Stephen Semprevivo - Outsourcing

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 - A Founders Guide to a Board of Directors

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 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!