16+ years of tech/entrepreneurship. Founder of 3 acquired tech ventures. Focused on blockchain tech, cryptoeconomics and ICO/token sale logistics. CTO of trade.io who recently raised over $31M in their ICO. 2 years experience in Ethereum Solidity Dapp and smart contract programming and security auditing. Working knowledge of Hyperledger, EOS, Holochain, Loom and other blockchain protocols. ICO and Dev clients: Trade.io, DealBox, Rhovit, Terra Virtua, QTUM, Peerplays, and more. Other competencies: white paper design, tokenomics/game theory/mechanism design, crypto marketing, KYC/legal compliance, Golang development.
If you are looking for a free method then try the following -
Create a contest. Email your list of 100 fans and tell them they will get the following -
Their name in a special acknowledgments page in the book and a 50% off coupon for the price of the book if they share the link to your Amazon book page with one of their social networks.
Set a date for the contest to end maybe 2 weeks out. Whoever has the most shares across all of their social networks in that time frame (FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Blog, etc) will win a character cameo with their name in the book and a free copy of the book.
This would require writing in an ancillary character into a scene in the book that has no significance to the story but is just a way to mention the contest winner's name.
For each share, the contestants just need to email you the share link to prove they made the share.
Find SEO/SEM companies and partner with them. They have a need for your services for their clients. You can offer them a small percentage of your monthly revenue for each client they bring to you.
Do the same with web development firms. For direct outreach get on LinkedIn and search for small to mid-sized companies and get in touch with the marketing VP or directory and offer your service to them directly as well.
Simultaneously, you should also start actively employing SEO on your site so that you can eventually rank for keywords related to social media marketing.
People are already actively looking for what you are doing and being found on page 1 for an organic search is going to bring you all the leads you can handle. That's a long term strategy though.
Try the JV/Partnership route first and leverage other people's networks for your services. Most, if not all of this requires you do nothing but email and maybe a few phone calls to close a partnership deal.
If you have a budget you can also run ads on LinkedIn and Facebook but first, consult with someone who can show you how to do that the right way without spending a ton of money for no results which is incredibly easy to do :)
I've been a developer off and on for 16 years. I have also been a team lead, a CTO and a CEO. This is a very common issue and like most common issues contains a counter-intuitive solution.
I'm assuming that reason you are asking the question, to begin with, is that you suspect these two developers are not working fast enough.
Primarily this comes down to trust. You mentioned that you were not an IT guy. That begs the question as to how you were able to hire these two developers in the first place?
Perhaps you had an IT consultant hire them for you? If you hired them yourself then you do in fact have something to be concerned about.
What I know about developers is that it takes a good developer to hire other good developers. Hiring developers without knowing anything about development is a recipe for bad outcomes.
See, the thing is if you know beyond any doubt that these two developers were qualified to do the job when you hired them and you are paying them a salary commensurate with that skill then you have nothing to worry about in general.
Using whatever project management strategy whether it be SCRUM/Agile or whatever is not going to make a bad developer better nor will it make a good developer even better.
If you are not sure that you hired the best people for the job then the best thing to do is to find out ASAP by hiring a consultant to come in and evaluate the situation.
This need not be a huge undertaking and shouldn't require a lot of money. The consultant can look at the project history and give the developers a few skills exams to see where they are at on the knowledge scale of the codebase you are working with.
If the consultant comes back with bad news then you should have the same consultant help you screen new applicants to replace either one or both developers. Yes, you will lose time by doing this up front but you will save even more time over the long run.
If you hire 2 new developers who have been vetted by a person who knows how to tell a good developer from a bad one then you will have nothing to worry about and you can trust that what they are doing in terms of speed is appropriate.
If these 2 developers you have are in fact up to the task then ask yourself are they getting paid what they are worth? Under paying a developer is also a recipe for bad outcomes.
Whatever you thought you were saving in hourly fees or salary is going to come out of lost time because the developers are not motivated to help you succeed.
After all, what's in it for them? If they have no equity in the company then they know they are just hired guns and can be let go at any time and have no real stake in what you are trying to accomplish.
It very well could be that they are underperforming but that is either because they are not experienced or skilled enough for the task or they do not feel valued by you and have no real incentive to bring their A-game.
Another important point to realize is that developers are constantly being beat-up by unrealistic requirements from the marketing/admin side of the house.
If you are not a developer that 10% of what is viewable on a screen is the tip of another 90% in code that is making it happen and that interacts with many other moving parts in the code.
What appears to be a simple new feature request or change to a layman is in fact not a quick thing at all. If you have hired a good developer you can trust that they will be honest about the time it takes to implement and in that case you must lower your expectations to fit with the reality of the situation.
It all comes back to making sure you start with a good developer and for that, you certainly need someone who knows how to tell the difference between good and not good.
Congrats on the success you have achieved in just 3 years! That's statistically uncommon and reveals that the initial focus of the company was effective and worth reviving.
Yes, it must be frustrating to feel like you are the only one carrying the company uphill. I've been in a similar position.
First, I suggest you take responsibility for the position you currently find yourself in. It's easy to cast blame on people and circumstances outside of yourself. It's the most common first reaction.
If you really think about it though, you will realize that where you are did not appear overnight. Every day for the past 3 years you have either consciously or unconsciously agreed to move towards where you are now.
By doing that you are no longer a victim of circumstances and can move forward from a place of power.
As the primary producer in the company you do have the leverage however, you also need a pro-active plan to promote using that leverage and it needs to be something that benefits everyone involved.
First of all I would check your perspective on the whole situation by calling a meeting of stakeholders to recalibrate the company vision.
The idea here is to get everyone to tell you what they see as the primary problems with the company right now and where they each would like to see things improve. You need to see what everyone else is seeing not only what you are seeing.
This meeting in and of itself might change your perspective entirely. If it reveals nothing that profoundly changes your view then move on to the next step.
If you are the star salesperson then you have a method by which you get results. Try creating a sales training program out of that method and then go to the team and present this training plan. There are books and resources online on how to create a sales training plan like this. The goal is to duplicate and systematize how you achieve your above average results.
Frame the plan as a way to get all the other team member goals accomplished. Whatever those goals are, inevitably they will require more money.
By using your leverage as the star salesperson and taking the initiative to create a program that will effectively create more star salespeople then you are bound to create more revenue for the company. This way your goal is a means to an end for everyone else's goals. This way you get unanimous buy-in.
Set a goal of 8 weeks or so to implement this training across the enterprise. Provide bonuses and other incentives to participants to achieve this goal as well as longer term sales increase goals.
Create company-wide perks for achieving these long-term sales goals. Maybe a retreat somewhere awesome? You get the picture.
The idea is to create a win-win situation for everyone to get going in a positive direction that will, in the end, alleviate your present problem as well as achieve a greater success for everyone involved.
Hope that helps. Best of luck!
Good on you for being proactive! The customers and prospects who tell you about their bad experience are worth their weight in gold. For every 1 who actually tells you, there are scores more who didn't bother to tell you but had the same bad experience.
Having said that you can't take customer feedback at face value. In this particular case I would email the customer back and ask them specifically what she means by "boring". Ask her what else was off for her and also ask what she thinks you are doing right.
Hopefully, you also have some kind of analytics installed on the site so that you can get general statistical data in addition to case-by-case anecdotal feedback from users.
To answer your question - there are an unlimited number of things you can change to affect user experience and increase conversions. It all comes down to testing different tactics.
The most impactful things to test are site mechanics, UI and copy.
Mechanics is how fast the site loads, does it appear properly on all major browsers and platforms? Is it mobile ready? Does it rely on plugins that various browsers might not have?
UI or user interface is primarily concerned with making it super easy for a user to know where they are, why they are there and where they can or should go next in your site. If you have analytics installed and a decent amount of traffic each month you can begin to see patterns around bounce rates, exit pages, time spent on a page, visitor funnels etc.
Next on UI is aesthetics. I agree that you need a logo. You can stick with the same theme or change to a different one that might be more open and provide a better experience. You can experiment with colors however, do consult an experienced designer on that as some colors just don't go well together.
Copy is probably the biggest thing in the mix. Having good copy that pulls a visitor into each page and leads them into a sales funnel is the deciding factor in terms of conversion rates go.
If you would like to discuss details or specific tactics for any of this call me and I can get you going in the right direction.
I think you should wait on attempting to get funding for anything beyond MVP. Whatever numbers you come up with for your current plan are going to be pure speculation.
What I would do is create a funding plan for just the MVP. Get the MVP built and get a bit of traction then go for the next round.
You need to know the size of the market, the market share taken by existing competitors. You need to make a case for why your differentiating factor is really a differentiating factor.
Are there user reviews of people talking about the lack of key features for dev teams and lack of simplicity in existing software products?
If you know your market you can actually pre-market your MVP idea. Using Adwords, FB, LinkedIn ads and a landing page you can attempt to pre-sell what your MVP is going to be to gauge interest and market sentiment.
My experience has been 5-10%. I've tried direct mail for several different ventures over the years and have not ever been all that impressed with the results.
I'm a previous founder of 3 SEO companies but I'm not biased in saying that inbound lead generation via the web is almost impossible to beat as far as customer acquisition costs are concerned compared to traditional marketing like direct mail.
Those stats are fairly well established. Of course, there may be a particular demographic you are targeting that have tested positive for direct mail affinity and in that case you will see better than average results.