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The AEGIS Podcast

AEGIS Professional Services is a venture-focused law firm with offices in St. Louis, Chicago, Miami, Kansas City and O’Fallon, Il. These Podcasts are interviews with friends, clients and lawyers of the firm.

David is in charge of overall company management and strategy. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key accounts and referral sources. David enjoys meeting business owners and helping business people connect with people that can help them grow their businesses or career. More than anything he is proud of his team at Warehouse of Fixtures. David is also responsible for finding and purchasing large inventories of used furniture.  David is a 40 Under 40 Award winner and board member of the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, Entrepreneur's Organization, Jewish Light and is active in several other community organizations.

 

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AEGIS Family Law Attorney, Mary Neff, came onto the AEGIS Podcast to share her expertise on divorce law. Listen to this episode to learn the four basic dispute resolution processes available to resolve a dissolution of marriage. Mary explains each of these processes include the role of your chosen professional, who is best suited for this particular process, and the pros and cons.

About Mary Neff, JD

Mary is licensed as an Approved Mediator by the Supreme Court of Missouri as well as the Supreme Court of Illinois. She is a graduate of St. Louis University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate. She also brings a Master of Science Degree in Family Sciences from Illinois State University (ISU) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from ISU.  

 

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For a complete transcript of this Podcast, click here.

Norman Newmark’s practice is focused on tax, estate planning and corporate matters, and he serves as the head of the firm’s tax department.  He has an extensive transactional practice involving sophisticated trusts, business entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, buy-sell agreements, and other recognized planning for individuals, health care practices, businesses and non-profit entities.  Norman handles probate matters ranging from ordinary estate administration to trust litigation.  He has represented individuals and businesses before the Internal Revenue Service and the tax departments of various states.  As part of a bar subcommittee, Norman drafted key provisions of the Missouri Uniform Powers of Appointment Act recently passed by the Missouri General Assembly and signed into law by the governor.” 

Norm can be reached at nnewmark@aegisps.com.  His biography is here.

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Business plans are antiquated.

For early or C-stage companies, putting together a full business plan with all the details of everyone's best guesses of what the business is or can become is a waste of time. Investors really only need to know the elements of what your business is, who your management team is, and what you're offering.

This segment deals with the management team element. There's an old addage that investors bet on the jockey not the horse. That's because every early stage investor knows that whatever the current plan is - it's not final note. The end game for the business is not a straight line and there will be pivots along the way. The investors want to know about the people on the team.

Questions about your management team you need to answer for investors are:

  1. Who is the management team?
  2. What are their achievements?
  3. Do you have gaps on your team?
  4. Who can you bring on to help fill those gaps?
  5. Does the team have the domain knowledge and experience for this particular venture?
  6. Have you thought through all the components of your potential management team including technology, vision, finances, etc?
  7. Has your team engaged high-quality advisors?
  8. Is this the team that's going to know when it's time to pivot and adapt to what the marketplace is saying?

In our previous segment we discussed how to describe your business and in the next segment we'll discuss how to describe your offering. 

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To download transcript, click here.

Norman Newmark’s practice is focused on tax, estate planning and corporate matters, and he serves as the head of the firm’s tax department.  He has an extensive transactional practice involving sophisticated trusts, business entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, buy-sell agreements, and other recognized planning for individuals, health care practices, businesses and non-profit entities.  Norman handles probate matters ranging from ordinary estate administration to trust litigation.  He has represented individuals and businesses before the Internal Revenue Service and the tax departments of various states.  As part of a bar subcommittee, Norman drafted key provisions of the Missouri Uniform Powers of Appointment Act recently passed by the Missouri General Assembly and signed into law by the governor.” 

Norm can be reached at nnewmark@aegisps.com.  His biography is here.

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When it comes to writing a business plan or putting together a document that would demonstrate to investors that you have thought through the critical parts of starting a new company, the focus is going to be on the business itself.

When you write about the business you should be answering the question: How compelling is the service or product? An investor cares if the product is compelling. It can be an interesting idea, but if it's not compelling it's not going to attract capital, customers, or talented employees.

With respect to your company, have you differentiated yourself from others? Do you have a unique value proposition? Do you have competitive advantages? You don't have to have a 50 page document explaining all of this, but you must demonstrate that you've thought through your business value and you can answer succinctly what your differentiator is. Have identified the right minimum viable product? 

What investors care about is validation. The term "go ugly early" means to get the product out there, tell us what the market is telling you. It doesn't have to be perfect. No matter your experience level, get something out there that validates your business idea. The technology can always be improved and should be improved.

Last, have a 3rd party validate your business idea. Who besides you says this is a good idea? This is critically important to investors when describing your business. Show the value is more than in your head.

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One of James Canada's most memorable periods in his career is when his business grew from zero to 75 clients in just one year! Today, he can trace the success back to one source - Smart Networking - the system and philosophy that he devised, practiced and refined throughout his career.

Smart Networking for Business and Personal Success is Jim's latest book which is available now on Amazon. Jim stopped by the AEGIS podcast to share his story. Here's Jim's impressive background:

Jim has spent over 30 years in the corporate world developing a career that has spanned several major corporations including: John Deere, American Airlines, Reuters, Stone Carlie, an architectural firm and several consulting firms.

He has held the titles of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Facilities for North and South America, Vice President of Client Services, Director of Reengineering & TQM, Director of Human Resources, Senior Manager of Consulting Services, Manager of IdeAAs In Action and Corporate Administrator for two cost reduction programs for all North American factories.

Jim has two publications to his credit; Reviewing the Effectiveness of your Suggestion System and Creative Thinking Seminar, both published by N.A.S.S. in Chicago, Illinois. He was co-editor of the popular Legal Guidelines for Suggestion Systems, which he has presented in a workshop series for numerous organizations.

A few of Jim’s honors include:

  • Founders Award Recipient – for his work in the field of Employee Involvement (one of only 20 people in the United States to receive this honor)
  • President of the National Association of Suggestion Systems
  • Founder and first President of the Midwest Chapter of N.A.S.S. located in Moline, Illinois. Co-founder of the Central States Chapter of N.A.S.S. located in Tulsa
  • Received Certification and elected to the Board of Examiners for the Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation
  • Appointed to the Governor's Quality Council for the State of Oklahoma by Governor David Walters
  • Appointed to the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce
  • Chairman for Section 1409 of the American Society for Quality Control in Tulsa
  • Appointed an Examiner for the Excellence in Missouri Foundation and also served as a Judge for the Team Quality Award
  • Co-Founder of the PeopleSoft Regional User Group in St. Louis
  • Co-Founder of ExecLink “Executives helping Executives” in St Louis

Jim has developed and presented workshops, speeches and panel discussions to professional and civic groups as well as companies covering thirteen states within the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and Saudi Arabia. He has belonged to, or participated in, twenty-three civic and professional organizations at either a local, state or national level.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He is also is recognized as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute, Certified Manager of Suggestions Systems (CMSS) by N.A.S.S., as well as an Able Toastmaster Gold (ATM) from Toastmasters International.

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There are numerous challenges that companies face when trying to grow including
managing costs, increasing revenue, hire new recruits, and increasing employee advocacy and loyalty. Matthew Leisman, Advisor and Equity Partner from Westport Advisory Group LLC in Kansas City, shares with us on the AEGIS Podcast how he helps companies overcome some of these hurdles. 
 
Matthew Leisman, along with partner DeAnna Basler, custom tailors investment strategies to achieve wealth accumulation, wealth preservation, and wealth transfer goals for clients. He strives to create personal relationships, putting all the pieces together and providing unbiased advice while being accountable for investment results. He uses a holistic approach to help make the most of financial opportunities for clients so they can enjoy an enriched life. 
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