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  • FEATURED LESSON

    You Don’t Need VC to Succeed

    Business StrategySmall business finance expert Dileep Rao explains why some of the greatest companies never had a dime of investors’ money to get off the ground and grow — and how hard work, integrity, creativity, and an open mind can make up the difference.

    Depending on your point of view, this might be the worst time to start a small business. On the other hand, with creative business and financing strategies, it’s possible to be successful without one dime from Wall Street or Silicon Valley. At least that’s the viewpoint of Dileep Rao, a consultant and small business finance expert who teaches financing courses at the Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota). To prove the fact that you don’t need VC funds to be successful, in his forthcoming book, Bootstrap to Billions, Rao chronicled the stories of several Minnesota entrepreneurs who started with nothing to build successful companies such as Best Buy, Aveda, Digital River, United Health Group, and Medtronics. He calls the companies in his book a “third category” of business: not small business, and not built through VC financing.

    This article originally appeared at OpenForum.com.

  • FEATURED PROFILE

    Lloyd Sigel: Lloyd’s Barbeque

    Lloyd Sigel started his business career selling roofing and siding with his dad, whom he calls “one of the best salesmen he has ever seen – one who could overcome any objection and get the sale”. This was at the age of 13.

    From there he moved on to painting houses while in high school and selling advertising while in college. When he finished college he took his first professional job with a reduction in pay because he could not find a job that paid him a comparable amount.

    His first job happened to be in the food industry where Sigel quickly made his mark as a superb salesman. This caught the eye of a food industry entrepreneur who hired Sigel and then made him a partner. This partnership became very productive and Sigel soon found himself buying a nearly bankrupt food company to pursue his passion – to sell pre-cooked ribs to restaurants and food stores. He bought the assets by assuming the liabilities, which is a great way to get into your own business especially if you do not want to invest a lot of cash and you know how to turn the business around. (more…)

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  • BOOKS BY DILEEP RAO

  • VENTURE DEVELOPMENT SPEAKER

    For over 33 years, Dileep Rao has worked with entrepreneurs, managers and leaders in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Dr. Rao has been acclaimed as a venture development teacher and speaker because he combines impeccable academic qualifications with his own successful experience in business growth and development -- offering practical knowledge with lasting value for success.

    Based on his experience and his study of some of the world's great entrepreneurs, he shows entrepreneurs, managers, professionals, financiers and area development officials how to build businesses by focusing on what truly matters and is sustainable in the long-term. (more…)

  • ABOUT DILEEP RAO

    A columnist on entrepreneurial finance, Dileep Rao is a nationally acclaimed practitioner, advisor, author and communicator on new business development, business growth and financing businesses and ventures. He combines real-world experience in financing more than 450 firms and managing five companies as the V.P. (now director) of one of the U.S.' largest development finance institutions with advising governments (including the U.S. government), Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs in new business development and financing. (more…)
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