to obtain funding. This form of financing is often done as a form of stimulus within an industry or impoverished area. The businesses are coming in to solve problems and, to obtain those funds, they must show that they have a plan.

Private Equity 

Private equity is usually about taking an existing company with existing products and existing cash flows, then restructuring that company to optimize its financial performance. This process can be very painful, but is done with the plan of being better and more profitable on the other side.

What do investors want?

If you are looking to raise capital, you have to stop thinking like a business owner or entrepreneur and start thinking from the investor’s point of view. This will be your ultimate guide as you navigate the sea of capital funding efforts.

What do all types of investors look at when people come to them for capital raising?

Investors of all types are all busy people. They receive hundreds of business plans, investment requests, investor pitch decks and the like a week. Going through all that requires time and effort. Usually, they would have trained staff looking through the documentation. These staff members know what to look for and they are good at what they do. If they don’t see it quickly, they will pass. Plans get selected based on their criteria and only then do the venture capitalists, investors and decision makers review the very few that they have selected. These odds are not in your favor. But once you get through these “screeners”, you have a real shot and getting the capital you need.

Are you investor ready? Investment-ready guide provides a quick overview of the needed material.

So, how do you get through to the next round? 

Now that you understand how this “game” works, you know that this is your goal. So next we will discuss the 8 essentials that you need to know to get through to the next round. Essentially it comes down to the below mentioned points:

1. Provide investment-ready material

Have all your documentation ready, well structured and in the format that the investors and their team can read and understand immediately. Do not ask them to kindly go to your website to find out more at the initial selection stage. That is a sure way to end up in the shred pile. All the important, relevant and decision influencing information must be clearly included in the investor pitch deck and business plan.

Financial people who look through the information are trained in a certain way. They go through schooling and education that teaches them to read and see information based on key metrics and points. Including those points and presenting them in a format that they understand will tell them the whole picture quickly and easily. If your financials are not presented in standardized format that they are able to read and understand quickly, then your project – no matter how good it is – will get the “reject” stamp.

2. Have a strong business plan

What do investors look for in a business plan? This is essential to understand. Guessing what they think is not a sure road to success. This is the complete roadmap and blueprint of your business. It must include a solid development and operations strategy, market study and marketing strategy, risk management, investment offering, exit strategy and other essential items needed for your business to succeed.

3. Be clear on strategy and competitive edge

How well did you think through and outline your strategy? It matters. They expect you to think through everything and think like an expert because of solid research even if you are new to this. A lot of business plans do not make sure that they outline their business and marketing strategy in full. This in turn shows investors that you have not thought through critical elements and they will pass.

4. Include all important company information

If you are an operating business or project, let the investors know. This will give you more credibility than startups. Investors will feel more comfortable with projects and businesses that have been operating for several years, as you know the ups, downs, risks and you already have hands-on experience in the sector. Even if you are not yet earning net income, having your operations or some of your operations set up is an advantage. With an operating business, projections and valuation can be done more accurately than a startup. Use that leverage to get their attention to pass through to the next round.

5. Do not undervalue your management team

Many would not think this is important as important as the business idea. But to a lot of investors this is very important, especially to Venture Capitalists. Venture Capitalists pay a great deal of attention to the management team, their experience and personality. Some Venture Capitalists will even admit that they have given money to entrepreneurs rather than to the business idea, because they knew that the entrepreneur would make it work. Attaching professionally laid out and curated CVs to business plans is highly important. Do not underestimate the human resource aspect.

6. Know the investor, valuation and scalability of your business 

Knowing which investor to approach is very important to your chances of success. If your business can only be set up in one place and does not have scalability potential, then you might not approach certain investors. If your project, technology or business is subject to scalability to other countries, regions, markets this is important to mention in your business plan.

A lot of businesses assume they know the valuation of their business. Valuation in financial terms is more complex than one might think. Having a business valuation done by a certified 3rd party brings credibility, comfort and seriousness to your project as well as an advantage for your project or business in that you know your business valuation.

7. Really consider what documents do you need

Essentially it comes down to two pieces of material:

  • Investor Pitch Deck: this is a presentation on roughly a 10-page slide. This is the first communication you would send to an investor, so they can scan through and see whether they are interested in reading your business plan.
  • Business plan: this an in-depth document that will outline your history, vision/mission, strategy, market and marketing strategy, investment section, how the funds will be used and exit plan, management team, valuation and financial projections.

Do not be unprepared. Know these documents inside and out and make sure they convey the message that you want to convey.

8. Know the steps of capital raising 

The basic and process is the following, of course this varies from investor to investor:

  • Step 1: Investors receive your investor pitch deck and your business plan.
  • Step 2: Trained staff member reviews the investor pitch.
  • Step 3: If the pitch piques their interest, they take a look at your business plan.
  • Step 4: If staff sees what they are looking for, staff member takes notes and marks up your business plan to prepare it for the investor.
  • Step 5: The investor reviews the business plan presented by the staff member along with any notes from the staff member, as the staff member knows exactly what this investor is looking for.
  • Step 6: A decision is made to invest or not to invest.

The “take aways”

Too many people seeking investment are not prepared properly and their materials are not investment ready – do not be one of them.

Showing investors that you have done your homework through how you present information for their review will make you stand out.

Any perceived weakness in your plan can derail your efforts and you may not get a second chance, especially with these investors. When it comes to preparing your financials, it is best to have an expert do them for you. With their financial expertise, they cannot only assure that everything is accurate, but also they know to the letter how to lay it out in the most standardized and easy to understand way.

The cost of having a professional consultant do your financials should not be considered as an expense, but an investment into your success. offers investment-ready services that fits all budgets.

Business Plan Writing Service 

You can have your business plan written from scratch, update it or get it completed by an expert consultant. The business plan service includes financial projections.

Funding Assessment – Are you investor ready? 

If you have a business plan already written, then before approaching investors have it reviewed to by a funding assessment expert to verify that you are investor ready.

Business Valuation – Certified Business Valuations 

Do you have a 3rd party project / business / startup valuation done? If not, it is advisable to have it done. You have an option of 3 different levels of depth:

Billboard- 970x250-min-min

BOOK: The Entrepreneur’s Roadmap to Success

Ask yourself, “What would be the perfect job?” 

How about a doctor, a lawyer, a banker, a social worker, a business owner or even an entrepreneur? However the question is answered, not many individuals answer “the perfect job would be a social entrepreneur”?

Why? Is it because no one wants to be a social entrepreneur or is it that the concept of Social Entrepreneurship is not fully understood?

As an entrepreneur, being part of the process that builds value to both you and your business is an extremely fulfilling experience. However, imagine being part of a something larger, something that ultimately becomes a movement that could better the lives of others?  Imagine positively impacting the lives of those around you, while still making a living? 

Wow! When we think about it that way, talk about exciting!

Simply put, business is business. As discussed in my book, “The Entrepreneur’s Roadmap to Success”, business fundamentals are the same no matter the business or industry. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if it is for profit business or a not for profit business – the foundations upon which good business practices are built are universal.   

The fundamental difference is the social entrepreneur‘s decisions and choices are, or at least should be, made on the premise of what is best for the greater good of the society as a whole. 

As a entrepreneur, I was focused on growing the business, hiring good employees and maximizing profit. Imagine a world in which each decision is weighed not only on what is best for the bottom line, but on the impact it would have on the overall world.

The responsibility on this type of entrepreneur is enormous, so much greater than I have ever experienced. Social Entrepreneurship is not just a choice, but a calling – a calling that as a father and grandfather who wishes to leave the world in a better state than how I found it – hopes more individuals answer.

Randy R Steele

Randy R Steele is a lifelong entrepreneur and has had tremendous success in the financial service business, real estate, real estate appraising, greenhouse growing operations, and the mortgage industry.  He was the managing partner of Compass Pointe Financial, a wealth management firm dedicated to helping clients with their financial planning needs. Through these experiences, the knowledge he has gained is invaluable to someone wanting to start a business or someone wanting to take their business to the next level.

Ashoka Honored for Human Capital Management

By Sunny Lewis

ASHOKAARLINGTON, Virginia, June 16, 2016 ( News) – Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, has been recognized as the winner of the Human Capital Management category in FinancialForce’s 360 Customer Excellence Awards this year.

Known formally as Ashoka Innovators for the Public, nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in over 70 countries are putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.

Ashoka Fellows are social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society.

Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.

Ashoka takes credit for launching the entire field of social entrepreneurship and has activated multi-sector partners throughout the world to look at new ideas to solve social problems.

The Human Capital Management (HCM) category of these awards recognizes FinancialForce customers, such as Ashoka, who have demonstrated innovation and success in human capital management, including onboarding, recruiting, benefits management, records management, talent management, and driving employee engagement while leveraging the power of FinancialForce HCM and the Salesforce Platform.

Based in San Francisco with offices in Canada and Europe, FinancialForce works to upgrade the world of back-office applications by building new “customer-centric” business applications that help companies generate profitable growth.

Human Capital Management is an approach to employee staffing that perceives people as assets, or human capital, whose current value can be measured and whose future value can be enhanced through investment.

 Human Capital Management is central to FinancialForce, because people are the company’s core value.

Jeremy Roche FinancialForce CEO and one of the Customer Excellence Awards judges, said, “When we launched in 2009 we had big dreams of becoming a top player in the enterprise cloud application space. Those dreams have become reality and we’ve done it as a team every step of the way. I have never been part of a more creative, collaborative, and spirited team that can make the long, hard days seem easy.

 Ashoka received the same award in 2014.

Ashoka is known globally as an innovative leader in the field of social entrepreneurship and social change,” said Ashoka President Diana Wells.

This award is recognition that our internal innovations and systems are also leading the way,” said Wells. “We are grateful to FinancialForce for this award.

Ashoka was honored on May 11 at Community Live in Las Vegas, FinancialForce’s fourth annual and largest customer conference to date. The awards recognized outstanding customer achievements across all FinancialForce solution lines.

Congratulations to Ashoka and all of this year’s 360 Customer Excellence Award winners and finalists,” said Adrian Ivanov, chief customer officer at FinancialForce. “Hearing the big picture visions and successful implementation stories from customers worldwide throughout the awards process has been inspiring.

The judges selected Ashoka for its success metrics with FinancialForce HCM, profiled in several case studies.

First, Nucleus Research, an investigative research firm, calculated that Ashoka realized nearly 250 percent return on its investment with FinancialForce from 2013-2015.

Also, Constellation Research, a disruptive technology market research firm, highlighted Ashoka’s swift 90-day implementation and worldwide adoption of the FinancialForce HCM software.

 Operations Director for Global Talent at Ashoka, Asha Aravindakshan, was a presenter at Community Live in the HCM Customer Showcase: Learn, Share, Exchange Best Practices. She also participated in the inaugural meeting of the FinancialForce HCM Customer Advisory Board.

The stories of a few of the Ashoka Fellows demonstrate the nature and scope of the organization’s work.

In Nicaragua, Ashoka Fellow Sarah Otterstrom works with the organization Paso Pacifico. Collaborating with the government, private and citizen sectors, she is involving the citizen sector in conserving Nicaragua’s biologically diverse dry tropical forest. She has adapted the concept of environmental corridors so it continues to support biodiversity, and also integrates human thriving as a part of ecosystem health.

In India, Ravi Agarwal works with the group Srishto Toxics Link. He is changing the urban waste management system in India by involving local communities and the informal sector of rag pickers in waste disposal, and by advocating for a cleaner materials policy in industry.

In Nepal, Ashoka Fellow Megh Ale works with the Nepal River Conservation Trust transforming the way people understand the value and economic potential of Nepal’s rivers. Ale is saving the rivers of Nepal through ecotourism, conservation, and cleanup. He and other like-minded river guides are creating a new standard for eco-tourism in Nepal that protects and advocates for Nepal’s river ecosystems

Now, seven years after it was founded, Ashoka’s mission has evolved beyond catalyzing individual entrepreneurs to enabling an “everyone a changemaker” world. This means “equipping more people, including young people, with the skill set and a connection to purpose so that they can contribute ideas and effectively solve problems at whatever scale is needed in their family, community, city, workplace, field, industry, country.

Drayton, Ashoka founder and CEO, says, “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.


During the first five-day storytelling workshop at the African School of Excellence in Johannesburg, South Africa, students learned the basic skills of script writing, storyboarding, video making, vlogging, and video interviewing to be able to tell the changemaker stories of their school and their community. (Photo by lettera27) Creative Commons License via flickr