Venture Capital Glossary

This Venture Capital Glossary from VC Experts is a comprehensive resource useful to investors and startup companies in negotiating equity financing.

SBA Loans Help Small Businesses

"While poor management is cited most frequently as the reason businesses fail, inadequate or ill-timed financing is a close second. Whether you're starting a business or expanding one, sufficient ready capital is essential. But it is not enough to simply have sufficient financing; knowledge and planning are required to manage it well. These qualities ensure that entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes like securing the wrong type of financing, miscalculating the amount required, or underestimating the cost of borrowing money." This Small Business Administration guide reviews:

SBA's Role
Estimating Costs
Personal vs. Business
Grant Resources
Small Business Lenders
Capital for Growth
Equity Financing
Financial Statements

This SBA site explains the numerous loan programs the SBA offers to assist small businesses. It is important to note, however, that the SBA is primarily a guarantor of loans made by private and other institutions and does not offer loans directly to small businesses. SBA Loan Topics covered include:

Basic 7(a) Loan Program
Pre-qualification Program
CDC/504 Program
Disaster Recovery


Talk This Way

I know this may sound odd coming from an attorney, but why do some executives talk and write this way? Why the reliance on trite and meaningless jargon, euphemisms and corporate-speak? Don't they want to be understood?

We responded during the year by launching a comprehensive structure and efficiency review, and by implementing a broad restructuring effort aimed at cutting costs and creating a more nimble, customer-oriented Intel....These actions contributed to an overall decline in headcount...and we expect headcount to decline by an additional 2,100 by mid-2007...This action impacted the future utilization of Fab 23 in Colorado...We also made public an innovative process for sustained technology leadership in microprocessors wherein we plan to introduce a new microarchitecture approximately every two years and ramp the next generation of silicon process technology in the intervening years, giving us a roadmap for continuous improvement in our major product lines.
I bet the comprehensive structure and efficiency review that led to a restructuring that reduced headcount really made the Company nimble and customer-oriented. And who can argue with an innovative process for sustained leadership? Especially one that ramps the next generation and produces a roadmap for continuous improvement...Maybe one of the "heads" who no longer count?

From the Intel Annual Report CEO's Letter

See also the Automatic Corporate Jibberish Generator that produced this stirring potential supplement to Intel's annual report:
We here at Intel Corporation realize that it is better to architect transparently than to enhance strategically. Think reality-based. Think customer-defined. Think open-source. But don't think all three at the same time. If all of this seems unimagined to you, that's because it is! It comes off as fabulous, but it's true! Imagine a combination of HTTP and Dynamic HTML. What does the standard industry buzzword "web-enabled" really mean? The metrics for methodologies are more well-understood if they are not best-of-breed. Without angel investors, you will lack e-commerce. Imagine a combination of Java and JavaScript. We believe we know that it is better to repurpose ultra-dynamically than to reintermediate efficiently. Think 1000/60/60/24/7/365. Think proactive. Think granular. But don't think all three at the same time.

Systems Thinking in a Nutshell

This short, non-technical introduction to systems thinking by Daniel Aronson explains the difference between analysis (attempting to understand the whole by studying its parts) and systems thinking (trying to understand how the parts of a system interact). Aranson provides an excellent example that illustrates the difference by focusing on the unintended consequences that may arise from attempts to reduce crop damage by insects without understanding the system in which the insect problem occurs. Quoting:

Traditional analysis focuses on separating the individual pieces of what is being studied: in fact, the word “analysis” actually comes from the root meaning “to break into constituent parts.” Systems thinking, in contrast focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system – a set of elements that interact to produce behavior – of which it is a part.

This means that instead of isolating smaller and smaller parts of the system being studied, systems thinking works by expanding its view to take into account larger and larger numbers of interactions as an issue is being studied. This results in sometimes strikingly different conclusions than those by traditional forms of analysis, especially when what is being studied is dynamically complex or has a great deal of feedback from other sources, internal or external.

The character of systems thinking makes it extremely effective on the most difficult types of problems to solve: those involving complex issues, those that depend a great deal on the past or actions of others and those stemming from ineffective coordination among those involved. Examples of areas in which systems thinking has proven of value include:

--Complex problems that involve helping many actors see the “big picture” and not just their part of it

--Recurring problems or those that have been made worse by past attempts to fix them

-- Issues where an action affects (or is affected by) the environment surrounding the issue, either the natural environment or the competitive environment.

--Problems whose solutions are not obvious.

Solving Workplace Problems

Here are seven-steps for an effective workplace problem-solving process.

1. Identify the issues.

-Be clear about what the problem is.
-Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are.
-Separate the listing of issues from the identification of interests (that's the next step!).

2. Understand everyone's interests.

-This is a critical step that is usually missing.
-Interests are the needs that you want satisfied by any given solution. We often ignore our true interests as we become attached to one particular solution.
-The best solution is the one that satisfies everyone's interests.
-This is the time for active listening. Put down your differences for awhile and listen to each other with the intention to understand.
-Separate the naming of interests from the listing of solutions.

3. List the possible solutions (options)

-This is the time to do some brainstorming. There may be lots of room for creativity.
-Separate the listing of options from the evaluation of the options.

4. Evaluate the options.

-What are the pluses and minuses? Honestly!
-Separate the evaluation of options from the selection of options.

5. Select an option or options.

-What's the best option, in the balance?
-Is there a way to "bundle" a number of options together for a more satisfactory solution?

6. Document the agreement(s).

-Don't rely on memory.
-Writing it down will help you think through all the details and implications.

7. Agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation.

-Conditions may change. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances (If-then!).
-How will you monitor compliance and follow-through?
-Create opportunities to evaluate the agreements and their implementation. ("Let's try it this way for three months and then look at it.")

Read more in this article by Tim Hicks from mediate.com from which the foregoing was quoted.


Seven Habits of Servant Leaders

Dr. Kimberly Young explains:

Through Servant Leadership, executives can build a strong sense of cohesion among their workforce enabling employees to feel a shared sense of purpose and loyalty for the organization...To create a servant workforce, you must put into practice seven guiding principles or 'habits' that encourages sensitivity, integrity, and a sense of community within your organization.

1. Be an Active Listener...you must first seek to understand, then to be understood
2. Be Empathetic...
3. Establish Trust...
4. Be Aware...
5. Be Authentic...
6. Be Persuasive - Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance...
7. Be Community-Minded - Servant-leaders commit to the growth of the people working around them and believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers..."
If you are interested in this topic, you may wish to review my other posts on servant leadership.


Be, Know, Do

Check out The Art and Science of Leadership site for a vast amount of useful information on leadership, including the following:

Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills. Although your position as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. gives you the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not make you a leader...it simply makes you the boss. Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals, rather than simply bossing people around...

Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience...

The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your employees' eyes, your leadership is everything you do that effects the organization's objectives and their well being. Respected leaders concentrate on what they are [be] (such as beliefs and character), what they know (such as job, tasks, and human nature), and what they do (such as implementing, motivating, and provide direction).

What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future...

To help you be, know, and do; (U.S. Army, 1973) follow these eleven principles of leadership...

Know yourself and seek self-improvement...
Be technically proficient...
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions...
Make sound and timely decisions...
Set the example...
Know your people and look out for their well-being...
Keep your workers informed...
Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers...
Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished...
Train as a team...
Use the full capabilities of your organization...

If you are a leader who can be trusted, then those around you will grow to respect you...


Startup Journal Features Small Biz Blogs

Thanks for the gift of your attention. Special welcome to the readers of the StartupJournal | The Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs that included this blog in this recent article profiling several sites that provide useful information to small business owners. Your attention, comments, suggestions and questions are all welcome here.

And check out these other fine blogs cited in the Journal article:


the Neuro-Science Behind "the Secret"

Call it the power of positive thinking on steroids, call it the "law of attraction." No matter what you call it, "The Secret" has become a publishing and DVD success by pushing a simple premise -- love, money, health — you can have them all, simply by thinking it. And while critics have rightly questioned the breadth of the claims of the proponents of the Secret, at least one aspect of the process is squarely grounded in neuro-science - the positive power of affirmations to effect change.

As explained in this article by Hal Williamson and Sharon Eakes published in The Systems Thinker Newsletter, proper use of the affirmation-visualization process creates new neural circuits and conditions the brain to detect information in your environment that helps to turn the affirmation-visualization into reality.

Quoting from the article:

When our mind creates thoughts that are inconsistent with our experiences, habits, attitudes and beliefs, we experience mental pressure. The subconscious pushes back in an effort to maintain system equilibrium...

So how can we overcome these forces that work to maintain the status quo? One way is through affirmations...

An affirmation is a declaration that something is true...When tagged with emotions, affirmations create strong, new neural circuits. These new circuits have the capacity to alter old, unwanted behaviors in favor of new, desired behaviors...

By visualizing something repeatedly, we stimulate our subconscious to search for neural circuits that will evoke behaviors to bring about the very thing we have visualized. Positive results from practicing affirmations come from our natural urge to reduce the cognitive dissonance that is created when we compare current reality with the future state we want to achieve...

The three-step affirmation-visualization process that will drive new neural circuit development is:

1. Craft an affirmation that you will repeat mentally.
2. Visualize an image of the way the world will look as viewed from your own eyes when the affirmed fact is a reality.
3. Recall simultaneously an event that triggered positive emotions in order to chemically tag the new neural circuit formed by the affirmation and the visualized image.

To be highly effective, the words of affirmation need to follow six basic guidelines:

1. Be Personal
2. Be Positive
3. Use Present Tense
4. Express Positive Emotion
5. Be Realistic
6. Be Specific

The affirmation-visualization process has enormous power. Some of the results you can expect include:

*Secure the quality of life you want by activating existing neural circuits to change your behavior and relationships with others.
*Neutralize unwanted emotions, eliminate limiting attitudes and beliefs.
*Condition your brain to detect information in your environment that is of special importance to you.
*Solve problems by utilizing subconscious processes.
The article is derived from Hal's recently published book, Liberating Greatness: The Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life. The book uses the latest in neuroscience to illustrate how to rewire your brain to create the future you've always wanted. By understanding how the brain's neural pathways work, learning basic systems principles, and using simple mental tools, you can unlock your inner capacity and liberate your own greatness.

The book is available from Pegasus Communications, which graciously granted permission to use the Systems Thinker Newsletter article excerpts in this post.

Be a Leader Follower

Here are 10 key business leadership tips from this Instigator Blog post:

"1. Lead By Example...
2. [Lead with] Passion...
3. Be Organized...
4. Delegate...
5. Take...Responsibility...
6. Communicate Effectively...
7. Be Brave and Honest...
8. [Be a] Great Listener...
9. Know Your People...
10. Be a Follower...Great leaders are followers too. If you’re a leader without following, you're a dictator...Being a leader-follower means finding value in your team, getting inspired by your team, encouraging your team to communicate, brainstorm and be open."


What is Protected by Copyright?

The handy chart above is just one of the resources available at The Campus Guide to Copyright Compliance, that although designed for academic institutions, helps answer many general questions ranging from basic copyright law to more complex topics of particular interest to academia.


Is Business Ethics an Oxymoron?

Peruse a few of the vast numbers of articles and resources at BusinessEthics.ca and decide for yourself and your organization.

One example of the excellent available information is Incorporating Ethics into the Organization's Strategic Plan summarizing a presentation made by Robert Finocchio, former president, CEO, and chairman of Informix Corp.


Management guru Peter Drucker was famous for asking his consulting clients the basic strategic question, "What business are we in?" To integrate ethics into the strategy, businesspeople have to add three more questions...

What do we stand for?
What is our purpose?
What values do we have?

...While ethics should be part of the company's mission statement, long-term strategic plan, public pronouncements, and codes of conduct, unless it is also a "cornerstone of the organizational culture," it will not be effectively integrated into the business strategy, he said.

To really incorporate ethics, he presented these "prescriptions":

1. Don't be in an unethical business in the first place...
2. Obey the law and spirit of the law everywhere you do business.
3. Articulate a complete strategy, including purpose.
4. Explicitly articulate values as a key component to the strategy. 5. Values must also be real, and must reflect actual behavior, especially among the organization's leaders.
6. Don't rely on auditors, ethics officers, compliance officers, cops, regulations, manuals, and audits as the vehicle to insert ethics into the strategy.
7. Emphasize principles more than rules. (This is the best way to be more demanding of the organization.)
8. Individual ethical responsibility and accountability are never trumped by some corporate or organizational imperative.There is no "my company said it was ok" defense.
9. Be totally transparent with your constituents, and make that part of the strategy.
10. Have a framework and process for the resolution of ethical issues.
11. Have the right organizational structure.
12. Have rewards based on the right metrics.
13. Make employee development part of strategy and make ethics training part of employee development.
14. Encourage all employees to be challenging and demanding in the ethical domain (of everyone in the organization, including the bosses).

Finocchio went on to offer two practical suggestions for implementing his prescriptions: making an ethics performance evaluation part of the organization's standard end-of-year assessment and creating a strategic plan ethics checklist for the coming year...In planning for the next year, the company would ask itself a series of questions, including:

*Is our purpose sufficiently well articulated?
*Do we face new legal requirements?
*Do we have new constituents?
*If we acquire another organization, how will it be ethically assimilated?
*Are our rewards structures appropriate?
*Is there any need to change the mechanics (constituent communication, employee training, organizational structure, issue resolution processes)?
*How will we measure our performance?
*Do we have new goals/objectives in the ethical domain?


Rites of Spring at Woody Woo

I would like to believe the tradition started while I was an undergraduate. No doubt, however, since 1966 when the building and its reflecting pool were dedicated, splashing in the fountain outside Robertson Hall in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International affairs at Princeton University (Woody Woo, for short) after turning in your senior thesis has proved an irresistible way to cool your steam. Happy to hear that cold weather is no deterrent and seniors are still taking the leap today.

Photo by Adam Tagert


How to Be Miserable

In Six Simple Strategies for Achieving Misery, Sol Herzig takes a humorous, but all too true, look at the work required to keep serenity and joy at bay and attract misery into your life. The piece is worth reading in its entirety. I will try to give you a taste:

"The strategies outlined below, practiced regularly, vastly improve our odds of achieving misery.

1. Cling to Entitlement...be aware that life owes you and that you were put on this planet to collect.

2. It's All Personal. Malicious intent is always present if you just look carefully enough...

3. Focus on Problems...Nurture the attitude that you can't really move on to anything unless everything is resolved first...

4. Magnify...Why would anyone ever want to think of themselves as "just human" when "fatally flawed" and "irredeemably warped" are available?...

5. Expect Catastrophe...People sometimes protest that their bodies feel perfectly fine. Not to worry! Think "Silent Killers"...

6. Just Say "No Thanks" to Gratitude...At an advanced level, you can even learn to see the bad in the good. For instance, should you get a big raise you could immediately focus on the tax implications...

Tips for Negotiating a Strategic Partnership Agreement

This article by Robert Singer suggests the following points to protect your valuable intellectual property when negotiating a strategic partnership agreement:

Start with a nondisclosure agreement, which must cover four key points:
a. Exactly what information is to be kept confidential and how it must be handled
b. Time limits and purposes for which this information can be used
c. The process for enforcing the agreement
d. Remedy if a violation occurs...

Keep a detailed chronology and complete notes of your discussions.
Keep a clear record of disclosures made and to whom they were made...
Control the amount of disclosure given to a potential partner...
Be realistic about the value of a strategic relationship...
Be prepared to move quickly if a worst-case scenario materializes...


the Power of the Myth of Race

One of the unfortunate realities that the Don Imus debacle underscores is that racism and bigotry continue to live and breathe in our society. When I look at the above picture, of twins, beautiful children with different skin colors, born to the same parents at the same time, I realize that so much more is possible. Race is an illusion from a biological standpoint. We are all of one race – the human race. We are all African. We are one and connected, not separate and unequal.

As explained in the ground-breaking PBS series, RACE - The Power of an Illusion:

Race is so fundamental to discussions of poverty, education, crime, music, sports that, whether we be racist or anti-racist, we rarely question its reality. Yet recent scientific evidence suggests that the idea of race is a biological myth, as outdated as the widely held medieval belief that the sun revolved around the earth. Anthropologists, biologists and geneticists have increasingly found that, biologically speaking, there is no such thing as "race." Modern science is decoding the genetic puzzle of DNA and human variation - and finding that skin color really is only skin deep.

However invalid race is biologically, it has been deeply woven into the fabric of American life...
As Professor Joseph Graves, Jr. teaches:
The traditional concept of race as a biological fact is a myth...Nearly everything you think you know about race is a social construct. You don't have to be a racist to be wrong about what race is. That doesn't make the effects of a belief in race any less damaging, or the situation any less perilous. Most Americans still believe in the concept of race the way they believe in the law of gravity—they believe in it without even knowing what it is they believe in...

We have paid dearly for the policies of racism, and are continuing to pay in a currency of despair, unfulfilled dreams, and blood...We are paying now with academic underachievement, the drug epidemic, health disparities, unequal justice, urban malaise, and the ongoing social and political division that still exists between the socially defined races. Every time we pay, we slide closer toward hell on a road paved with our racial misconceptions. We will continue to pay until we reject the notion that there are biological races in the human species, and that race determines an individual's worth...

If we can understand that all allegiance to racism is ideological, not scientific, then we may be able to silence the bigots once and for all. We may be able to construct social systems that allow all of our citizens to actualize their biological potential. If we can live up to our creed of equality for all, then maybe we will have a chance to finally actualize the true spirit of democracy and the American dream...

Racism is not a neccesary feature of human society...People ask, 'Professor Graves, you say biological races are not real?' I say, 'Yes. Biological races are not real, but socialized races are real as a heart attack, and do not confuse those two.' There are no genetic barriers to dismantling racist ideology; it is a question of whether we want to.


The Change to a Partnership Organization

This excellent and comprehensive article by Riane Esler and Alfonso Montouri explains that, "beginning to recognize and acknowledge Partnership in ourselves and in others, and finding creative alternatives for Dominator thinking and behaviors is a first step towards building a Partnership organization." Continuing in pertinent part:

Eisler (1987, 1995, 1997, Eisler & Loye 1998) have addressed these issues by identifying two contrasting models of social systems: the Dominator Model and the Partnership Model. Dominator systems are fear-based, characterized by rigid hierarchies of domination (where power is equated with giving orders that must be obeyed), an ethos of conquest (including the “conquest of nature”), a high degree of institutionalized or built-in violence, male domination, and contempt for “soft” or stereotypically feminine values. Partnership systems are trust-based, and characterized by equalitarianism and “flatter” organization, flexible hierarchies of actualization (where power is guided by values such as caring and caretaking), by a naturebased spirituality, a low degree of violence built into the system, and gender equality and equity...

Today, this “command-and-control” model is not only inappropriate; it is becoming increasingly dysfunctional. Bureaucratic rigidity is deadly for organizations that wish to navigate successfully in a rapidly changing environment where innovation and flexibility are key factors...The shift to partnership systems is essential if we are to bring about the changes in organizations and society at large needed for the 21st century...

We can see that much of what is happening today is the conflict between a shift towards partnership systems, countered by dominator resistance. We can also see that much that is today being advocated in the organizational development field is a move toward an overarching partnership model.

1) Flatter, less rigid hierarchical organizations.
As the economic and social environment becomes ever more complex and rapidly changing, the rigid bureaucratic structures of bygone days have become maladaptive. Innovation, flexibility, and individual initiative were inhibited by such structures...

2) Change in the role of manager, from “the cop” to a facilitator, supportive role...

3) From Power Over to Power To/With...
This is a shift from domination to co-creation, or from coercive power to generative power. Power-over is designed to either work one’s way up the hierarchy of domination or to fend off contenders. It is the single most important contributor to that vast, unspoken shadow that hangs over all organizations: office politics. In a dominator system, most political relationships are viewed in terms of the acquisition of power-over. In partnership systems, the orientation to “ power to” or actualizing power and “power-with” leads to a very different attitude, one that starts off by asking, “how can we best work together to solve problems?”

4) Teamwork...
5) Diversity...
6) Gender-balance...

7) Creativity and Entrepreneurship...
In dominator systems, there is an ambiguous relationship with creativity: it is viewed a great gift, and at the same time potentially enormously disruptive, a threat to the established order. In partnership systems, creativity is both highly valued and rewarded. While partnership creativity does not exclude dramatic creative changes, it also fosters creative relationships and creative approaches to everyday problems...

Dominator thinking is polarizing thinking. It leads to the kind of thinking that does not allow for possibilities beyond either/or and all/nothing. Polarizing blocks us from exploring possibilities beyond black or white, and prevents us from making creative changes...sometimes it is hard to see into the real-life implications of Partnership if we're stuck in a polarizing Dominator logic. Some basic and common misconceptions include:

Myth: Its a dog-eat-dog world, and there's nothing we can do about.
Reality: The world is what we make it, and human relations are socially constructed...

Myth: There is no hierarchy in the partnership organization.
Reality: The partnership organization has hierarchies of actualization-based not on force, but on competence, temporal priority, values, and other criteria.

Myth: Partnership is just working together, it means alliances, or collaboration.
Reality: Collaboration occurs in both partnership and dominator systems, but patterned differently in each. Partnership collaboration stresses mutual benefit-and not just to the collaborators, but to those affected by the collaboration...

Myth: In partnership everything is done by consensus.
Reality: Doing everything by consensus can lead to more subtle but just as pervasive forms of domination. Partnership requires give and take. Compromise can be creative.

Myth: In partnership there is no conflict, no differences.
Reality: There are always differences and conflicts. But how they are viewed and dealt with are different in a Dominator or Partnership context...


Happy Easter from Sewickley Pennsylvania

Among the many wonderful traditions in our Sewickley neighborhood, each year on Easter morning, in the front yard of one of our neighbors "appears" the scene pictured in the above photo. Occasionally, I forget about it and am delightedly surprised by this joyous sight as I drive by. Hope you enjoy the whimsy as much as I do. Happy Easter.


Razzle Dazzle 'em with the Chewbacca Defense

"The Chewbacca defense is a fictional legal strategy used in the South Park episode "Chef Aid", which premiered on October 7, 1998 as the fourteenth episode of the second season. The concept satirized attorney Johnnie Cochran's closing argument defending O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. "Chewbacca Defense", meaning a defense consisting solely of nonsensical arguments meant to confuse a jury, has since been occasionally applied outside of references to South Park...

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

In the episode, Chef discovers that Alanis Morissette's (fictional) hit song "Stinky Britches" is the same as a song he wrote years ago, before he abandoned his musical aspirations. Chef contacts a "major record company" executive, seeking only to have his name credited as the composer of "Stinky Britches." Chef's claim is substantiated by a twenty-year-old recording of Chef performing the song.

The record company refuses, and furthermore hires Johnnie Cochran, who files a lawsuit against Chef for harassment. In court, Cochran resorts to his "famous" Chewbacca Defense, which he "used during the Simpson trial", according to Gerald Broflovski.

'Cochran: Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, Chef's attorney would certainly want you to believe that his client wrote "Stinky Britches" ten years ago. And they make a good case. Hell, I almost felt pity myself! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

Gerald Broflovski: Dammit!

Chef: What?

Gerald: He's using the Chewbacca Defense!

Cochran: Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.'"
From Chewbacca defense - Wikipedia. For a similar take on the application of Chicago(the musical)-style courtroom strategy see Bush Administration Reveals Core Strategy: Razzle-Dazzle 'em


Negotiate Win-Win Business Deals

This article from TEC® Best Practices contains an excellent overview and recommendations for negotiating successful business deals, including the following:

Four common negotiating myths make it difficult, if not impossible, to create win-win deals:

Negotiating myth #1: Negotiating involves competition.

Reality: Negotiations involve exchanging information and resources in order to satisfy the different and sometimes conflicting needs of two or more parties.

Negotiating myth #2: Negotiating involves bargaining.

Reality: Bargaining is competitive; negotiating is cooperative. Bargaining focuses on who is right; negotiating focuses on what is right. Negotiating creates long-term deals and relationships. Bargaining agreements never last because the losing party always insists on the chance to come back and get even.

Negotiating myth #3: Negotiating always involves compromise.

Reality: Nobody wins in compromise because both sides end up getting less than they want or need.

Negotiating myth #4: Effective negotiations involve the use of tactics, trickery and manipulation.

Reality: Honest, ethical negotiators never try to manipulate or deceive the other side. Tactics should only be used in self-defense.

The bottom line is that negotiating business deals has nothing to do with bargaining, compromise and competition. To create win-win outcomes, both sides must:

Strive to understand the other person's wants and needs

Attempt to solve the other person's problems as well as their own

Adopt a mindset of flexibility rather than rigidity

Focus on "enlarging the pie" rather than dividing it up

Always aim for win-win outcomes


Visual Modeling Helps Solve Complex Problems

This cool visualization demonstrates the usefulness of visual models to address complex business problems that involve multible moving variables, the necessity for effective collaboration and the importance of clear communication in organizational settings.

Guides To Starting A Small Business

Inc.com offers a great set of resources in How To Start A Small Business Topics covered inclue:

Business Plan Building
Business Plan tips, how to write a business plan, get sample business plan templates, free business plan software, help and business plan advice for the small business entrepreneur.

Business Plans at Internet Speed
Writing a business plan faster, with online resources, free business plan software, and web-based advice for the small business entrepreneur.

Buying a Franchise
Buying your own franchise is one way to break into the entrepreneurial ranks and become your own boss. If you're considering a franchise, this collection of tools and tips will help you find the ideal business.

Cash Management Basics
Cash is your business's lifeblood. This guide will help your business -- and you -- avoid a heart attack.

Choosing a Form for Your Business
Trying to choose the right structure for your business? This Inc.com guide brings together our site's best articles on corporate form options, from sole proprietorships to C corporations.

Creating a Great Web Site on the Cheap
Want a terrific Web site -- without spending a fortune? Check out inc.com's guide to building a low-cost, high-impact Web site.

E-Commerce Starter Kit
The Internet will soon be the Grand Central Station of business, and getting a seat on the gravy train means implementing a smart e-commerce strategy now. We've got some basic ticketing instructions.

Hiring Your First Employee
Your business is growing so fast that soon you'll be not only your own boss, but someone else's as well. It's time to hire your first employee, and Inc.com has the help you need.

Got a great idea but not sure how to obtain a patent for it? This collection of tips and tools can help you get started.

Raising Start-Up Capital
Financing a new business isn't easy. Here Inc.com offers its best advice and resources for finding start-up capital.

Setting Up a Home Office
There are many practical, financial, and psychological benefits of working from home. Inc.com has brought home all our best articles and resources on setting up shop at home.

Setting Up a New Office
What's the biggest hurdle your new business faces? Perhaps it's setting up your first office. Our guide will take you through the process step-by-step.

Financing: Where to Find It
Where to find financing for your business.

Angel Investors
Court and win over angel investors with Inc.com's guide to angel investors.

Market Research
This Inc.com guide offers tips and resources to help you research your industry and competition, and meet your target market's needs.

Grassroots Marketing
Get inspired to fuel your company's growth with this collection of innovative marketing ploys.

Inc.com will help you tackle the pricing issue -- we've compiled strategies, advice, and techniques that have served other entrepreneurs well.