A refrain I often hear from technology entrepreneurs to investors is that their product or solution is so innovative that it will cause a “paradigm shift” in the industry. Their assumption is that customers and investors will be wowed by this into buying, ignoring the evidence that large-scale change takes a long time, most often fails, and scares away customers and investors alike.
I’ve always wondered why an inordinate number of successful businesses today were started by people born outside the U.S., including Sergey Brin (Russia) at Google, Elon Musk (South Africa) at Tesla, John W. Nordstrom (Sweden), and Pierre Omidyar (France) at Ebay. It seems like these emigrants would be least likely to succeed, with all their extra challenges.
Marketing is everything these days. You can have the best technology, but if customers don’t know you exist, or they don’t know how your technology solves a real problem for them, your startup will fail. Yet I see many technology entrepreneurs that focus on the basics of marketing too little and too late.
It’s always been tough to start a new business, even when the bottom line was just making a profit to stay alive. A few years ago, a second focus of sustainability (“green”) was added as a requirement for respectability. Now I almost always hear a third mandate – social responsibility. Entrepreneurs are now measured against […]
Every entrepreneur and business person I know wishes he had more time for coaching all the members of his team. I often hear the excuse that coaching takes more time than simply diving in and doing the job for the other person, but is that really true?
One of the first harsh realities that every entrepreneur has to learn is that most of the things that are critical to startup success are outside of their direct control. Just because you dream it and build it, doesn’t mean they will come – that encompasses not only customers, but also investors, partners, team members, and even your own family. They won’t come if they don’t trust you.
Every startup lucky enough to get some traction gets to the point where they decide to hire some “regular employees” for sales, marketing, and administrative tasks. Then they are surprised to see productivity and creativity take a big dip. What they should be doing is hiring only “entrepreneurs,” meaning people who think and act as if this is their own business.
A common complaint I hear from my startup clients and many entrepreneurs is that rapid growth is more difficult than ever anticipated. The assumption usually is that more money is needed for marketing, or another round of new development is needed on the product.
It’s time for every business, not only startups, to take a fresh look at the basics of business success.
More and more customers these days are doing their own marketing research, scanning internet reviews and feedback from friends, rather than trusting messages that you push out through advertising. This is called inbound marketing, where customers are pulled to you, rather than feeling accosted at every turn by your brand messages via email, newspapers, and […]