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Article

10 Aspects of Starting Up That You Shouldn’t Dread


  

Question: What is one part of starting up that was easier than you anticipated?

Finding a Support Network

“A support network of other entrepreneurs will make any journey a lot more enjoyable—and a lot easier, too! By joining key networking groups, like YEC, and moving into a co-working space, building a support group of like-minded entrepreneurs after starting ZinePak was easier than I would have imagined. I never expected to make so many close friends so quickly!”

Brittany Hodak
ZinePak
@brittanyhodak

Forming the Business Entity

“What I initially believed would be the most difficult part about starting a business for myself, which I would say is the process of coming up with and registering a name, filling out the prope...



Article

What Is Product Differentiation?


  

What Is product differentiation?

Product differentiation is process used by companies to clarify the differences between their products and other products on the market. Those other products can include competitors but also a company’s own products, to prevent overlap between the offerings. The goal is to find a product’s unique selling point (USP).

Why is product differentiation important?

Product differentiation is important because it makes your product stand out from the crowd! It’s easier and easier to create a company or sell a product or connect directly with factories in China these days. So what makes your housewares product or dating app or SaaS product different from all of the other housewares products, dating apps, and SaaS pr...



Article

The Secrets to Crafting an Irresistible Elevator Pitch (With Examples)


  

What is an elevator pitch?

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a Founder and a VC walk into an elevator…

In all seriousness, if you’ve spent any time swimming in the startup waters, you’re probably familiar with the idea of the elevator pitch. But in case you missed that day in Founder School, the scenario is this:

Say you got in an elevator, and standing in that elevator was the one person that could make or break your business. You have the length of that elevator ride to convince this person to get on board. And no, the electricity can’t suddenly cut out and leave you with a couple of hours to fill instead of a handful of seconds.

Well — What the @#*! do you say?

We’ll get to that.

Why are elevator pitches important?

There’s a reas...



Article

Reveal: See Your Industry’s Landscape with Competitive Intelligence


  

There are weapons, and there are weapons made with plutonium. Well, there is competitive intelligence, and there is the competitive intelligence made by Knowlium.

Knowlium is the maker of the competitive intelligence software called Reveal – a product that “accelerates your digital strategy with real-time competitive insight.”

Here’s a quick rundown of what the Reveal competitive intelligence software covers:

  • Brand Monitoring
  • Content Marketing
  • SEO Analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Social Media Analysis
  • Influencer Analysis

Which is to state matters very very simply. You must have a look for yourself to appreciate the comprehensiveness and sophistication with which Reveal processes data. If you want simple scores to understand your market position com...



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

Women’s Business Magazines Don’t Contribute Anything


  

When I first left my full time job to try my hand at being an entrepreneur, I thought it would be helpful to join a women’s business networking group. The membership included a subscription to their women’s business magazine which provides exclusive content, advice, and tips for being more business-y.

I won’t name the organization, but I won’t be surprised if anyone recognizes it. I joined just over 6 months ago and every time I have received an issue of this quarterly magazine, I become a little more enraged.

The very first red flag is that inexplicably and despite the fact that the women’s magazine is only available to pre-paying members and can’t be bought in store, it has a price tag on it (but no barcode), presumably to con...



Article

Getting Hacked: What to Know and How to Recover


  

Unfortunately, my site (SujanPatel.com) was hacked again, but I’m happy to report that everything is back up and running – no data lost and no personal information compromised.

I wish I could say that this was the first time somebody messed with my site, but what I’ve come to learn is that getting hacked is part of the price of admission for running on WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong – I love WordPress. The fact that it’s open source and widely adopted means tons of great templates, plugins and add-ons, many of which I use to power this blog. But those same pros turn into cons when you take into consideration the fact that hackers have the same amount of access as you do.

Dealing with the potential for WordPress hacks requires two things – be...



Article

How to Stop Company-Wide Games of Telephone


  

Imagine stumbling across a Glassdoor review of your company filled with damaging declarations and seemingly unfounded statements. You’d be shocked, right? I know I was.

Our former employee’s description seemed so foreign, I didn’t recognize the company being described. According to the review, we were growing too fast, too furiously; we were operating in a knee-jerk manner.

It was clear the past employee wasn’t aware that we look to hyper-vet everything we do. Decisions are hardly made on whims; they’re quite nuanced. Of course, none of that matters to employees if they’re not hearing the truth.

What had happened? To make a long story short, complete miscommunication on our part.

We’re not the only business that’s dealt with miscommunicati...



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...



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