Archive for January, 2013

Conferences and Trade Show Marketing

Posted: January 27, 2013 by Bill Cunningham in Marketing, Social Media, Startup

CarolynPioneMicheliBill Cunningham BioConferences and trade shows bring thousands of like-minded people together and make it easy for companies to build awareness, acquire new leads and sell products. Right?

Not so much anymore. Conferences and trade shows have become less attractive because the decision makers may not attend, the cost of travel, booths and admission fees steadily increase, while budgets are decreasing disproportionately.

When you gotta go, then you gotta go. Here’s some thoughts to take with you.

Go Big or Go Rogue

If you can’t afford a prime spot, and a killer booth, think of other ways to attract customers. In one of my startups, we couldn’t get into a conference, so we rented a restaurant down the street, hired limos, and gave out free backstage passes to participants at the show (we had a mole deliver them inside the conference.) We were able to attract 60 of the 300 attendees to the conference and have them all to ourselves. The total cost was much less than having a booth and standing around for 2 days hoping someone will talk to you.


Going to Market

Posted: January 20, 2013 by Eileen Weisenbach Keller in People, Startup

KellerConversations in this column and in many places where entrepreneurship discussions occur often revolve around how the entrepreneur can bring his or her great idea to market, get financing and build it into a raging success. One skill touted as essential to this process is networking. Networking is the ability to make and build connections among people (and this next part is critical) who can help you build the necessary components of your business enterprise. Having an active, integrated circuit of acquaintances who support one another through knowledge, contacts and a willingness to share expertise is considered essential to entrepreneurial success.

While networking is vital, it rests on the assumption that you have the “big idea” and are at the next step of finding those who can assist you in turning it into a concept and from there into a viable business. There are, however, people who don’t have a big idea, but do have a persistent, perhaps even nagging, desire to become an entrepreneur; to make a difference, to change things, to compete in the marketplace and win. Perhaps you are an individual who has never quite found your niche in the world of employment; holding jobs but not finding fulfillment because of that incessant urge to start something from scratch. Alternatively, you may have been successfully employed for a long time but climbing that ladder and the trappings of success that come with it has not put to rest that itch to go and try something on your own. Maybe you have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but that’s your only real passion. You’re not like those other folks who are fanatical about some one “thing” and can’t sleep until they bring “it” to market. You don’t possess a love of fashion, or science or electronics that drives you.  You’re not fulfilled by what you are doing, but need help finding the “thing” that you can do better than everyone else that will lead you to taking the risk.


The End or the Beginning?

Posted: January 13, 2013 by Chuck Matthews in Leadership, People

Dr. Charles Matthews bio“I have learned the value of hard work by working hard.Margaret Mead

Co-nun-drum /kəˈnəndrəm/, noun, 1. A confusing and difficult problem or question.

Life, and by extension, the businesses we own, operate and run, are populated with conundrums.  The Danish philosopher Sören Kirkegaard, captured one of my favorite conundrums: While we understand life backwards, we must live our lives forward. The New Year provides the perfect time to reflect on three questions that guide us in our ongoing entrepreneurial journeys: where have we been, where are we, and where do we want to go?

The essentials of strategic planning are rooted in these three deceptively simple questions.  Just as the end of one year forces us to think about the road ahead, these three questions must be asked and answered over and over again.  The New Year is heralded as the time to make and hopefully keep resolutions that propel us on the path of a more successful year.  Interestingly, those resolutions are often born in what we have, or have not, done the past year.


Your Early Adopters Don’t Matter

Posted: January 6, 2013 by Micah Baldwin in Innovation, Startup, Technology

Micah BaldwinIn Colorado, every year Liberty Media has a day-long program where prominent startup people get together to hear interesting talks from interesting people and eat a solid lunch.

One year, a super smart dude, whose name i have forgotten, talked about product design.

In the world of the internet, he said (I’m like 95% sure it was a dude), we have a culture of catering to our early adopters, and its one of the worst mistakes we make.

He went on to tell the story of the Toyota Prius. The darling of the tech set, early adopters demanded that the central interface gave data on things like energy to individual wheels, battery usage, etc.

As Toyota implemented these features, early adopters rejoiced.

But, the funny is, there are only so many early adopters. As time passed, the primary purchaser of the Toyota Prius was the soccer mom, and when asked, the soccer moms said, “Just give me a tree that has leaves that grow so that I can see the positive effect I am having on the environment by driving a Prius.”