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entrepreneurfail-aboutourpr

New Webcomics series brought to you by #entrepreneurfail and GetEntrepreneurial.com. Enjoy!

“With no marketing budget I resorted to techniques I would have never considered – cold calling, cold emailing, cold presentations, and crashing networking events, amongst others.” 

To spread the word to customers in a big company, the marketing department gets the big bucks to make sure the sales team is out there busting down doors to grow the business. And since chances are the brand or product already has recognition, the marketing helps reiterate and boost the brand in the market. The huge marketing budget pales in comparison to the return on the investment.

In a startup on the other hand, every employee – from founder to developer to gopher needs to be a marketer and a salesperson. The thick skin each employee will develop after hearing constant rejections will only make the value proposition stronger.

This article by Anita Newton goes deeper into the comparison! It’s a good read especially if you are making the transition from big company to small, or vice versa.

Key Startup Lesson: Use inexpensive methods of marketing and PR that all team members can use help grow the business.

Tell us about your experiences marketing in your startup in the comments below. 

This comic and post is from the book: Cheating on Your Corporate Job: A Comic Look at the Startup Dream. Read the review on Forbes.com. You can get the book on Amazon Kindle or PDF. Use the code “fifty” to get a 50% discount on the PDF.



 
  


independence-day

The annual U.S. celebration of the Declaration of Independence’s signing is this week. While many just eat hot dogs and watch fireworks, let’s Work Positive and discover 3 strategies from the Founding Fathers’ experience that we can use to achieve our own positive business independence.

Attention

The U.S. Founding Fathers viewed “taxation without representation” as the negative mental model cast by a negative British government.

What negative mental models receive your thoughts’ focus? It could be anything from the way you determine your attitude each morning by watching TV “news” to a scarcity mentality from which you grab and rake everything you can wrap your arms around.

Who are the negative people that get your attention? From an employee or coworker, vendor to regional manager, they suck your positive time and energy even after you go home. It costs too much to do business with some people.

Is your business positively growing this way?

The first strategy is to determine today to develop a more positive mental model independent of your status quo. Feed your attitude something more positively nutritional for breakfast. Grow an abundance mentality by thinking about all you do have instead of what you don’t.

Determine to give your attention to positive mental and social energies so your business will positively grow independent of current negativity.

How?

Intention

The second strategy is to declare your positive determination to transform your attention. 

The Founding Fathers of the U.S. signed a document that clearly stated what they believed to be true as the positive recasting of their attention and why. It’s known as the Declaration of Independence.

Our positive thoughts and relationships to which we give attention organize and crystallize when we declare in writing what we believe to be true. The most powerful fuel for focus is your pen.

Write down what you positively declare your independence from today. Write about more than just what you’re against. Notice the U.S. Declaration of Independence primarily focuses on positive truths that to the signers are self-evident. Keep your word count tight and positive as you declare your positively transforming mental model and social relationships.

Action

You’ve determined to do business more positively by transforming the thoughts and people who receive your attention. You’ve declared your determined beliefs.

Now it’s time to act—the third strategy. 

The British response to the U.S. intention for a more positive focus of attention was “Bring it on.” While the U.S. may have preferred acquiescence, war ensued.

Every action has a consequence. In business as in life, you are 100% responsible for your actions and their consequences. You start your journey to Work Positive with the first two steps when you determine to positively realign your thoughts and relationships and then declare them. There are many more steps down that path. Sustaining the positive change means you perpetually act in the 5 core practices of a Work Positive lifestyle.

The Revolutionary War came at a great cost to both the Americans and the British. Yet it was necessary for global growth to occur.

What one action will you take today to positively grow your business?

Create your own celebration as you implement these 3 strategies for your positive business independence.


The Secret to Having More Time

Do you feel overwhelmed by the day to day rush of your life and your business?

Are you sick and tired of wishing there were more hours to the day?

I can so relate.

I have to admit, I don’t have a fix-it-quick solution, or a magic pill.

But don’t despair – I do have something that could shift it all and make a huge difference to your life and business right now.

And you’ve guessed it; it’s all about your story!

Okay, so stay with me on this…I want to explain.

You see, there is this intense human desire to ‘tell’ our experiences.  We live something and then we go ahead and tell the story. (In fact, if we experience something and don’t tell anyone about it, sometimes we even wonder if we actually experienced it!!).

What we tell is mostly our version, I mean, it’s not pure fact, right?  It’s our story of the experience, based on our perspective, our background, previous experience and world view.

But here’s the thing, we tend to call it ‘fact’ and ‘reality’ and act as if we have no say in the matter, no control or power over this reality.  The ‘truth’ is that we have made most of it up.  Or at least, decided to tell the story in this way.

So, let’s take time as an example.  When we are waiting for our turn in the dentist chair to be over, we seem to have plenty of time.  I mean, time just can’t go fast enough.

When we are ‘in our element’, as explained so beautifully by Sir Ken Robinson is his TED talks and amazing book ‘The Element’, time just disappears.  It’s when we are doing that thing we love and are really good at.  We become unaware of time and it flies by.

So you can see that time and how much of it we have, tends to be dependent upon our story of what we are doing, what we need to do and our experience throughout.

If you take a deep breath and create a more empowering story about where you are in this unending list of tasks and activities, you might find that rather than being resentful of what you have not had ‘time’ for; you can be grateful for your achievements.

If you begin to celebrate the moment, the perfection of what is, then measuring time becomes obsolete and you can simply ‘be’.

So, it’s all about your story. It’s about how you consider time and how much your story depends upon a sense of controlling it.

Let go. Breathe deep. Smile at the story you are in this moment.This time is perfect. And there’s plenty of time for everything. That’s my story, it soothes and releases me!  What’s your story?

Lisa Bloom

About Our GE Network Expert - Lisa Bloom

Lisa Bloom is a highly professional and accomplished Storyteller, Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and Training & Development Expert with more than 20 years experience working in public and private sectors, high-tech and financial services environments. Lisa helps entrepreneurs de-stress the marketing, build their business with confidence by finding their success story at http://story-coach.com.


09Jul

Co-Founders Keepers #entrepreneurfail

Posted by Marcel Sim in Networking

cofounderneeded CofounderKeepers

New Webcomics series brought to you by #entrepreneurfail and GetEntrepreneurial.com. Enjoy!

“I can do it all myself.”

This is the declaration many new entrepreneurs make (myself included) as they decide to go solo. They often overlook the fact that cofounders can balance out their skills, help propel business and even provide investment.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a suitable cofounder! So it’s common for solopreneurs represent their ventures as ‘we’ and ‘my team’.  And why shouldn’t they? They are indeed the CEO, CFO, CMO, Developer, Assistant, and Gopher.  But there is a risk of spreading themselves too thin.  As I was working on a business idea, I was frustrated as I was pushing myself to learn things that were not my expertise. The hours, weeks and months wasted could have easily been avoided if I had found a cofounder who complemented my skills but still shared my vision from the get-go.  This is an #entrepreneurfail that is easy to fall into at the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey.

As an entrepreneur makes progress, taking the time and effort to find a cofounder or a team to supplement his/her skill-set will prove valuable. And as an added bonus, investors often prefer teams with varied skills to protect their investment.

So what should you do?

If you are truly ready to share the vision and responsibility of your baby, then start searching for a cofounder.  In addition to networking events, and your university’s alumni database, some great resources to find the perfect match include: CoFoundersLab and FounderDating.

Be ready for the tough conversations up front, as Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman suggests. He recommends discussing equity based on output not just an arbitrary fraction. It’s prudent to have the expectations set upfront. It’s one less thing you will have to juggle on your journey.

Did you decide to go solo or find a suitable partner? Tell us about your quest for a cofounder in the comments below? 

This was created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success


client-relations1

Article Contributed by Amber Ludeman

I have read a lot of sales and marketing tips and articles. Many of them left me wishing I had the last three minutes of my life back. But every now and then, you find one that incites emotion inside of you, whether that emotion be complete disagreement that builds to anger and fury, or happiness that leaves you feeling elated. (Or the third, scarier option, which is that I’m the only person who gets this worked up over the written opinions of others.)

This article is one that incited mainly the former. It proposed that the “we don’t need more relationships” from salespeople. It was important to talk business first to your potential customers. After all, they don’t want a buncha jaw-jackin’ messing up their schedules.

And that’s where I think they went adrift. It’s obvious to everyone (especially salespeople) that no one wants to be sold to. But everyone has an issue they need to be solved. Not everyone needs an outside force to help them solve it, but many do. If it was an easy solution, after all, it probably would have been dealt with. And that’s why salespeople are a necessary evil (no offense, salespeople; I am one myself).  That said, I believe relationship-building is not only a great way to sell, but perhaps the only one you should consider.

What are you providing when you only talk business? Straight numbers, facts and hopefully some case studies. But let’s be honest, we live in an era of exponentially saturated markets. Your competition doesn’t live on the other side of town anymore. The Internet has made everything possible with the click of a mouse; you’re competing with people outside of your time zone or country. We can’t all afford to be the cheapest option and we can’t all afford to be the most robust option. So how do we get customers to do business with us? Relationships. 

What should a salesperson do if they are only to talk business? Identify the problem, propose a solution. But how does a company know when to purchase? How does a company know that the salesperson isn’t pulling their proverbial chain? That, my friends, is what is called trust. And you don’t trust damn-near strangers that are talking straight business. You trust people that are forthcoming with you, that champion transparency in their own company values; you trust people who aren’t robots. Why do you think social media brand pages have hinged so much on customer service? Why do you think start-ups are Gen Y’s obsession? Because the corporate machine that spits out factoids isn’t what people want anymore. They want to interact and to trust companies. If you don’t elicit trust in your customers, they’re going to go somewhere else. 

Need more proof?

How about all of the organic and natural products that are so popular? Sure, they come with a higher price tag, but they elicit something in the consumer—that wonderful feeling that says, “you’re doing the right thing by choosing this product” and “your chicken was given a vacation option by being cage-free.” We like to feel better about our purchasing habits, even if only for a minute.

The way you give people reasons to do business with you matters.

Just talking business is also going to lead you down a path of solely numbers. And then it becomes a game of outworking or outdoing the next company. Let’s say that a salesperson promises a company a sales increase of 4% in the first six months. That’s great! But the next salesperson only has to say that he’ll increase it by 5% to get that customer’s ear. But if they have a rapport, a great relationship and open dialogue, the customer is probably going to ignore that 5% person because he or she understands that taking a risk with another company could mean working with a jerk for 1% extra sales, and it’s just not worth it. In short, a relationship is going to keep you in business for longer.

So how might one establish a relationship before talking business? It’s easy. Give away some advice for free, share resources, start conversations and don’t be all about yourself, your company and the cash. Respect the fact that people have more options now than ever before and be a resource for those in need instead of trying to hard-sell those in need.

With that said, check out the matchstick social blog for all the latest social media news, tips, advice and snark to boot. No eyeroll-inducing sign-up required.



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GetEntrepreneurial.com is a small business blog dedicated to providing business advice and resources to our community of aspiring entrepreneurs. Our specially hand-picked panel of GetEntrepreneurial.com Network experts regularly contribute entrepreneurial content and professional tips for small business owners worldwide.