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What Problems DO Just Go Away With Time?


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Every Founder feels like their startup must be the one company that is a total shit show compared to how those other startups must be running.

We believe that if we can just get past this next set of challenges, things will finally be smooth sailing.

What we don't realize, especially if we've never done this before, is that the problems never really go away. It's just a never-ending "whack-a-mole" game with different problems.

Problems Don't Go Away — They Just Change Names

When we're small and scrappy, our problems are all about survival. How are we going to meet payroll? How are we going to land that one early investor?

They feel weighty and life-threatening — and to be fair, they are. But those formative years are stressful in the wa...



Article

Everything You Need To Know About Pitching Investors


  

The investor pitch. It's feared. It's desired. It's terrifying.

But don't worry: We've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about that all-important investor pitch.

What should your investor pitch include?

Invisu.me Co-Founder and CEO Donna Griffit is a master pitcher who has helped countless founders distill their pitch down to exactly what they need — and nothing they don’t. She had the opportunity to sit in on a private pitching event where a delegation of startups had the opportunity give a five minute pitch and receive direct feedback from a group of top-tier Silicon Valley VC’s. (So top tier that she can’t even say who was there but, trust us, you will want to memorize this section before your next pitch.)

Here’s what ...



Article

How Can I Creatively Pay My First Employees?


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Somehow the startup world has convinced people to work for "free" on a regular basis, with the theoretical benefit of some big payout on equity later.

The truth is, those bets rarely work and once the pixie dust of the new startup wears off, what's left is a bunch of frustrated employees who can't pay their bills.

Although we have little to no money to pay today, we should always try to incorporate some level of cash compensation, even if it's incredibly small, to help offset the cost of life that our team is going to inevitably face.

When our team is more focused on going broke than contributing, we're not really doing anyone a favor!

Use a Compensation "Ramp Up"

Compensation doesn't have to be "all or nothing."

Just because someone mak...



Article

My Startup Stalled — Now What?


  

“When we first launched things were going gangbusters. But since then, things have kind of flat-lined. The business seems stalled. What do we do from here?"

Is it a blip or a trend?

Part of the challenge with running a startup is that we simply don't have any history of whether past performance was the future of our business or "just a really good quarter.”

For this reason, it's hard to tell whether we're really stalled until enough time has gone by that we can see the writing on the wall.

We imagine a "successful startup" always has a stout growth trend that runs "up and to the right" on every chart. But that's actually not really true.

Yes, there are some standout companies that smash records, but most companies grow slowly over a long ...



Article

How to Be a Successful Marketer if You’re not Super Smart


  

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m not that smart, and yet I’m a pretty good online marketer. I am actually probably one of the better ones out there.

So, how’s that possible? Well, you don’t have to be smart to be the best marketer. Instead, you need to be creative, execute well, and continue to learn from others.

Here’s the process I used to become a great marketer, and here is how you can follow in my footsteps:

Don’t be afraid to bug people

When I first started out in the world of online marketing, I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know how to edit HTML; I thought MSN was a bigger search engine than Google; and I had no idea where to start.

But the one thing I did know is that there are marketers out there who are a...



Article

Simple Ways to Create Delightful, Cross-Device Experiences


  

It’s a crazy, multi-device world.

According to one report from Facebook, 60% of online adults in the U.S. and U.K. use at least two devices each day, meaning that mobile is at the epicenter of many brands’ marketing, sales, and product strategies.

This trend creates a window of opportunity for companies that are looking to reach audiences at multiple points in their buyer journeys. The challenge, however, is that mass-market tools and analytics technologies haven’t caught up—basic reports in Google Analytics only provide aggregate-level traffic data, for instance. It’s tough to dissect the steps that your audiences are taking to become customers and repeat customers.

Despite this lack of transparency, one concept holds tried and true: you’r...



Article

Sales Funnel Optimization with Hiten Shah


  

Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, is a proven sales and growth expert. His years of experience founding, advising, investing in or working with startups have crystallized into a wealth of knowledge about how to grow a successful company.

If you have the time, watch the video below to hear Hiten reflect on how he thinks about sales funnels. To help you out, we’ve outlined the major points below for your easy perusal, as well as provided some foundational information about sales funnels to further illuminate Hiten’s point of view.

Hiten explains that essentially, a sales funnel is the “step-by-step process of things your user or customer does to accomplish a goal.” You may not think that your customers go th...



Article

Ready for Anything: Kapture and the Importance of Evolving with the Market — Interview with Mike Sarow, CEO and Co-Founder of Kapture


  

“Sometimes your spidey sense is like, ‘I don’t know if either one of these are right,’ but you have to go somewhere. Spinning your wheels, being in neutral? That’s bad.”

When you hear Founders out in the media talking about their product, most of what you hear them talk about is all the things that went right: the hypotheses that were confirmed, the “ahah” moments where all the pieces fell into place.

Founders Don’t Discuss The things they didn’t know

What you don’t hear most Founders talking about: all the things they didn’t know – the times a big bet didn’t pay off, the times when what you thought was true turned out not to be the case, the times when the market turned on a dime and suddenly everything you...



Article

16 Surprisingly Educational Hobbies


  

Question: What unrelated hobby has taught you the most about business?

Marathon Running

“Running involves discipline and a lot of hard work. You can’t fake it when it comes to finishing 26.2 miles. You definitely get out of it what you put in. Not only does it involve physical toughness, but a considerable amount of mental strength and focus as well. Comparisons can be drawn to business when it comes to knowing your capabilities, working hard, using your wits and not giving up.”

Michael Quinn
Yellow Bridge Interactive
@ybinteractive

Poker

“Poker is a game of incomplete information. You know what cards you have but are making educated guesses and playing odds based on your opponent’s cards. Business is similar...



Article

Is Networking a Waste of Time?


  

"I'm seeing these events and groups popping up everyone asking me to network with other Founders, other marketers, devs, growth hackers, or anyone else in the startup community.

Between all the events, conferences, groups and whatnot — should I be spending my valuable time network or just focusing on my startup?"

If you have to ask, the answer is "No"

Most networking is a waste of time.

That's not because having a useful professional network isn't helpful, it's because how we often go about it is really unfocused.

Avoid random networking events

Sure, it's possible that if we go to SXSW we might happen to run into someone that can somehow be useful... someday...maybe.

But wouldn't it make more sense to put that time and expense toward set...



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