Member of the month: KidsAppBox

It’s not a surprise that most children would rather play video games than read a book.

As technology advances, it can consume a lot of our time. KidsAppBox, an educational game developing company is fully aware of the distraction technology may have on children. As parents themselves, they were determined to find a way to make learning fun. KidsAppBox reached 30 million downloads in four years.

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Member of the Month: Decus Biomedical

Grace Bartoo has operated out of a variety of spaces over the last 12 years. She has rented offices in buildings around the Bay. She has paid month-to-month on a separate house. She has even opened her own home to her 9 employees, giving each a key to her front door as they flowed like a river around her dining room table.

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Member of the Month: Stephanie Tomasky

For many in the startup industry, where a few slices of free pizza can seem like early Christmas, video products might be firmly placed in the ‘I can do without it’ category. Not only does Stephanie understand the struggle of deciding what comes first- the marketing or the success- she knows the frustrations behind the real question: where do you even begin?

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Why I Love Working at Sandbox Suites

I got to work with a lot of people that were around my age and I made great money, but what I loved about that job the most were the people I got to work with and had the pleasure of meeting.

One person that comes to mind was a 63-year-old, sassy, tall drink of water from Beaumont, Texas named Deborah. She always had a great attitude, was in great physical shape and was hilarious. I remember her saying that she loved what she did career-wise and I respected her for that. Her words really resonated with me.

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Is Standing Really Better for Your Health?

Health specialists have been quick to tell us time and again that sitting is the new smoking when it comes to what kills us. Between the 12 hours we spend sitting at a computer and watching TV, plus the 8 hours we’re sleeping, that’s approximately 20 hours we spend each day without motion.

In the last decade, standing desks have become the new craze to defy the downfalls of sitting. Dozens of styles exist, ranging everywhere in price from a few hundred to a cool thousand dollars.

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Event: Learn about the Murmur App

“There are murmurs around you” reads the notification on your iPhone: an alert that you just walked into a space with personality. You swipe to open the app – five of the latest tweets from everybody in the coworking space: a few new articles they retweeted, an Instagram photo from Jessica’s last trip to Tahoe, news about the deal that Dave from upstairs just closed with his largest client since December #success.

Pumping personality into space is Murmur’s mission.

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3 Reasons to Focus on Coworking

3 Reasons to Focus on Coworking

A million reasons exist to cowork. A million reasons exist to work at home. In the grand scheme of things, you are fully capable of starting your business from the cozy embrace of your favorite armchair. But to save yourself hours of gazing at the walls and wishing for inspiration, take moment to consider these 3 reasons to focus on coworking.

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How to Get Funded with Angel Investor Gary Jinks

Guest Author: Gary Jinks

Many entrepreneurs and startups do not understand the fundamentals of the “startup/entrepreneur” business model. As a result, they fail to deliver the right message to investors- and ultimately do not get funded. “Why You” is not because you have a great app or technology. A common mistake of entrepreneurs is too much focus on the product, technology, or engineering and not nearly enough on the business or “how are you going to succeed?” Your ability to deliver your value proposition and plan clearly, concisely, and with confidence is what gets you funded. Executing your plan is what gets you funded again.

The Model

In the same way traditional and franchise business models have their unique characteristics, so does the “startup/entrepreneur” model. It is based on explosive growth through private investment, not long term growth through debt (traditional) or buying an established infrastructure and branding (franchise.) It is critical to understand the investor/company relationship and how it affects ultimate goals and direction. More than 90% of funded startups have an acquisition strategy.

The Mindset

Sell your product to customers and your business to investors. Investors are not buying your product; they are investing in your team to make money. They must understand the opportunity, how you plan to successfully capture a piece of it, and must believe you can deliver.

The Plan

“Alpha, Beta, MVP, and Launch” is not a plan. Nothing says “invest in us” more than knowing what you are doing, when you are doing it, and how much it costs. Many startups lose credibility with a poorly constructed plan that does not show the coordination between Product Development, Business Development, Operations and Funding Strategy. You must go beyond product development and exhibit business development, go-to-market, and funding strategy. How does it all fit together in your plan?

The Value Proposition

For investors, your value proposition is generally not your product. In most cases it is a combination of the team, the plan, and the product- in that order. Delivering your value proposition clearly and concisely is critical. You cannot get funded if you cannot communicate “why are you the right choice?” You must be able to do this using the “industry tools”- the one page Executive Summary and the Pitch Deck.

To attend the event, register here.

Jinks

Gary Jinks
President, GLJ Group
Managing Director, South Valley Angels

Gary is a dynamic speaker who blends a mixture of detailed and relevant information, insight and humor in a compelling and entertaining format. During his 20 year corporate tenure, Gary developed complex advanced technologies, managed multi-million dollar budgets, and developed high performance teams. As owner and president of GLJ Group, Gary has generated more than $300 million in new business for his clients. As the founder and manager director of South Valley Angels, he has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and early stage companies to develop their business and go-to-market strategies, plans, and launch. Gary’s unique perspective comes from his experience in startups, Systems Engineering, Operations, Business Development, and Project Management.

10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

Whether you’re a corporate giant towering over the masses or a new startup barely crawling, you communicate every single day. With your spouse as you leave for work, with commuters on the train, with the guy you buy your hot dog from. But mostly, you communicate with your employees.

Here is a list of tips for interacting with all employees, both in your building and out in the world.

Working Together

In the Office

– Pay attention to body language. Take note of a person’s equilibrium state (at lunch or just hanging out) and when they’re working. Learn to recognize stress levels and reactions so you know when you should approach them and when you might want to hold off.

– Schedule ‘non-transactional’ meeting time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make it clear to your employees that they are more to you than request-granting machines. We don’t recommend becoming best friends, but business has a better chance of thriving when employees know they can talk to you as a person, not just a boss.

– Communicate in writing. Email, text message, Post-It, whatever- write it out and include dates and times that the request was made. This is important so that the employee knows what’s expected and you know what was said. It also allows you to send messages without pulling them away from their work stations.

Working Solo

Online

– Use voice and video calls occasionally to establish a more personal connection. Meaning can often be misconstrued in the written word, and what may seem to you as the writer might be interpreted as all hell about to break loose to your reader.

– Don’t be afraid to use emojis or gifs to get your point across. Though you might think it feels silly at first, some people are just bad at wording in emails. A well-placed emoji (in reasonable quantities) can completely shoot the conversation over to the other side of the emotional spectrum.

– Utilize systems like Slack, HipChat, Viber, Flowdock, Campfire, or Skype to keep in contact. Some bosses fear the outlet for wandering minds, but these chat platforms allow employees to talk to each other in real time. Not only can it address emergency issues immediately, but the fluidity can foster better relationships than the turtle-pace of emails. Establish a codeword that exclusively means: “please don’t get offended, but I need to focus my undivided attention on this task right now.” Suggestions: ‘pirate ship,’ ‘hammer time,’ or ‘magnifying glass.’

*Sandbox Suites recently started using Slack as our main means of off-site communication. We can categorize our discussions into groups such as ‘marketing’ or ‘general’ and easily search all conversations for that one line from last Tuesday morning. (Their emoji selection is also pretty fantastic.)

– Limit industry jargon. Using acronyms and slang may make things more efficient for you, but for the employee, it may put a drag on productivity if they’re trying to figure out what the heck “Supes in the weeds this mrn, get TAJR report on M’s ASAP” means.

Blog, both
Both

– Make sure everyone knows the lines of communication are open. Employees who are afraid to disappoint or anger their bosses are less likely to communicate information. Reward them for good ideas and encourage them to ask questions. Projects take a lot less time when a wrong direction gets nipped in the bud.

– Use simple words and avoid unnecessary repetition. Nobody likes a dead horse, and nobody likes to hear it beaten.

Ultimate Networking Tips Entrepreneurs Can Use


Ultimate Networking Tips for Enterpreneurs

Helpful networking tips for startups, job seekers, entrepreneurs and small businesses from Sandbox Suites, the coworking space for everyone.

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1. Take it online

When you meet someone and receive a business card, unless you are building an impressive business card collection, take it online. Find the person on LinkedIn; if they don’t have LinkedIn, send them an invite! Find them on Twitter and respond to one of their tweets- even if it’s personal and not professional. Follow them on Instagram, or Pinterest. Personally, I’d draw the line at Facebook friend request until after you’ve logged a few real time hours. (However, if they have a company Facebook page, DO like that.)

Protip: if you are lurking a few years deep on their Instagram, try not to like their photos. There’s a thin line between ‘cool new connection from networking event!’ and ‘I think this person is online stalking me.’ Invite them to another similar meetup or event instead where you can take new pictures!

Networking for entrepreneurs

2. Make Authentic Connections

Unless you are the host or an extreme extrovert with the attention span of a toddler (and if you are, you do you) DO NOT work the room. If you are having a great conversation with someone who matches or complements both your personality and your professional interests, stick with it. If you start chatting and realize that this person is your mortal enemy, or simply the most annoying person you’ve ever had the displeasure of making small talk with, then politely excuse yourself and move on. If you look around and realize you’ve only made one solid connection, that’s okay! With a really authentic connection, you’ll feel much more comfortable following up and connecting with them in the future.

 

3. Follow Up

When you tell a potential colleague, ‘let’s get coffee!’ follow up and actually invite them to coffee. Offer to make an intro email?  Do it! If you find a meetup, networking event or class similar to the one where you met, ping that person and ask if they’d like to meet you there. At minimum, refer to step 1 and connect online after your real life connection. The new contact will remain current and viable.

meetup_logo[1]Eventbrite-logo

4. Host Your Own Event

Are you an expert in a field? Strangely good at knitting? Always wanted to make your own zine? Interested in starting a podcast or teaching people the basics of digital photography? Search for meetups or events in that category and in your area through networking websites like meetup.com. If you find an existing event, offer to host, teach, volunteer or just go!

No upcoming events? Be proactive and message the event organizer and submit your idea, or ask to host the next event. If you are a member of a coworking space, many times meeting rooms and common areas are available on evenings and weekends at no cost to members. Coworking spaces are also a great way to learn about events and classes!

networking tips for entrepreneurs

5. Quality Over Quantity 

I cannot emphasize this point enough: one authentic connection can be infinitely more valuable than a stack of random business cards. If you click with someone right away, don’t feel guilty cultivating that conversation all night. It will be much more rewarding in the long run.

And keep in mind that you may not hit a networking home run at every event you attend. Sometimes you’ll get nothing more than a drink and a good meal. But meeting a new investor, a valuable business resource or your new boss only needs to happen once!

If you’re having a great chat, but don’t want to seem too exclusive, introduce yourself and your new found connection to someone nearby. Make sure to connect online and follow up with your new colleagues and friends.

 

Put your newfound networking skills to work at our Grand Opening Party for our brand new Palo Alto Sandbox!

Register HERE

Good luck out there! Networking can be rewarding and fun.

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