Thought For The Day

“It is the little causes, long continued, which are considered as bringing about the greatest changes of the earth.”
James Hutton



Entrepreneurial Takeaways from Shark Tank (Part 1 of 2)

If you’ve ever watched the hit show Shark Tank, you know that the waters can be choppy for entrepreneurs.  However, there are some lessons to be learned for those who own their own businesses.  In our 2-part series, we’ll identify some of the key takeaways from the show:

Know Your Customer Acquisition Costs.  Hardly an episode goes by where someone isn’t asked about their customer acquisition costs.  Even if you don’t plan on appearing on Shark Tank, this is important information for an entrepreneur to know so he can best determine how effectively he is spending his marketing dollars.  A simple formula for calculating your customer acquisition cost can be found here.

Value Your Company Appropriately.  If you’ve watched the tank enough times, you know that almost always, entrepreneurs are accused of inflating the value of their companies.  While you don’t want to sell your business short, you do want to be realistic about your sales projections and use these to determine a more accurate valuation of your company.

Be Decisive.  You do yourself no favors by waffling about important business decisions.  While you don’t want to be hasty and make a decision before you have all of the facts, you don’t want to hem and haw.  Many a Shark Tank contestant has walked away empty-handed due to indecision.

Make It Worth Someone’s While.  Have you ever sat through a stalled negotiation?  If so, then you know that it’s important for both parties to feel that they’re getting something of value.  Keep this in mind the next time you need to negotiate.  Oftentimes, deals are rejected on Shark Tank because the entrepreneurs aren’t willing to give up more than a nominal portion of equity, and the sharks deem the deal as “not worth the time and risk.”  While you don’t want to give away the farm, you do want to consider negotiations from the other side of the table.

In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss some of the other useful lessons to be gleaned from Shark Tank.  Stay tuned!

Maximize Your Trade Show Success

For any business owner, trade shows can be an excellent avenue for promotion.  They represent the chance to introduce your product to the masses, make valuable contacts, and walk away with purchase orders.  But, to take advantage of the opportunity, it helps to be prepared.  Below we offer up tips for your next trade show:

Prepare in Advance.  The more organized you are, the better the experience you’ll have.  Before you go, carefully read the tradeshow handbook, create your product brochures and visuals, train your staff, and research the event to determine the key industry players who will be there. 

Use Social Media.  “Keeping your customers informed about your company’s activities before, during and after the trade show is crucial,” says D.J. Heckes, CEO of trade show management company Exhib-it.[1]  With this in mind, it’s a good idea to send out a press release about your trade show presence, tweet incentives about why attendees should visit your booth, or update Facebook with videos or pictures from the event.

Have your Sales Pitch Ready.  You’re going to need to have an effective sales pitch that covers who you are, how long you’ve been in business, and what differentiates your brand from other products out there.  This pitch should be practiced often so that when you arrive at the trade show, you can deliver it confidently and naturally.

Follow-Up.  This is probably one of the most important trade show activities that you can engage in.  Rather than let your new contacts’ business cards languish away in your wallet, use them!  Formulate a clear reason to call or email so as to avoid wasting anyone’s time.  Do this within 2 weeks after you return from the trade show so the prospect isn’t searching his memory bank to recall who you are and what your product is. 

By following these tips, you’ll maximize your trade show success, walking away with some great contacts and new business!

How to Achieve Your Long-Term Goals (Part 1 of 2)

Have you ever thought about where you’d like to be in 5 years?  10 years?  Setting long-term goals to make that vision a reality can be extremely beneficial.  However, a lot of people get bogged down by their day-to-day lives and fail to develop a strategy to reach their objectives.  And unfortunately, many of the things that are worth having require sustained effort, focus, and dedication over time.

Consider the lives of professional athletes—they didn’t just rise to success overnight.  Instead, they set long-term goals and had to work toward them regularly to stand a shot at going pro.  Naturally, this meant hours of daily practice, turning down social events, eating healthy, and engaging in a lot of mundane activities to strengthen their skills (drills, for example).  And all of these activities were undertaken with no guarantee of professional success.  However, they had a long-term vision and displayed commitment and focus toward turning it into a reality.

This type of dedication is no less important for business professionals.  Whether you want to own your own company or be the next CTO at your current organization, commitment is required.  In this 2-part series, we’ll advise you on how you can accomplish your long-term goals:

Determine Your Goals.  First, it’s important to identify what your goals are.  Start thinking about where you want to be personally and professionally in the next 5-10 years.  You might want to set goals for the following areas of your life:  career, relationships, health, hobbies, personal development, spiritual, and finances.

Write Them Down. Once you’ve developed your goals, write them down.  Then, we recommend reading them on a daily basis so you’re frequently reminded of what you’re trying to achieve over the long-term.

So far, we’ve discussed long-term goal setting and why it is so important.  In our next blog post of this series, we’ll talk about how you can practice self-regulation to make these goals a reality!

Increase Your Brand Exposure. Top SEO Strategies for 2015 (Part 1 of 2)

Everyone knows how difficult it can be for brands to make it to the first page of Google’s search rankings.  However, you can increase your odds by paying close attention to your SEO strategy.  In 2015, here are the SEO strategies that are going to be most useful for achieving greater brand awareness:

  • Use Mobile Optimization.

With more than half of Web visitors using mobile phones to access web sites, mobile optimization is more important than ever.  Search Engine Land suggests that creation of a mobile site “should be at the core of any solid SEO plan in 2015.”  Consider using a responsive design that loads quickly—slow page load times (longer than 1 second) can negatively impact rankings.[1]

  • Create Press Releases.

As always, link building is still important in SEO.  One recommended strategy to create more buzz for your company is to write press releases.  Create content that will be appealing to journalists about new products, the interesting origins of your company, etc.  Then, send your press releases to local newspapers, industry publications, and business reporters.  This can help your company garner more brand mentions and increase the links to your site.

  • Don’t Ignore Social Media.

The number of followers that you have on social media will influence your SEO rankings.  To obtain more followers, create or curate useful content, engage with consumers, and practice consistency.  By consistency, we suggest that you devote time and energy to the process on a regular basis and plan to do it long-term.  All too often, businesses put forth effort for 2 months and then conclude that attracting new followers is too time-consuming.

Visit us again for part 2 of this series where we’ll have more suggestions on how you can improve your SEO strategy in 2015.