Category: Entrepreneurship

How Venture Capitalists Evaluate a Start-Up

I was reading The Entrepreneur’s Manual by Richard White and came across this information I thought was unique and worth sharing with you all.

Below are different kinds of business models and what aspects of business venture capitalists stress on and how much. The book was obviously written before the Internet era and does not include numbers for online business models. It makes the information pretty outdated but I thought it was interesting regardless.

Local Retail Sales or Retail Service

  • Management Team – 30-50% of importance
  • Location – 40-50% of importance
  • Products / Services – 5-10% of importance
  • Marketing / Finance Plans – 1-5% of importance

Nationwide Industrial Business

  • Management Team – 60-90% of importance
  • Key Employees – 10-30% of importance
  • Industry – 10-20% of importance
  • The Service – 10-15% of importance
  • Marketing / Finance Plans – 1-5% of importance

Manufacturing

  • Management Team – 50-60% of importance
  • Industry – 20-30% of importance
  • Product – 10-20% of importance
  • Marketing / Finance Plans – 5-10% of importance

 

Enthusiasm and Selling – Just some thoughts

Enthusiasm, I believe is to be the master secret of selling. Sure, you can learn all kinds of sales skills and techniques. But, if the customer doesn’t see you excited about what they’re being presented with, they … aren’t … buying.

Enthusiasm is the largest factor in selling. Have you ever bought anything from an unenthusiastic sales person? Correcto Mundo. Me neither.

Those who think selling is difficult are usually not enthusiastic about what they are selling to, or who they are selling to, or maybe both. These sales people need to find something else to sell, something they would be enthusiastic about.

Here’s what I believe about selling.

Key to all sales is enthusiasm, coupled with persistence and some skill.

Here a revelation (to me at least) about enthusiasm.

It’s easy to be enthusiastic when you are not worried about things in life.
It is difficult to be enthusiastic when we are worried.

Looking back, I’ve always found selling to be easy when I have had plenty of cash to fall back on. Selling was easy when I did not need that sale. I wasn’t desperate. It was easy to gather and show my enthusiasm. The opposite was also true. When times were tough, and I tell you sometimes they were, I couldn’t show enthusiasm no matter how much I tried faking it. Desperation would show instead.

As a lifelong sales person, this was an important revelation to me. I’m thankful that I realized it because now I can fix it.

Secret Enthusiasm List

Have you ever read the book Secret by Rhonda Byrne? I have. In the book, she says there are a handful of things everyone does that makes them instantly happy. She asks readers to compile such a list and keep it with themselves at all times. What if there was a your very own personalized secret list of enthusiasm? What little things can you think of that will quickly make you excited?

Here’s a snippet of my list. Maybe it will help you kick-start yours.

  • A cup of coffee or Starbucks hot chocolate
  • Donating a dollar or more to someone in need
  • Helping someone solve a problem
  • High Intensity Exercises

Do you think this post has nothing to do with you because you’re not a sales person? Let me tell you this … YOU ARE A SALES PERSON. You might not be selling a product for a living, but you’re constantly selling yourself and your ideas.

Have you ever peddled your resume looking for a job?

Ever proposed to someone or ask someone out on date?

Ever tried to teach a child right from wrong?

What about trying to win an argument?

Every person in this world is a salesman or saleswoman whether we like that term or not. And the key to being a successful sales person is one word … enthusiasm.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

Get a Customer Retention Strategy!

 

Most likely you have a customer acquisition strategy. It helps you bring new customers in. The best-in-class businesses also have a powerful customer retention strategy.

What is a Customer Retention Strategy?

In simple words, it brings your customers back to your business over and over again. So, the lifetime value of each customer can increase.

Why is this important?

The cost of customer acquisition can be expensive. Even if you can acquire your customers for cheap dollar wise, it can prove to be expensive time-wise. Having a customer retention strategy in place gets these customers to walk in without spending much of money, time or energy in marketing.

To state the obvious, working both strategies in tandem can increase your revenue trajectory exponentially.

So, how to build a Retention Strategy?

Figure out a way to keep in touch with everyone who interacts with your business either online or offline. One of the best ways to do this is by capturing their email address.

If you find your customers are apprehensive giving out their email address, offer them a incentive.

Once you have their email address, send them regular newsletter or product promotions. This will keep your business on top of their mind.

Another way to do is ask them to connect with you on social channels. This can be a bit challenging than ask them for their email address. If your customers are conducting their transactions online, then ask them to connect with you online at the end of the transaction – on the “Thank you” page. It’s called the, “strike while the iron is hot” technique. They just bought something from you. They love you. They will like your Facebook page without any hesitation.

If the customer is conducting the transaction in-person, offer them an incentive to like your Facebook page. Maybe, if they showed the cashier that they liked your page, they can get a 5% off their order. Or, maybe they can get a special gift bag that cashier keeps in the back.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

What is your Website’s Job?

It’s 2017. I used to think every small business in United States has a website. I was so wrong. According to GoDaddy, 6 out of 10 very small businesses are not online. Geez Louise! What’s going on here. Anyways, for the sake of discussion in this article, let’s assume you HAVE a website.

So, what is your website’s job? Can you answer this question? Most small businesses have trouble with it.

Let me ask you a few other questions:

  • What is your secretary’s job?
  • What is your accountant’s job?
  • What is your HR manager’s job?

These are easy questions. Business owners have no problem answering these because they have a clearly defined job function for each one of them.

Your website is really your employee. It should have a job function just like your accountant or your secretary. And it is your job to identify its function.

  • Is it to provide basic information about your business to prospective clients and customers?
  • Is it to generate leads for your business? In that case, it’d be your sales rep.
  • Do you want your website to be your customer service representative?

What do you want your website to do?

Once you clearly define it’s job function, then you can design it to fulfill that job function.

Not all websites are designed equally. A website should be designed to fulfill its job.

A website who’s job is to merely provide information and a phone number or an email address to reach the business is much simpler and much different than a website who acts as a funnel attracting only qualified leads.

If you are unclear on your website’s function or want to know whether your website is doing its job correctly or not, email me at mayurgudka@gmail.com and I’ll help you answer these questions.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

11 Small Business Marketing Tactics

Ever since childhood we’re trained to think in terms of good or bad.

That however, is the wrong way to think when it comes to marketing tactics.

Marketing tactics are either effective or ineffective.

Taking out large newspaper ads proved very effective 30,40,50 years ago. Not so much today. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad tactic. It’s simply ineffective for majority of the population in United States. It might still be highly effective in other parts of world.

With that in mind, I want to share 11 Small Business Marketing Tactics with you today. Seven of them are digital and four of them are traditional marketing tactics.

Digital Marketing Tactics

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Search Engine Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Online Ads
  6. Online Video
  7. Mobile Ads

Traditional Marketing Tactics

  1. Direct Mail
  2. Newspapers
  3. Radio
  4. Local TV

The success or failure of each of these tactics depends on several factors including, who you audience is, how do they prefer to be communicated, how successfully can you communicate your message to them.

If you are not using one of the above mentioned tactics but would like to see how you can use it for your specific business, email me at mayurgudka@gmail.com. I’d love to show you.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

Customer complaints are gifts. Treasure them.

If you have a business, chances are you will have some customer complaints. No business can escape that. The difference between a great business and okay business is what do you once a customer complains?

Survey shows only a very small percentage of unhappy customers complaint.

The rest make a silent vow of never to spend their money on your business.

Isn’t that terrible? Don’t you wish more of your customers complained? It obviously gives you an opportunity to improve and win back their trust.

The worst is a silent unhappy customers. The one who won’t complain, just go about their way. In their mind, they’re not being rude to you by complaining. But, if they don’t complain, how can you win them back?

But, there just might be a way to get your customers to complain.

How to Get More Customer Complaints?

Follow-up after the transaction asking for feedback.

One way to get feedback is to ask them to score you on different areas of transaction.

Some ideas for businesses with physical locations.

  • Wait time before a salesperson approached them
  • Knowledgeability and usefulness of the salesperson
  • Product Selection
  • Checkout line
  • Checkout process

Some ideas for online businesses

  • Product selection
  • Ease of finding the product
  • Online Assistance Tool
  • Checkout process

Avoid asking questions such as “How did you find our website?” You can find this out for yourself by installing an analytic software on your website.

Focus on questions a software cannot answer on behalf of a customer.

Simply the scoring system too. When companies ask to score them on scale of one to 10, no one will ever give you a 6.75. It aggravates me when companies do that. Instead make the scoring system simple – just 1, 2 or 3.

  • One stands for “Just plain bad. Can’t go anymore downhill”
  • Two stands for “Could’ve been better”
  • Three stands for “Oh, dear god. I love it”

Some final things to consider and remember when asking for feedback.

  • Ask no more than one open ended question. Preferably, “what is one biggest change you would like to see implemented before your next visit?”
  • The customer is a busy person and be considerate of it. Keep the number of questions under 5. A lengthy survey automatically triggers a “No, thank you.” response in me.
  • Keep your scoring system simple.

Next time a customer complaints, be happy. Thank them. Ask them how you can improve. Make the change and notify them. Invite them again.

You will almost always turn a unhappy customer into a raving fan.

Now, don’t you just wish ALL of your unhappy customers complained?

I do.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

Create Job Fair Excitement through Social Media: 10-Step Process

According to the recruiter at my company, having a booth at a Job Fair costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. If I were to spend this kind of money, I would do anything to make sure it was well worth my investment. Wouldn’t you?

I’m a inherently a problem solver. And it bothers me when people squander valuable and easy opportunities to make a difference. I see so many HR professionals spending valuable company resources on attending job fairs only to come back with a bunch of resumes and no real relationships with the candidates. That’s depressing, at least to me.

That can change. Using my 10-step process, you can not only double the amount of resumes, but the candidates you meet will be looking forward to apply at your company and build a genuine working relationship with you.

It’s all about value.
Want to attract great candidates?
Provide great value.

The 10-step process generates interest and gains a following before, during and after a job fair. Steps 1-6 should happen before a job fair. Steps 7-9 should happen during the job fair. And, step 10 should happen after the job fair.

Before the Job Fair

Generate Curiosity

You can send a tweet to your current Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followers saying something like this, “We are planning something large in the near future. Wish I could tell you more about it. Have to wait until all is finalized.” You definitely want to send this first tweet once you are finalized about the job fair. Why? Your followers are now eagerly waiting to find out what the big surprise is. If the job fair doesn’t pan out, then you will not only be disappointing them but probably also lose some following.

Build Excitement

The tweet should say something like this, “FINALLY! So excite to let you know that we are going to have a JOB FAIR. Will follow-up soon with more details.” The job seekers following you will now start gearing up.

Subscribe for First Dibs

Send an email to your entire contact list stating, “Follow us on Twitter & LinkedIn to be the first one to know when and where the job fair is.” This way, some of the people who are on your contact list but are not following you on Social Media could start following your on Social Media channels.

Venue & Time Information

Send a Tweet stating the Job Fair’s location, date and time information.

How to get the most out of it?

You want to let your job seekers know that you care about them. You don’t want to waste their time finding your booth. So, in this tweet, let them know where exactly your booth will be located and when they come there expect to meet Mr. or Ms. XYZ. An awesome idea here would be to include a link to “How to make the most out of any Job Fair?” document. It can be anywhere from 1-few pages. This also makes you stand out from other companies that will be at the job fair.

Reminder Information

Send out a Tweet one day before the fair reminding your followers that the Job Fair is right around the corner and you cannot wait to see and meet them.

During the Job Fair

Job Fair Begins!

Send out a tweet announcing the start of the Job Fair. Ask people to stop by.

Share your Excitement

Have your company reps send out tweets from the job fair about the excitement and important happenings. This  builds positive energy among your followers and also reminds anyone about your existence at the job fair, in case they missed out on your booth.

After the Job Fair

Thank You!

At the end of the Job Fair day, send out a tweet thanking the participants for making it successful and stating that the job fair was incredible.

Where to get follow-up information

On the following day, send out messages on your social media accounts telling job fair candidates about where to find follow-up information on the resume they handed out at the job fair.

It is also helpful to send information about your company reps that will be present at the fair. This information can either include their bio if it is on your website or names and titles at the minimum. This helps personalize your company. When the candidate comes to your booth, they know to expect Mr. / Ms. XYZ as opposed to some Random Rep at other booths.

Bonus Step

Extract the e-mails of candidates who provided you with a resume and build a list.

Upload the list to your email marketing database and send out an email to them specifically with the follow-up information.

A personalized service like that can go a long way. It shows the candidates that the company truly cares about them.

One last idea – Stand out from competitors

Give a one-page document to everyone that stops. The document should contain:

  • Information about the company
  • A link on how to submit a job application
  • Who to follow-up with after the application is submitted
  • Links to company’s social media handles

It’d be a good idea to have this document be on a bright-colored paper. It separates from all the white-colored paper they will have.

Make sure the social media handles are spelled out.

Consider adding QR codes if you like.

While most companies will be handing out mugs and mouse pads, your paper will actually provide follow-up information.

It will make you stand out among the crowd.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

Is your website mobile-friendly?

In April of 2015, Google released a new update where they would give preference to mobile-friendly websites in their search engine results.

So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you must have noticed a drop in traffic and customers in the last two years.

Not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly? Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you do is enter your website URL and it tells you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not.

In addition to Google favoring them, there are many other benefits to a mobile-friendly websites.

Majority of your website traffic comes from mobile devices. Hence, if your website is not optimized to be properly displayed on mobile devices, you will lose traffic quickly.

Mobile friendly websites load very fast. This is clearly important in our growing impatient world. If a website does not load within 3 seconds (which most non-mobile-friendly website do not), people move on to something else.

Social media shares are huge on mobile. Since people are already logged into their social media accounts on their mobile devices, sharing becomes much more easier.

Lastly, having a good mobile website makes you memorable. In today’s world, where many websites are still old-school, a mobile-friendly website will help you stand among your competition.

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

Sales: The only thing new entrepreneurs should focus on

Starting your first business? It’s so exciting.

You probably have a large to-d0 list.

May I make a suggestion? Rip that list and throw it down the drain.

There are only two things you need right now.

  1. A starter website that provides information about what your company does
  2. A sales process

You take care of the website. I’ve drafted a basic sales process for you here:

It’s a simple four step process.

  1. Identify and build a list of potential prospects
  2. Call or e mail and setup meetings with them
  3. Present your product or service
  4. Follow up for a yes or no decision

So, what is the best approach to execute each of these steps? I don’t know the answer for you.

There are myriad of ways you can accomplish each of these steps. Use the “trial and error” method to figure out what works best for you. There are books available on each of these steps with countless methods within.

The bottom line is – As a new entrepreneur, you should be focusing all your energies on selling your products or services. Nothing else.

This does one simple thing. It generates cash.

A very important thing to have when you are starting a new business.

One final tip.

Make your list of prospects as large as possible. It breeds confidence and it will show through in your sales presentations.

Good luck!

Did you find strong value in this post?

Twice a month, I privately share Entrepreneurship related “Super Content” (a mix of incredible ideas, tools and strategies) with a select group of people in my Entrepreneur’s Paradise.

Want to become a part of my Entrepreneur’s Paradise? Click here for more details. The content I share is addictive, inspiring and transformational. You don’t want to miss it.

Trust me, it’s that good. Get hooked, now!

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