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9 Tips for Negotiating With Key Vendors


  

Question: What is one tip for negotiating with a vendor who will provide a key service to my new business?

Let Them Make the First Move

“Let them go first when giving you a quote. This way you see where they stand and don’t make the mistake of accidentally up-selling yourself without realizing it.”

Jessica Baker
Aligned Signs
@alignedsigns

Ask for Help

“The old saying “it never hurts to ask” is true! Whether you’ve “made it” or are a startup on a shoestring budget, get over your pride and ask your vendor if they can help on cost. Assure them you want to do business for the long haul and build a relationship.”

Steven Newlon
SYN3RGY Creative Group
@stevennewlon

Make It Easy for T...



Article

Breaking down silos — no herding cats anymore


  

In my last blog post, I spoke about siloed content caused by silos within an enterprise. Moreover, about the guy who is on the hook to drive the business, generate leads and protect the brand. In most organizations they call him the Chief Marketing Officer or CMO. He is focused on the connected, consistent customer journey.

Yeah, this feels like herding cats — an attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic.

Because in a larger organizations, everyone creates content. Sometimes people do not even know that this content ends up being customer facing. Some folks in Support writing some messages in support systems — but is it necessarily on brand and on target?

Let’s break down the customer journey — ...



Article

The Age of Napoleons: Conquerers in Tech


  

It’s no secret that our time in history is unique. Our times are unique in a myriad of ways, but an area of some concern is the state of entrepreneurship in the world of technology.

In recent decades fund-raising has become not only much easier, but also more popular. Even businesses with seemingly little potential to truly become scalable, try to raise money, and they even sometimes succeed. While fund-raising is a decent way to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, it’s not end-game for aspiring entrepreneurial-Napoleons.

In some ways, the entrepreneurial scene hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. For example, the average age of entrepreneurs today is not significantly younger than 100 years ago.

Steve Blank considers...



Article

How to Make an Easy Transition From Employee to Employer


  

Most people who start their own businesses must make a transition from employee to entrepreneur. There are some exceptions, such as people who are brought up in a family of business owners. For the most part, though, society trains us to be employees. This starts in school and continues as we begin to earn money with part-time and full-time jobs.

So when you decide to take the plunge and start your own business, it can be easy to unwittingly bring an employee mindset with you. Here are some pointers to keep in mind to help you make this crucial transition:

Consider a Gradual Transition

There are both pros and cons of leaving your job and putting all of your energy into your own business. On the one hand, you can devote all of your time to ...



Article

6 Mistakes to Avoid During Your First Pitch


  

Question: What is the No. 1 thing I should avoid when making my first-ever pitch and why?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

Not Communicating Your Value Proposition

Don’t lose focus of the overall goal of communicating your value proposition. If the prospect fails to see it, you’ll never get them sold no matter how hard you tried or how much effort went into your sales deck.

Steven Newlon
SYN3RGY Creative Group

Winging It

The best pitches look like they’re off-the-cuff, but they’re not. Smooth delivery and confidence comes from a lot of practice. I’ve heard so many people say, “I speak...



Article

The 20 Best Startup Podcasts for 2020


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The past few years have seen an explosion of podcasts — it seems like everyone wants to get in on the audio. And startup founders (many of whom have probably been listening to podcasts since they started in the early aughts) are no exception! But how do you know what to listen to in this vast sea of startup podcasts?

Don’t worry — we have you covered. Here are the top 20 best startup podcasts as we head into 2020. Grab your noise cancelling earphones — and get listening.

1. Startup Therapy

Hosted by Startups.com founders and serial entrepreneurs Wil Schroter and Ryan Rutan, Startup Therapy is an inside perspective on issues startup founders really care about. From what to expect in your first year after launching to how to deal with the e...



Article

UserCompass: Send NPS Surveys to Get Customer Feedback


  

“You didn’t ask.” Of all the things a business should hope to never hear the customer say, this has to rank near the top. Because it is so easily avoidable. Because the fault for never asking falls entirely on your shoulders. There are even automated tools to help you learn more about what your customer is thinking – to ask without asking!

UserCompass automatically sends NPS (net promoter score) surveys so you can know what your customers really think of you and so you can track their loyalty over time.

Currently, UserCompass surveys your Stripe customers. All you have to do is connect your Stripe account. Then UserCompass will automatically send NPS surveys and give you their feedback.

The service strategically waits three days from the t...



Article

Equity Doesn't Mean Equal


  

What's more fair than a 50/50 equity split?

Well, chances are a 50/50 split is a bad deal for one person - the person who will contribute more value over the long haul. The problem comes when we make those determinations of future contribution based on the least we will ever know - where we stand before we start our startup.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to address the split differently, focusing on what our contributions may be over time.

Why should I be concerned about a 50/50 split?

Because the likelihood that both parties will contribute the exact same amount of value over the course of the startup’s life is incredibly low, especially in the formative years.

One person may be contributing a ton of value relative to the moment in t...



Article

How I Became Artificially Intelligent (and how you can too)


  

I know a lot. Or rather, I know a lot more than I should naturally know. Specifically, I know a lot about people before I meet them – not through clairvoyance, but through artificial intelligence.

There is nothing strategic in this post. Just some practical suggestions about three tools I am using – Accompany, Notion.ai, and Sende.rs. – to artificially enhance my intelligence.

As I have written about before, I spend a lot of my day networking with entrepreneurs and VCs about their ventures and prospective investments. And sometimes I lose track. Where did I connect with this executive? or, Who asked me to speak with this founder? I no longer lose track. In fact, I am usually ahead of the curve. Here’s how:

Accompany is a ...



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