Start Your Startup | Top 10 Hiring Tips for Startups

Stephen Semprevivo - Top 10 Hiring Tips for Startups

As a supporter and believer in the power and potential of new entrepreneurs, Stephen Semprevivo wants you to have all the access to the resources that can help your startup during the tricky beginning stages of starting a new business.

If your startup has grown to the point where you need to start hiring, congratulations! You’re in a great position to serve more clients and expand your business. Now comes the challenging part—hiring and retaining talented people in a competitive market.

As an experienced business consultant, Stephen Semprevivo understands the importance of making the right hiring decisions at every stage of your startup. Here are his top 10 tips for success when you’re ready to grow your team.

10 Ways to Find, Hire, and Retain Top Talent for Your Startup

The right talent is out there to help your startup grow and succeed. Use these ideas to find them!


  1. Determine your non-negotiables first

While you want to leave some room for flexibility when you’re starting to hire, it’s important to decide what skills or experiences you absolutely must have from a candidate. These can include things like:

  • Experience working in a startup environment
  • Specific certifications or degrees (or a base requirement, i.e., must have at least an associate’s degree)
  • Mastery of specific software, such as Salesforce or Business Intelligence tools
  • Proven track record of success via portfolios or projects


  1. Figure out what benefits you can offer

As a startup, you likely can’t offer the same benefits as one of your larger competitors. That doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer new employees, though! So, get creative with benefits by including out-of-the-box perks people actually want.


Offering incentives that prioritize your employees’ well-being can be very attractive to talented individuals. Here are some to consider:

  • Flexible hours
  • Options to work remotely
  • Creative freedom and autonomy
  • In-office snacks or catered lunches
  • Ability to lead projects and make critical decisions for the company


  1. Be transparent during interviews

Not everyone will thrive in a startup environment, so it’s essential to be upfront about your expectations during interviews. Candidates who love the idea of working for a young company that is ready to make moves and work at a fast pace will rise to the challenge. On the other hand, those who prefer the stability and slower pace of a larger corporation will quickly weed themselves out.


  1. Focus on enthusiasm and teachability

Sure, you want to hire someone who can hit the ground running on day one. But that person might not be interested in working for your startup. So, instead of trying to find someone who has the exact experience and skill set you want, focus on candidates who are enthusiastic about learning. Teachable employees will figure out how to do the job, plus they’ll go above and beyond their job description to add even more value to your company.


  1. Write an accurate job description

A lot of startups highlight things like an office ping pong table and Friday afternoon happy hours in their job descriptions instead of telling candidates what they’ll be doing during office hours. Your job description should be unique for each open position, outlining what a candidate can expect and how they will directly contribute to the company.


  1. Keep growing your network

Your network can do the work of sourcing candidates for you—if you’ve taken the time to nurture it and make the right connections. Take advantage of opportunities through online networking, like through LinkedIn, along with attending in-person events with people from a variety of backgrounds.


When you’re at networking events, avoid spending the whole time chatting with other business owners and executives. Instead, talk to people from all experience levels, especially junior level candidates who can grow with your company and eventually become one of its leaders.


  1. Reward referrals

Your employees all have their own networks of friends, family members, former colleagues, college roommates, people they met at random events, and more. Unless they really want someone to work with them, though, they aren’t likely to advertise your company’s hiring needs without some incentive.

Offer rewards for employee referrals. Many startups offer cash incentives. It’s far less expensive to pay for a referral than it is to start searching for candidates from scratch.


  1. Include multiple people in the interview & Do references YOURSELF

Bring in at least one other person during interviews who can help you avoid unintentional biases. Don’t discuss the interview until everyone involved has had a chance to write down their thoughts and assign a rating to the candidate. Also one great perspective on any employee is to talk to references they provide you. You can better understand how to get the most out of them once you do hire them if you ask a few questions to a former boss or peer.


  1. Streamlining onboarding and training

Getting a talented candidate to say “yes” to your opening can feel like a victory. But the process doesn’t end once the paperwork is signed. Take the time to streamline the onboarding process so that it’s as smooth as possible. Then, continue to refine it based on the feedback you get back from your new employees and their managers.


You can’t expect new employees to start making you money on day one. Every employee should have the opportunity to get properly trained on how the company works and what the expectations are before they get assigned job-specific tasks.


  1. Provide opportunities for professional development

Today’s talented employees want opportunities to grow professionally. If you’re going to retain talent, you need to give them space to grow. Offer professional development opportunities.


Some startups delegate a specific set of time (i.e., after noon on Fridays) for employees to take an online course, attend webinars, read books, or work on pet projects that are interesting to them and indirectly related to their job function. These opportunities can help accelerate your employees’ development and keep them happy, so they don’t start looking elsewhere.

Be Authentic and Creative During the Hiring Process

Even if you’re a small startup, you need to think big when you’re competing with larger organizations for companies. Be authentic when you talk to candidates, and get creative as you think of all the extra perks you can offer that the big companies can’t. Above all else, focus on finding people who are excited to help you build your business and turn it into something truly unique.

Apply for Stephen Semprevivo’s Startup Scholarship

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!

Stephen Semprevivo - Should You Join An Incubator

Start Your Startup | Should You Join a Startup Incubator?

Stephen Semprevivo - Should You Join An Incubator

As a supporter and believer in the power and potential of new entrepreneurs, Stephen Semprevivo wants you to have all the access to the resources that can help your startup during the tricky beginning stages of starting a new business.

One of those support systems is startup incubators. These collaborative programs are designed to give you a leg up in the first couple of years of becoming an established business.

Whether you’ve already decided you want to join an incubator or are still on the fence, Stephen Semprevivo is here with some of the pros and cons of startup incubators to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Startup Incubator?

You can think of a startup incubator as a program designed to be the training wheels to help your fledgling business get off the ground.

Incubators are most commonly run by private and public non-profits, generally universities and business schools to support their student body and alumni. They might also be created by civic groups, startup organizations, the government, or even successful entrepreneurs who want to support the next generation.

The services startup incubators provide vary, but in general, they give new businesses a place to work that’s either free or very low cost, access to mentors who are experts in the field you want to get into, introductions to investors, and, in some cases, loans or capital. They also provide a community in the form of your fellow entrepreneurs who generally will be in the same field as you.

Startup incubators can be a massive boon to your business as long as you consider all the positives and negatives and choose the right incubator for you.

Pros of Joining a Startup Incubator

Not all incubators are right for all businesses. As you begin your search, it’s important to know precisely what an incubator should provide you.


First and foremost, your incubator should be there as a support system for your business, providing access to seasoned mentors and experts.

Having an experienced eye looking over your shoulder and giving you helpful advice as you begin your journey as a business owner is invaluable. Your mentors can help you hone your skills in presentation and etiquette you would otherwise have to learn the hard way, plus give you training in general business practices.


As startups have proliferated in the last decade, it is more common to see more fail than succeed due to being half-baked businesses. With such a poor reputation, it can be difficult for you to be taken seriously by investors.

By being accepted into an incubator, you show that you can market yourself and people in the industry already think you have what it takes. It also means that your business will have a support system during its most vulnerable years.

Financial Support

Beginning a business is a substantial financial investment. Unless you have unlimited resources, anything that relieves financial burden is hugely helpful. A workspace is a cost with no return, so the free or reduced price of an office can take some of the strain off of you.


Cons of Joining a Startup Incubator


It is important to know that there are some personal preferences in whether or not you’re comfortable with joining a startup incubator, as well as some red flags to look out for when you’re choosing which ones to apply to.

Less Control

Unfortunately, if you join an incubator, you will have to answer to someone other than yourself, and that can be frustrating when you’re trying to learn how to be a boss. This can be a deterrent for entrepreneurs excited to be on their own at last. It is important to know that there are some personal preferences in whether or not you’re comfortable with joining a startup incubator, as well as some red flags to look out for when you’re choosing which ones to apply to.

Time Commitment

Incubators require that you stick around for a minimum timespan, usually one to two years. During that time, you’ll be expected to attend seminars, workshops, and whatever else your incubator requires. While these can be educational and helpful, you’ll spend a lot of time on them that will take away from your business.


While they can help ease some financial burdens that come with building a business, incubators are not free. You’ll either have to give them equity or pay a lump sum that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.


Final Thoughts

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!

Stephen Semprevivo

Start Your Startup | What Startups Need to Know about Outsourcing

Stephen Semprevivo - Outsourcing

Stephen Semprevivo is an advocate of outsourcing but when the time is right.

Founders are responsible for a lot of business operations. At a certain point, you will be unable to continue carrying the burden of every single task your business requires. When that time comes, you will have a few options—hire someone in-house or outsource these tasks.

Over one-third of small businesses use outsourcing as part of their business strategy. Here are some things to consider before you decide to outsource.


Benefit of Outsourcing

A recent Deloitte survey found that 70 percent of businesses list cost savings as their primary reason for outsourcing. Outsourcing costs far less than hiring someone in-house. When you outsource a task or project, you don’t need to worry about overhead costs, payroll taxes, benefits, or any of the other added expenses that come with a direct hire.

Another benefit of outsourcing is flexibility. When you outsource, you have more room to change your mind or go in a new direction. If you need to cut a project due to costs or time constraints, you can do so easily without needing to layoff an employee. You can also quickly ramp up a project more easily.

Finally, outsourcing gives you access to experts. Because they work with several clients, outsourcing companies have a broad range of experience they can draw on to find solutions to your problems.

Downside of Outsourcing

As with all things, there are two sides to outsourcing. The main downside is losing managerial control over the work being outsourced. You have to rely on your outsourced team to manage deadlines and deliver quality work. Because they work with several clients at a time, you might have to wait or go through several layers of people to make new requests.

Another downside of outsourcing is the risk to your company’s security, especially if your outsourced team will have access to confidential information. Get a lawyer to review contracts before you or the outsourcing company sign anything.


Common Areas to Outsource

While any task can be outsourced, research from Clutch found that the following areas involving technical tasks tend to be the most common for early-stage startups.

Information Technology

An information technology (IT) outsourcing company can do everything from managing your servers and setting up call centers to developing and launching software. You can instantly add specialized developers and quality assurance (QA) testers to your staff.

Human Resources

Until your company reaches a large enough size, it usually doesn’t make sense to hire an in-house human resources (HR) representative. Many HR companies can handle the heavy lifting of managing benefits, fielding employee questions, and keeping documents secure for you.


Most startups don’t need an in-house finance department. Hire a third-party accountant who can take care of bookkeeping, manage payroll, and get your tax returns ready. It is well worth the extra money to make sure these processes are done right the first time.

The great news is there are plenty of companies available for outsourcing. Do some research before hiring an outsourcing company to make sure they can meet your expectations.

Final Thoughts

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!

Stephen Semprevivo - Create the Perfect Pitch Deck

Start Your Startup | Create the Perfect Pitch Deck

Stephen Semprevivo - Create the Perfect Pitch Deck

Stephen Semprevivo is a firm believer that the if your business plan includes getting capital from investors, you’re going to need a pitch deck. A pitch deck is a short presentation that gives investors a concise but thorough overview of your business plan. You can make a pitch deck using any slide-building software. Prezi, PowerPoint, and Keynote are among the most common tools used.

You will use your pitch deck when you present to investors, either in-person or virtually. Your pitch deck needs to be powerful and thorough. The goal is to get investors interested in learning more about your company by seeing its value. You likely won’t get a firm “yes” after showing investors your pitch deck. If all goes well, you will get another meeting with investors to dive deeper into your business plan.


What to Include in Your Pitch Deck

Research indicates that investors spend less than three minutes reviewing a pitch deck before deciding to move forward with a startup or say “no thanks.” While this number can go up or down, depending on how many pitches investors receive, assume that an investor won’t spend longer than three minutes reading your pitch.

Keep your pitch deck to 10 – 20 slides. For face-to-face pitches, the fewer slides, the better because you will be there to fill in the gaps of information. If you are sending your pitch deck to investors to review on their own, you may want to include additional slides that provide more information.

Here are the slides you need to put in your pitch deck in a recommended order.

Slide 1: Cover

First impressions are everything. Your cover slide might be sitting on the screen for several minutes before your meeting gets started. Use the space to provide important information about your company, including your logo, founding team, and contact information (email, phone number, website, etc.). Add a catchy tagline that highlights what your business is all about.

Slide 2: Identify the problem

Keep this slide concise and limit it to one problem in the market. Don’t overwhelm your investors with a list of problems your customers face. Your problem statement should be easy to understand and relatable. It should be something that investors can identify with, either because they have personally experienced it or recognize the value of solving the problem.

Slide 3: Explain the solution

Your solution slide should be clear and concise, articulating your solution along with why now is the right time to deliver it. Your solution slide should also convey how you will scale your startup, especially if you are in the tech space. Scalability is vital for investors who want to see how their investment will yield greater returns.

Slide 4: Clarify the market

Investors typically look for businesses that will give them a 10X return in the next 5 – 7 years, so they will want to see that your business is in a growing market. Some investors may only want to be in markets that are $1 billion or more. Others see the value in investing in smaller markets for a higher ROI. Use research and data to articulate where your company fits in the market so that investors can decide whether you are the right company for their next venture.

Slide 5: Explain your product

Notice how your product is halfway through the deck. Include images of your product in action and reviews from happy customers to highlight your product’s use case.

Slide 6: Business growth

If your business has grown over time, include a graph showing it. Use metrics like revenue, client acquisition, and anything else that demonstrates how far you have come since you were first established. If your business is still too new to have growth, leave this slide out because it won’t benefit you.

Slide 7: Team

Introduce the founding team, highlighting what each member brings to the table. Include relevant education and experience that gives investors confidence in your ability to succeed as a company.

Slide 8: Competition

Detail what gives you a competitive advantage and how your brand compares with the competition. See Airbnb’s slide deck below for a great example of how to do this effectively.

Slide 9: Financials

Resist the temptation to overpromise on this slide. Be realistic about your projections for the next 3 – 5 years. This slide can be a high-level overview. Put more detailed information in a spreadsheet and distribute it to investors to review later.

Slide 10: Your ask

This is where you make the big ask for how much money you are seeking from investors. It’s a good idea to put a range, as many firms have limits for how much they can invest and will not move forward if they see a number significantly above their cap will For example if you want $10 million, list that you are seeking $7 million – $10 million


Pitch Deck Examples

Review these examples of pitch decks that resulted in millions of dollars from investors.


Launchrock’s cover slide says as much as the next 14 slides in their deck. With minimal text on each slide, this deck is clearly designed to be presented in person, keeping investors’ focus on the person speaking instead of a heavy-texted deck.


The pitch deck from Airbnb follows the outline above. It is clear and concise, giving investors all the crucial information they need to decide that this is an obvious choice for their next investment. Their competition slide highlights where they fit in the market and who their direct competitors are.

The Waypoint

Each slide includes data points that show how The Waypoint fits in the market. The first few slides clearly articulate how the company solves the problem of booking a boat slip online.

Have Someone Review Your Pitch Deck

Find a mentor who can deliver honest, actionable feedback about your pitch deck and ensure that it presents your company to investors in the best possible way. Practice your pitch in front of multiple people before going into a meeting with investors to ensure you are relaxed, calm, and ready to answer any questions they have about your business.

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!

Stephen Semprevivo

Start Your Startup | A Founder’s Guide to a Board of Directors

Stephen Semprevivo - A Founders Guide to a Board of Directors

Your Board of Directors – Why Bother?

Stephen Semprevivo is a firm believer that the right board of directors can offer your company invaluable guidance, allowing you to move your business forward, develop new products, and grow at a manageable rate. Taking the time to think about your board of directors early in your business planning can help you make the best decisions for your company.


When you first start your business, you might be the sole member of your Board of Directors. As you grow and secure investors, you will need to start adding new members to fill out your board.

When to Form a Board of Directors?

During the early stages of your startup, you and your co-founders (if you have any) will become an informal board of directors. You are the decision-makers. Each of you has a financial and personal stake in the company’s success, so you should all be included in major decisions.

This informal setup can work until you are ready to get funding. Once investors start coming into your business, you will need a more formal board of directors to advise you and vote on critical business decisions that impact the bottom line. Investors who serve on the board of directors often receive compensation in the form of equity, in addition to being reimbursed for travel expenses when they need to visit you in person


Who Should be on Your Board ?

It’s common to have the founders sit on the board of directors, but they should not be the only members once you are into the funding stages. Expect to gain a new board member after each round of funding, as lead investors often require a seat on the board as part of the investment deal.

Because of this, it’s critical to consider what type of person you want to sit on your board. It’s tempting to accept anyone who will invest in your company, but this is the wrong approach. Consider your company values along with the gaps of knowledge that exist among your current board members.

Bringing in a board member who believes in your business and can offer new ideas by seeing things from a fresh perspective can be invaluable. On the other hand, bringing in a board member who will be combative or who does not share your outlook on your company can be detrimental to the business.


How a Board of Directors Benefits a Startup ?

Your board of directors is responsible for making significant decisions in the company, including hiring and firing key stakeholders, awarding compensation, developing an exit strategy, and acquiring new companies.

Founders often are intimately connected to their business and might have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. Board members have an outside perspective. They act in your shareholders’ interest and can offer valuable insight that benefits the business, not just your personal goals.

Final Thoughts

It’s never too early to start thinking about your board of directors. Founders who spend time strategically planning their board before they start fundraising can have a better idea of who they want to pitch to and what types of board members to bring in as advisers.

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!


Stephen Semprevivo NEW Women's Business Center Startup Scholarship

Stephen Semprevivo NEW Women's Business Center Startup ScholarshipSanta Monica, CA, March 8 2021Business Consultant, Stephen Semprevivo, is now accepting applications for the Stephen Semprevivo NEW Woman’s Business Center Startup Scholarship 2021 .  The Stephen Semprevivo | NEW Women’s Business Center Startup Scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to students interested in starting their own business. Students are recognized for their ideas and capacities, as well as for their commitment to being an entrepreneur.

One of Stephen Semprevivo’s favorite mantras is, “The best time to start a business is NOW!” To that end, he wants to help students get started and reward their ideas and help turn their passions into a profession. 

Students will be hand-picked by Stephen Semprevivo and NEW Women’s Business Center and their teams, receiving $2,500. Winners will also receive 20 hours of assistance on their business plan or strategy, two startup books from Stephen Semprevivo’s list of favorites and business templates.

Business Consultant, Stephen Semprevivo and his team strongly encourage all student entrepreneurs to apply to the Stephen Semprevivo NEW Women’s Business Center Startup Scholarship. To apply for the Startup Scholarship 2021, visit Stephen Semprevivo’s official website.

In order to participate in the scholarship contest, applicants must meet the following criteria: Entrants must be legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, and who are sixteen (16) years of age or older at the time of application. Note: Applicants must be enrolled in programs at an accredited institutions in the state of California. 

IF YOU ARE NOT ENROLLED IN ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS go to the  Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. – Good Luck!



Stephen Semprevivo Contributes to Startup Career Fair

 LOS ANGELES – (March 8, 2021) – Stephen Semprevivo and NEW Women’s Business Center have good news for students and alumni of Los Angeles area  colleges and universities and beyond seeking jobs with startups and founders seeking a pool of qualified potential employees.  Untapped Future of Work Studio-Accelerator is partnering with Los Angeles area higher education institutions for the 2021 Startup Career Fair, to be held virtually on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 from 9am-3:00pm, where hundreds of Founders will be recruiting.  The event is free for job seekers and startup businesses to register.

Says James Bottom, Managing Director for Untapped Future of Work Studio Accelerator, “We’re excited to bring more than a dozen Southern California universities together to promote this event to their communities to help students and alumni secure jobs in early stage ventures.”
Employment roles that will be most heavily recruited lie in these areas:

  • Business Development, Customer Discovery and Sales and Marketing
  • Technical resources for Front and Back End Development
  • Designers with UI/UX, Wireframes, Mockups and Graphic Design.

Partners in the event include USC, Techstars, Pepperdine University, UC Riverside, University of LaVerne, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal Lutheran, Loyola Marymount University, Arts Center Pasadena, Cal State Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, NEW Economics for Women, Grid 110 and IBX.

Founders can apply for a free virtual table by clicking here to meet a wide variety of interested students and alumni.   Application deadline is Sunday, March 21, 2021.

Interested students can register for the free event here to discuss opportunities or create new ones.  

Additionally, female students who register for the event have the opportunity to compete for two $2,500 scholarships to further their education endeavors through an essay contest, made possible by entrepreneur Stephen Semprevivo and the New Women’s Business Center.  Eligible students must be interested in an entrepreneurial career, be legal US residents 16 year or older and must be enrolled in programs at one of the following accredited institutions: UCLA, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College, LA Mission College or the University of La Verne.  For more information on how to enter the scholarship competition, please visit  Application deadline is May 15th and winners will be selected on June 1st.  The winners will also receive 20 hours of consulting time from Stephen Semprevivo, two startup books as well as resources and templates from the Women’s Business Center.

One of our many initiatives is to connect with small businesses so that we can create incubators at community colleges and smaller regional universities,” says Quentin Strode, COO of NEW Economics for Women.  “There is a great deal of untapped creativity in underserved communities and our goal is to bring those resources to the locations where they are most needed.  This career fair is a great place to start.”

“This is one of the largest Career Fairs for startup organizations in the region,” concludes Bottom.  “We look forward to serving as a bridge to these communities and contributing to the economic development of the Los Angeles region and beyond.”

Start Your Startup | Finding a Mentor

Find a Mentor,  Improve Your Success

Stephen Semprevivo - Finding a Mentor

The early days of a startup are critical. No matter how much time you have spent in your industry, there are many aspects of starting and running a business that you don’t know. That’s as true for you as it was for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and all the other startup founders who came before you. As an entrepreneur himself, Stephen Semprevivo strongly believes that mentorship is crucial for startups. A recent study from the financial company Kabbage found that 92 percent of entrepreneurs credit having a mentor with their success. Yet only 22 percent of startup founders have a mentor from the beginning of their journey. Another study from the business mentoring leader SCORE found that founders who had a mentor when they started their business were 12 percent more likely to still be in business one year later compared with the national average. 


So, why are mentors so valuable, and where can you find one before you launch your startup? Here’s what you need to know.

Mentors = Value

Having an idea for a business is just the beginning. Before launching your startup, you need a business plan, access to cash or capital, a hiring plan, and so much more. Anyone new to founding a business will feel lost on one or more of these points, which is why having access to a mentor is so valuable.

More people are likely to start a business with the help of a mentor. The SCORE study mentioned above found that people with access to a mentor were five times more likely to start a business than those without one. Mentors can help fill in a founder’s gaps in knowledge, offering guidance in critical business areas like human resources, finances, writing a business plan, and figuring out a growth strategy.

Mentorship goes beyond founding and launching a business. It involves developing a professional relationship that can help business owners at all phases of their business. A TechCrunch study of companies in New York City’s tech sector found that 33 percent of founders who were mentored by other successful entrepreneurs became top performers in their industry.


How to Find a Mentor for Your Startup

Not all mentors are created equal. Find a mentor who has a track record of success. A well-meaning friend or colleague might be able to offer some help as you start your business, but a mentor who knows how to build and grow a startup will be able to help you become a top performer.

Find mentors through your network. LinkedIn is a great source to find people who your network may know and be able to connect you with (Feel free to send Stephen Semprevivo a connection request). Additionally, organizations like SCORE, or by attending local entrepreneurial-focused events. Don’t limit yourself to only having one mentor. Having multiple business leaders to turn to for different challenges can help you get a broader perspective.

As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!



Start Your Startup | How To Build a Business Plan

Stephen Semprevivo Startup Business Plan

Your Business Plan – Why Bother?

           Stephen Semprevivo is a firm advocate for building a business plan before you build your business. For any building to stand tall it needs a strong base and a solid foundation. There’s no compromising on this part. This exact same concept applies to building a successful and lasting business. Except for a business, the foundation is your business plan. Starting a business is easy – making one that can last for decades is the challenging part. If you want to witness your business profit and grow from the ground up, along the way you’ll need a cohesive business plan to guide you in the right direction. So your business will not only be your foundation, it will be your compass to keep you moving in the right direction.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan includes your business’s goals/milestones and a road map of how to achieve them. It narrows down the objective of your business and what your plan is. Having this helps avoid wasted time and money on projects or initiatives that serve no purpose to your goal. A fully detailed business plan will help organize all aspects related to your business.


How Do I Start My Business Plan?

 You might be wondering what a business plan should include. Stephen Semprevivo advocates taking an iterative approach to building business plans.  It can start simple with:

  • A simple mission statement (More on Mission Statements)
  • A summary of your product/service and why it is necessary
  • A description of who your customers are why fit your product/service (More on Product Market Fit)
  • How you will price your product/services
  • How you will market your product/service and make money


Once you have a good amount of detail around these areas Stephen Semprevivo highly recommend you start vetting this high level plan potential customers, partners and trusted advisors to ensure you are pointing in the right direction.

Once you are satisfied and have sufficient input from others you will also want to look at the external market and understand how those dynamics effect your business. You don’t want to create your business in a vacuum and it is important to understand how to navigate the external environment. The two areas to look at here are:

Once again, input from others whether its through consumer surveys or speaking to other seasoned professionals will be of great assistance in creating your business plan. To create a cohesive and detailed business plan, the next crucial step is to brainstorm around these following areas:



Sorry – Your Business Plan is Never Done

As you can see in the steps above Stephen Semprevivo stress the iterative nature of building your business plan. It requires constant input both from experiences you have and key constituents. Business plans are not something you build and put on a shelf. These plans are ever-changing and evolving as time goes on. Maybe you made a mistake with a previous financial goal. Perhaps current operations run inefficiently.

When these things occur, the first action to take is going back to your business plan and reassessing it. Then making the necessary changes. Business plans are meant to adjust as your business continues to grow. The objective throughout this entire business planning process is incorporating new learnings to redirect and grow your business.


As a successful entrepreneur, Stephen Semprevivo is always looking for new businesses to mentor. If you have an idea for a startup and are ready to take the next steps, apply for the Stephen Semprevivo Startup Scholarship. Two student entrepreneurs will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with mentorship and guidance. Learn more about the scholarship program and apply today. Remember, the best time to start a business is NOW!


Best Startup Books | The Lean Startup

Stephen Semprevivo Recommended Best Startup Books: The Lean Startup

There are countless books on starting your own business. Many are quite good, and many are not and can be quite long. Stephen Semprevivo as an entrepreneur and business consultant is often asks for advice on the best books to read that can help budding entrepreneurs.

One of Stephen Semprevivo’s favorite startup books that is also a best seller is The Lean Startup by Eric Reis.

Stephen feels that The Lean Startup clearly articulates many concepts that successful startups have been using for years and puts them into a simple framework that is easy to understand. The author also gives a number of good examples that help entrepreneurs understand the two core concept of accelerating their business quickly and cheaply.


Build, Measure, Learn Cycle

The first concept is that of the BUILD, MEASURE, LEARN cycle. This concept states that entrepreneurs should create very simple hypotheses about their business like “People will shop online for modular homes” then BUILD a simple product that allows them MEASURE if that hypothesis is correct. Based on what they MEAUSURE, they should LEARN something (was the hypothesis correct or not) and then BUILD their next iteration of the product that may test an expanded or new hypothesis.

Stephen Semprevivo Best Startup Books Build Measure Learn Cycle

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The second concept in the LEAN Startup is that of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This concept says that the BUILD part of your product should be as simple and as quick as you can make it and still proved out (or disprove) your hypotheses.

Let’s take the hypotheses from above “People will shop online for modular homes.”  Using the MVP concept, we wouldn’t build a whole site and factor before we launch. Instead we may survey people who are shopping for homes and ask them if they would build a modular home online and why. If we LEARN from this survey that the people said they would shop online, our next BUILD may be to create a simple website/landing page without any true product behind but asking people to sign up for information on modular homes. Based on learning from this BUILD you would continue to iterate.


Stephen Semprevivo Best Startup Books - MVP

Learn More

Stephen Semprevivo likes The Lean Start Up because as you can see the concepts behind the book are quite simple. If you are still not sure if you want to invest the time in reading the book Semprevivo recommends you watch the YouTube video of Eric Reis presenting his concepts at Google’ offices to a group of Googlers. (Click Here for Video)

If you like the video, Stephen Semprevivo recommends you either read the book (Lean Startup Amazon Link) or listen to it on Audible. That is one of the best startup books to read in 2021.