Put Your Business to the Test

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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

Is selling your business the ultimate test? According to entrepreneur and Inc.com contributor John Warrillow, it is. Writing in Canada's Globe and Mail, Warrillow responds to a reader who asks why an entrepreneur would ever want to sell a business that he or she has spent a significant amount of their lifetime building. Warrillow opines that building a business involves an increasing amount of difficulty as the business grows more complex. As he sees it, each step--from working out of a home office to running a thriving business with multiple layers of management--is building up to the point of being able to sell that business. As he explains, "The hardest part, and in my view, the ultimate test, is being able to sell it to someone else. Will another person see your business, scrutinize every inch of it, and still be ready to write you a cheque?" Warrillow goes on to say that just as every marathon runner dreams of running the Boston Marathon, and every mountain climber dreams of conquering Everest, selling a business is the ultimate challenge for every entrepreneur. For those who are at the point where they are considering selling their business, here are 10 tips to help you plan your exit.

A new kind of VC. They focus on the consumer Internet industry. They want to see early results with minimal investment before they invest significant funds. And they like to "make lots of early bets and double-down when early results appear." These are what Steve Blank calls "Lean VCs" and if you are launching a consumer Web company, you want to search them out.

Could Barnes & Noble be going private? First Hugh Hefner, now Barnes & Noble? It seems the publishing world is full of companies tired of trading on the stock exchange. The LA Times reports that going private would save the company $55 million in dividends which it could use to focus on its digital investments such as its Nook e-reader. Meanwhile, Daily Show writer Tim Carvell wryly encapsulated the company's business problems in a single tweet: "If Barnes & Noble winds up on the auction block, I plan to go to the sale, pretend I'm interested in buying it, use the bathroom, and leave," he wrote (via peHUB).

Mom-and-pop shops popping up. Large retail establishments have been using the pop-up model for generating buzz for years. But now small businesses are opening more temporary storefronts, the Wall Street Journal reports. Niche players are taking advantage of new flexibility in real-estate leasing as landlords continue to be desperate for tenants. Have an idea you want to test on the market? Two new websites list commercial properties available for short-term leasing, OpenPop-UpShops.com and PopUpInsider.com. And check out our guide on how to open a pop-up store.

Are you ready for the tech revolution? No, you are not. At least that's what Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at the Techonomy conference. So, get ready for some serious technology disruption. He cited the statistic that from the dawn of civilization through 2003 there were 5 exabytes of information created. "That much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing." Lesson? "People aren't ready for the technology revolution that's going to happen to them." Read Write Web reports that Schmidt said user-generated content is behind the data-explosion, and cited big-brother-esque Google abilities, such as predicting where you are going to go next through messaging, your location, and Artificial Intelligence.

Mayor Bloomberg shares the wealth. Today's Wall Street Journal reports that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the latest billionaire to take "The Giving Pledge." It was first signed by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, and it encourages the nation's wealthiest people to donate at least half their money to charitable causes before they die. For Bloomberg, this means half of roughly $17.5 billion. So far, a total of 40 billionaires have signed the pledge, including Ted Turner, George Lucas, media mogul Barry Diller and Blackstone co-founder Peter G. Peterson.

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Last updated: Aug 5, 2010




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