‘Have a pay-the-bills plan in place’

In our ongoing feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, The Local talks to Tyler Jensen of The Startup Garage, which works with entrepreneurs in early stage, high-growth companies to help them attract investment and get out of the 'garage'.

'Have a pay-the-bills plan in place'
Tyler Jensen. Photo: The Startup Garage YouTube screen capture.
American and self-described "serial entrepreneur" Tyler Jensen called Denmark home for one semester studying international business in Copenhagen. He then went on to found sport and social club VAVi, selling the company in 2008 for over 150 times the capital investment. Jensen now leads another creation of his that helps fledgling entrepreneurs get off the ground — San Diego-based The Startup Garage.
How did you come up with this business idea?
The Startup Garage started in 2009 when we picked up our first client. I had learned so much through the process of starting, running and eventually selling my last company, VAVi Sport and Social Club, I wanted to share my knowledge with others.  

The Startup Garage is a team of business experts — brought together with the purpose of providing solutions for entrepreneurs. Our specialty lies in our ability to hone in on the major milestones that investors care about by thoroughly preparing the business, its executives and investor documents to present a solid strategy and make your startup investment-ready. One big piece of our business is writing business plans and helping startups achieve the milestones investors care about in order to raise funding.

Typically a business plan takes 200 hours to research, write and build out the financial model if you are a first-timer. We want to ensure entrepreneurs focus on what they do best, whether it's creating new ideas, marketing or building their startup team. And leave business planning writing to the experts, at The Startup Garage.

What were the initial challenges? How did you overcome them?

I think that most of the challenges entrepreneurs face are personal challenges. With my first company, I didn't really put into place a 'pay my bills plan' before we started. I just thought the company would start making money really quickly, and I could pay myself a salary. The reality was that that wasn't true, and isn't true for most start-ups, so I struggled for a while just trying to figure out how to pay my bills, while still having time to get the business started.

As founder of The Startup Garage, learning the ins and out of so many industries takes an enormous about of time, research and knowledge. From technology apps to fashion startups to biotech, there's a lot to learn, especially to the degree it takes in order to advise entrepreneurs within those specific industries. With any challenge, overcoming it is always a result of taking bold and deliberate  actions.
How has the journey been so far?
It has been enjoyable. We started serving mostly small businesses and now have moved into mostly aspiring venture-backed high-growth companies. I really enjoy the variety of companies and entrepreneurs I get to work with. Plus, our results speak for themselves. In helping businesses raise funding, we are also reshaping the entire economic landscape.
How has becoming an entrepreneur changed you, personally?
Tons. I have to have discipline, focus, leadership skills and really take care of myself. Setting boundaries and setting aside time to take care of my health has been critical. What works for me is having a really good personal practice, focusing on making health my number one priority. That includes not only physical health but mental and spiritual and emotional health as well.

I would put a daily practice into place, like I have now, where I get up and either run or walk in the morning and then I do about 30 minutes of meditation and prayer.

I also make sure that I have a very clear plan, and I take breaks to make sure that I’m not getting off track. This really helps me stay efficient and focused.

Do you have any other personal reflections or a message to budding entrepreneurs?

Remember that it takes a long time to make money — Nine to 12 months for small businesses and two to three years for high-growth companies. Don't quit your job until you really can afford to, or make sure you have a pay-the-bills plan in place. I see so many good ideas fail because the founding team fails with their personal financial planning.

It's essential to put financial projections together and business plans together beforehand. Doing this saves a lot of headache, heartache and mistakes down the road. Have a blueprint and a strategic plan for your business — not just a great idea.

Sparsh SharmaSparsh Sharma holds a Master's in business administration and a Bachelor's in electrical engineering. After having worked in top Indian media companies, he came to Denmark in the fall of 2012 to study at Aarhus University and later worked at Lego. A Danish green card holder, he is currently looking for marketing or consulting opportunities globally, while working as a freelance journalist for The Local Denmark and blogging about his experiences in Denmark. You can follow him on Twitter at @sparsh_s.

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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Sunny weather is expected all week this week. Photo: Niclas Jessen/Visit Denmark

Denmark’s former PM names new party Moderaterne 

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark’s former prime minister, announced on Saturday that his new centre party would be called Moderaterne, the same name as the leading centre-right party in Sweden. 

In a speech held to mark Denmark’s Constitution Day on Saturday, Rasmussen said the new party would attempt to unite Danes with a variety of different backgrounds and political viewpoints. 

“Some prefer mackerel, and others prefer salmon. Some have long Danish pedigrees, others have only recently chosen to live in Denmark,” he said.

What they all have in common, he said, is their love for Denmark, which is “among the best countries in the world”. 

“How do we drive it forward? We are trying to find an answer to that. How do we pass it on to our children in better condition than we received it?” 

Rasmussen said the party would not launch fully until after November’s local elections, but was ready to contest a parliamentary election if the ruling Social Democrats decided to call an early vote, something he said he did not expect to happen. 

Sweden’s state epidemiologist warns Swedes to be careful in “high-infection” Denmark 

After the per capita number of new coronavirus infections in Denmark in recent days overtaking that of Sweden, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has advised Swedes visiting their Nordic neighbour to be careful to maintain social distancing. 

“You need to keep [the infection rate] in mind if you go there, so that you really take with you the advice you have in Sweden to keep your distance, not stay with lots of other people, and not have the close contact that involves a risk,” he told the Expressen newspaper. 

He said Denmark’s higher infection rate was an obvious consequence of the country’s more rapid lifting of restrictions. 

“They chose to open up society relatively quickly even though they knew that there was a certain risk that the spread of infection would increase,” he said. “Because they had vaccinated the elderly and did not see that it would be that dangerous with a certain increased spread of infection.” 

Nils Strandberg Pedersen, former director for Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency called Tegnell’s comments “comical”. 

“It’s comical. It’s Swedish spin,” he told the BT tabloid. “Denmark has registered more infections because we test so much more than the Swedes. It’s not the same as having more people infected in the population.” 

More immigrants to Denmark are getting an education 

The education gap between first and second-generation immigrants to Denmark and people of Danish origin has fallen over the last decade, according to a story published in Politiken based on new figures from Denmark’s immigration ministry. 

An impressive 72 percent of 20 to 24-year-old first and second-generation female immigrants now completing further education of university education, compared to 58 percent in 2010.

Denmark records further 853 cases of coronavirus 

A further 853 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the 24 hours running up to 2pm on Sunday, a rise on Saturday when 592 cases were detected, but still within the range of 600 to 1350 a day within which Denmark has been fluctuating since the start of May. 

Thorkild Sørensen, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen, told Ritzau that the sunny summer weather was allowing people to meet outside, and vaccinations were having an impact, allowing Denmark to open up without a surge in infections.

On Sunday morning, 138 people were being treated for coronavirus in Denmark’s hospitals, up four from Saturday, or whom 29 were in intensive care. 

Some 40.4 percent of the population has now received at least one dose of vaccine and 23.2 percent have received both doses. 

Sunny summer weather expected in Denmark this week 

Denmark is expected to have warm sunny weather with temperatures of 18C to 23C, with blue skies and little rain, Danish Meteorological Institute said on Monday. 

“This week looks really nice and summery, and it will be mostly dry weather most of the time,” Anja Bodholdt, a meteorologist at the institute told Ritzau on Monday.  “The only exception is Monday, when people in Jutland and Funen might wake up to scattered showers that move east during the day.” 

Danish property market show signs of cooling 

The number of houses being put on the market fell again in May, according to new figures released from Home, one of Denmark’s largest online estate agents. 

According to Bjørn Tangaa Sillemann, an analyst at Danske Bank, the figures suggest that momentum is seeping out of what has been a “scorching” market over the last year, although he said it was unlikely prices would actually fall. 
“Although demand seems to be declining, it is still high, and when interest declines, it can also make it less attractive to put your home up for sale than it has been recently,” he said.
At Home, 5.1 percent fewer houses were put on the market in May, while the number of apartments put on the market fell 9 percent, and the number of sales fell by 2.1 and 5.7 percent respectively.