When it comes down to it, the basic mechanics of building a business are pretty simple. Offer a product or service that your customers either need or want, at a price they’re willing to pay (and that leaves you with sufficient profit margins). Use marketing best practices to put your offering in front of your customers and then fulfill orders according to the terms you and your customers agreed upon. Lather, rinse and repeat.
So why is it that some businesses take off while others languish – even if they’re selling similar products to comparable audiences? The answer is branding. Continue reading
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean that the words found on your website aren’t powerful as well!
To see just how important they are, consider a research study from Carnegie Mellon, which found that changing the phrase “a $5 fee” to “a small $5 fee” on a sample free DVD trial program website increased sign-up rates by more than 20%. That’s pretty powerful stuff for such a small change!
If you aren’t a great writer, don’t worry. The science of copywriting has been studied for so long that many of its most popular tips can be applied even if you don’t quite understand why they work. Give any of the following recommendations a try if you want to make a measurable difference in your website’s conversion rates: Continue reading
I thought I was tough… I’m a fit guy who’s able to run 10-15 miles at a time and knock out 2,000 pushups in a day. But recently, I had the privilege to train with the Navy SEALs for a day and in just an hour’s workout, I got my butt whooped. Despite my sore muscles (and bruised pride), the experience taught me more about myself, my limits and my approach to business – not to mention how intense the SEALs are! Continue reading
Last year was something of a mixed blessing for growing tech companies. While some young startups achieved multi-billion dollar valuations (for example, Snapchat and Uber), others struggled when it came to obtaining the funding needed to power growth (as evidenced by both Fab and Rdio’s staff layoffs).
Will 2014 be any different? It’s tough to say. The success of the recent Twitter IPO seems to have increased investor interest in social and tech IPOs, which could lead to more money rolling in to promising startups. Given how fickle the tech investing world can be, it’s difficult to determine exactly where this interest will lead. But based on current trends, I’ll be keeping an eye on all of the following startups: Continue reading
A few months ago, I woke up on a Saturday morning and found myself staring down a mountain full of work. Sure, my inbox was empty, but I’d gotten so busy that I could no longer finish my work between the usual 9:00am to 6:00pm window I gave myself. I had just wrapped up a 60+ hour work week and felt like I hadn’t finished anything – even though I was working weeknights and weekends just to try to keep up.
For all of the changes I’ve made to make my days as productive as possible, I had to own up to the fact that my life was spinning out of control. With the example of Buffer’s CEO Joel Gascoigne – who periodically fires himself from his company – in mind, I finally got up the courage to ask myself the tough questions I’d been avoiding for months. What am I doing with my life, and – more importantly – why am I doing it? If things are obviously this broken, how do I go about fixing them? Continue reading
Content truly is king these days. If you aren’t actively putting out blog posts, videos, interviews and other content pieces that build your brand and establish your authority, there’s a good chance you’re falling behind to a competitor who’s taking advantage of these powerful tools.
But that said, becoming a round-the-clock content creation machine isn’t easy. Finding inspiration for all the different content pieces you should be producing can be challenging, which is why I’ve put together the following list of unexpected sources of content inspiration. Stop back and read through the list whenever you need help! Continue reading
So you think you’ve come up with the next great idea? Well, I hate to be harsh, but… so what??
The sad reality of the business world is that great ideas are a dime a dozen. What separates the great entrepreneurs from their would-be competitors is whether or not they’re actually able to successfully execute their visions!
I’ve been through the ideation and company creation process a number of times, and I’ve come up with the following system for getting started on great ideas. Depending on the specifics of your unique idea, you may not need all of the steps below or you might wind up tackling some of them in a different order. But whatever the case may be, I hope you find this process helpful when it comes to launching your next venture! Continue reading
While I’m happy that Single Grain is now in a financial position to support two individual offices – both filled with full-time employees and the latest tech gadgets – I can easily remember back to the days when we were a bootstrapping startup like so many other companies out there today.
If you’re in startup mode yourself and haven’t yet received the million-dollar financing rounds you hoped for, you’re going to encounter plenty of temptations to spend money you don’t have. If you want to keep yourself going and make it past that critical first-year hump, I’d highly recommend avoiding the following ten expenses until you’re on more stable financial ground. Continue reading
I’m a big fan of motivational videos (which you probably already know if you read my post on my productive morning routine). Because of this, I’m hugely grateful to the TED Talks organization for putting out so much great material that inspires me and keeps me going on my toughest days.
If you’re new to TED Talks, finding great videos amongst the thousands that are out there can be challenging. That’s why I’ve put together the following list of my favorite 23 “must see” videos (note – I’ve added the run time beneath each video so that you can pick one to watch based on the amount of time you have available). Bookmark this page and then come back whenever you’re in the need for a little motivation! Continue reading