Hunting in the Sales Jungle

If you are running a startup business, then it is likely that you don’t have a lot of money or a lot of time to waste on unnecessary marketing and sales efforts. It’s like being deep in the jungle when you are tired, hungry and only have 1 arrow left. You must select your target very, very carefully before you take your only shot.

I still have a house phone that hangs on the wall (remember those?). No one ever calls on it except for Grandpa (on occasion) and telephone salespeople. I have never purchased anything from a phone salesman, nor consented to any free offer or survey, and yet they still keep calling in the hopes that I may change my personality someday. Most often they are trying to sell things that I never, ever would want to buy anyways. In marketing, this is the opposite of the hungry jungle hunter with only one arrow. These phone salespeople will shoot at anything that moves (or answers the phone).

A key to marketing success
A key to rapid success for any business (whether startup or established) is to carefully choose a highly targeted, well defined, easily located, narrow niche market and to focus all marketing and sales efforts there. This can be the difference between survival and failure, and yet you would be surprised how many entrepreneurs fail to do so. Too many entrepreneurs are opportunistic, not strategic and it costs them dearly. The smaller your market, the better you will understand the needs and challenges of your customers. The better you understand your customers, the easier it is to develop features and benefits that address their specific needs. This will make the sales process faster, painless, easier and a lot more fun. Selling to highly qualified customers is easy because you have selected them based on their needs and you know how to talk with them in a manner that resonates with them.

Only Qualified Leads
I sell a coaching & mentoring program to entrepreneurs who want to learn to master the art of entrepreneurship and to become successful lifelong serial entrepreneurs. While I meet hundreds of entrepreneurs each year, only a few are truly interested in this type of learning and self-development. I would be foolish to waste a lot of my time & efforts in trying to pitch my program to entrepreneurs who are not interested.  Therefore I have designed a number of tools that allow the interested ones to come forward and identify themselves. This blog is one of those tools.

A free offer
If you talk to my clients you will hear that this program really works well. If you are not sure, then join me on a free interactive webinar on April 28th at 16:00 CET. During this online meeting I will show you some of the common mistakes and some of the easy ways that you can increase your number of qualified leads. Follow even one of these tips and you will have more clients that come to you and ask for your services. After the webinar, if you tell me that you are really interested in learning more, then we will talk. But only after you have identified yourself and your interest. If I only have one arrow, then I want to take careful aim before I waste your time and mine.

Join us on this next webinar (April 27th) and you will discover:

  • How to define a razor-sharp target market plan that will accelerate your business
  • My top 5 recommendations for re-defining your business to make better use of limited time and resources
  • How to use Guerrilla Marketing tactics to differentiate you from your competitors
  • The 5 most common marketing mistakes that entrepreneurs make
  • How to become less reliant on leading-edge technology and to build long-term value for your business
  • PLUS, a fatal mindset challenge that could be sabotaging your marketing efforts without you really realizing it!

Sign-up for the free series of webinars. Here are some of the topics we will discuss in future webinars.

  • APRIL 28, 2011 – Targeted marketing and niche strategies
  • MAY 26 – Secrets to raising capital for early-stage entrepreneurs
  • JUNE 30 – Sales acceleration tools and best practices
  • JULY 28 – Power networking skills that will let you connect with anyone fast
  • AUGUST 25 – Building lists of potential customers, your biggest asset
  • SEPTEMBER 29 – Closing sales faster and overcoming objections easily
  • OCTOBER 27 – Establishing rapport with investors and customers quickly
  • NOVEMBER 24 – Becoming a recognized thought leader in your industry
  • DECEMBER 29 – Guerrilla Marketing tricks and techniques
  • JANUARY 26, 2012 – Powerful Communication skills
  • FEBRUARY 23 – Story telling examples and methods
  • MARCH 29 – Pitching to investors in a way that will get results

THERE WILL BE A NEW WEBINAR ON THE LAST THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Image: Thinkers Of The Jungle, by Gerd Schuster, Willie Smits and Jay Ullal, published by Ullmann Publishing,

 

 

VCs are from Mars, Entrepreneurs are from Venus

John Gray’s book Men are from Mars has the subtitle ”The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex”.  To some entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists might as well be the opposite sex. Many entrepreneurs don’t really understand them very well. In a good blog post by ex-VC and VentureBeat writer Tom Tzach, he offers 4 good tips to entrepreneurs. Here are my comments to his tips:

1. It’s a numbers game. Expect casualties.
Tzach reminds us that VCs get a huge number of requests for their time and money. If you are an entrepreneur seeking capital (especially if this is your first time), then you will have to play the numbers. You might need to pitch to 50 in order to find 3 who are truly interested. You might need 9 who are truly interested before you find one who will give you the funds.  Just like sales, it is a pure numbers game and the odds are not great, especially in today’s market where many investors are (un-admitably) scared.

I was at a venture meeting in Lisbon a few weeks ago and talked to one of the really classy European VCs (Diana Saraceni from 360 Capital Partners in Milan). She said that even though they have only 4 partners at her firm, they received 1202 business plans last year. They held 354 meetings with entrepreneurs and closed 6 new deals. If you are one of the 1202 then be prepared for a rejection. It is not personal. It only means that there are other (better?) deals out there ahead of you in the queue.

Tzach writes that in the US less than 2% of entrepreneurs pitching get funding, and that the average time for the process takes from 9 to 12 months. Don’t be discouraged, just plan to work hard.

2. Develop a VC pitching strategy
You will certainly need a strategy or else you will just end up shooting at any animal in the jungle that moves. Tzach recommends that you develop key parameters (like history, relevance of their portfolio, location, etc.) and then divide the prospective VCs into ranked groups. Start with those that are least likely to invest so that you get some practice before you tackle the big boys. Plus, if you screw it up in the first meetings, it won’t kill you. I think you will experience that pitching is a huge (and fun) learning experience.

3. You need to play your cards right
I have always been a lousy card player because I tend to play out my cards without a longer-term game plan (OK, I have other redeeming skills). Tzach reminds entrepreneurs that the VC community is small and that VCs like to talk together a lot. Expect this, but be selective in how you handle and manage your communication. Negotiating with 2 different VCs at the same time is not an ideal situation. Try to work out your deal with one and then shop the same deal to others if you need to fill the offering. Remember that while term sheets are confidential, they will be around long after you are gone. Treat them with extreme professionalism and care. I have a consultant (who I pay with options or shares) who always helps me with term sheets. He has saved me huge amounts of money and some rather embarrassing mistakes.

4. Don’t seek funding under pressure
The best time to visit a banker is when you are not in need of a loan. The best time to start your fundraising work is long before you actually need the capital. Fundraising will take a long time. It is like selecting a wife – you should use a lot of time to get to know each other before you tie the knot. VCs are smart and they will sense it if you are under pressure, plus when you show them your cash-flow budgets and financial statements, they will quickly figure out your predicament. Plan ahead.

Just as 50% of all marriages end on the rocks, only about 10% of all VC investments actually pay respectable returns. Realize that this is the reality and plan your strategy accordingly. Good VCs can be fantastic partners who can help you (not only with capital, but also with lots of assistance) to grow your business much faster than on your own… But you have to play by their rules in order to get them on your team.

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time?
Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com. Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

 

Inspiration – What is your calling?

I believe that we all have something special to offer this world. No matter who you are… No matter what skills you possess or don’t possess, you have something special to contribute. Scientists have not yet succeeded with cloning a person. Each one of us really is unique. Totally unique. No two are alike, and therefore we each have something unique to offer this world.

What is it that really motivates you? What is it in your life that gives you energy and inspiration? What gets you up early in the morning or keeps you awake sleepless all night? Finding true inspiration is crucial for an entrepreneur. If you are not inspired by your work, then it will be a constant struggle. If you are truly inspired, then it will be a breeze.

So how does your business and your work inspire you? If it does not, then what would it take to change this? There is a huge amount of energy available to you if you can tap into inspiration. Money and fame will only motivate you so far. Finding a bigger agenda and aligning your life values with your startup business are keys to accelerated and sustained success.

Do you agree with this? Then hire yourself a coach to challenge you for 3 months. See what kind of huge changes you are capable of.  I have seen some pretty amazing and inspiring things the last years of coaching entrepreneur­­s. How about you?

INSPIRATION
When you are inspired by some great
purpose, some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds;
Your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every
direction, and you find yourself in a new,
great and wonderful world.

Dormant forces, faculties and talents
become alive, and you discover yourself
to be a greater person by far than you
ever dreamed yourself to be. 
– Patanjali (1st century BC)

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Why are you an Entrepreneur – really?

What motives you as an entrepreneur? What is the real reason that you are willing to work long hours 7 days a week with low pay, few colleagues, no flashy benefits, no fancy office, no job security, and the constant risk of failure staring you right in the eyes? Are you crazy, reckless or just stupid?

These are questions that I ask myself often, and yet I have no intention of quitting being an entrepreneur. It is what I am. It is what I do. It is the skillset that I have learned, developed and have made into a lifelong career.

Watch the fantastic video below from Daniel Pink’s book entitled DRIVE. Ask yourself why you are an entrepreneur and what it is that really will motivate you and your colleagues to succeed.

YouTube Preview Image

Whether you are working alone in a startup or building a dynamic team, finding the right factors for motivation is critical. Aligning values and creating empowering assignments will unlock peak performance in yourself and in your colleagues.


Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Fall in Love with your Market, not with your Technology

Why do so many early-stage technology companies struggle? One reason is that they fall in love with their technology. Many entrepreneurs are great engineers or scientists. They create all sorts of inventions and smart new technologies. They write algorithms, file patents and then they march out to search for markets, calling ”Is there anyone out there who could use my new technology?”

Pushing technology is like pushing on a rope.

When I graduated from University I had two buddies. The first one loved IT technology. He always had the latest PC/phone/PDA/gadgets. He chose a career in the IT industry and was constantly searching for that next razor-edge, earth-shaking, game-changing technology wave.  The second buddy chose to sell coffee machines. We smirked at this. He said that in most large office buildings (at that time – early 1990s) they drank really bad coffee. He was right and he decided to change this. He focused on the problems of a specific market. He licensed and sold whatever technology was best. He made a fortune selling these coffee machines. We others are still searching for new technology, much like Don Quixote out looking for dragons to fight.

I do corporate turnarounds for early-stage companies that are struggling. I have lots of tricks, but the one that works most often is to get them to let go of the technology obsession and to tune their ears and eyes on the needs of a unique market.

It is really simple and easy.

Don’t fall in love with your technology. Fall in love with your market. Your market will last for many years. Technologies just come and go.

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Being an Entrepreneur – Curse or Blessing?

Image from www.entrepreneurialdaddy.com

I have been away from my writing for quite some time. I have struggled to find the time. I have struggled to find the words. I have struggled to find the inspiration because I am in the middle of starting a new business and it is tough. Really tough.

There are a thousand things that I need to be doing at all times for this startup business. There are people I should be calling. There are plans I should be writing. There is social media buzz that I should be creating. There are investors that I should be cultivating. There is a huge uncertainty hanging over me and also there is a real shortage of cash. This lack of cash is the curse and the constant companion of all early-stage entrepreneurs.

Because I am an entrepreneur, I have my freedom. Freedom to choose and freedom to act. Because I am an entrepreneur I have the ability to create and to manifest from my efforts. I can take full responsibility for my situation without anyone else to blame. This provides a fantastic platform for personal development and constant growth and improvement. There is even the potential for big economic rewards if I am successful in creating value.

Tempting are the thoughts of getting a real job, having a steady income and a regular paycheck. Tempting is the false illusion that this would give me safety and satisfaction. After all, I am an entrepreneur. I would feel tethered and bound if I were stuck in someone else’s corporate vision. I have to create and live my own vision. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes a curse, but mostly it is a great blessing.

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

How Can Entrepreneurs Keep Faith?

Something that all entrepreneurs will face sooner or later are setbacks, delays and rejection.  It goes with the territory, yet one of the hardest things is keeping faith and energy in your project, regardless what comes your way.

How do others do it? How do they keep their belief in spite of resistance?

faith |fāth|  noun
1.  a complete trust or confidence in someone or something : based on belief rather than proof

I have been working on raising capital for a new business for the past few months. We have written a solid business plan. We have a strong team. We have developed a product with potential. We have customers who are willing to use their time and efforts to help us get to market. We have bootstrapped the company as far as we can without external financing, and yet raising the startup capital is taking longer and proving to be harder than expected.

What should we do in order to keep the faith? How can I keep my team focused and moving ahead at a brisk pace when the funding process is slowing us down and stealing lots of our energy?

I asked a friend who is an experienced entrepreneur. He said “Trust your gut feeling and act… Just keep taking massive action.” I think this is good advice that I intend to follow, but it still did not address the core issue of how to stay motivated.

So I called another friend who is a coach. Of course, he replied with some questions. He asked me the following:

  • Why did you begin with this startup business in the first place?”
  • “What do you want to get out of it in the long-term?”
  • Why is this business so important to you?”
“He who has a why can endure any how.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher
“Give me a big enough WHY and I will always be able to figure out the HOW”
–from the book Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

It was then that I realized the answer to my question.

In order to keep myself and the team highly motivated, we must keep our focus on our PURPOSE. We intend to build a strong business. We have created a product that solves a real and relevant problem in the marketplace. When we get it to market, hundreds of millions of children and senior citizens will benefit. This is our purpose and the reason that we created this business. Connecting to this purpose is what gives us energy and the belief that is necessary in order to overcome setbacks, delays and resistance.

My job as an entrepreneur and my job as a leader is to keep this Purpose visible and clear in our daily discussions and in our meetings.


Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Why Do Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs?

I spend a lot of time being curious about what makes some people great entrepreneurs. I recently found an article in BusinessWeek that discusses the fact that an abnormally high percentage of entrepreneurs are dyslexics. They raised the question – Does the struggle that is required to overcome dyslexia prepare dyslexics to become great entrepreneurs? And if so, what are these traits?

According to BusinessWeek, the ability to grasp the big picture, persistence, and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics.

In a study that was published in 2008, Julie Logan, professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London found that 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. show signs of dyslexia.

“The broader implication” says Logan, “is that many of the coping skills dyslexics learn in their formative years become best practices for the successful entrepreneur. A child who chronically fails standardized tests must become comfortable with failure. Being a slow reader forces you to extract only vital information, so that you’re constantly getting right to the point. Dyslexics are also forced to trust and rely on others to get things done—an essential skill for anyone working to build a business.”

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

James LeVoy Sorenson, a highly successful entrepreneur in the medical field says that overcoming dyslexia trained him to be persistent and to solve problems in new ways. He says “I like to add one word to the end of many sentences: ‘yet.’ Instead of saying, ‘I can’t do it,’ I say, ‘I can’t do it—yet.'”

I am not a dyslexic, but I think this is a good lesson for all of us who want to be better entrepreneurs. – RICK

See: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/dec2007/db20071212_539295.htm

Top Dyslexic Entrepreneurs

Take a look at the following list of Entrepreneur Dyslexics and see if you recognize a few names…

  • Charles Schwab
  • Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple)
  • Paul Orfalea (Founder of Kinkos)
  • John Chambers (CEO Cisco)
  • Richard Branson
  • Henry Ford
  • Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of Ikea)
  • William Hewlett (Founder Hewlett Packard)
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Ted Turner (Turner Broadcast)
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Alan Meckler (CEO of Jupitermedia)
  • Walt Disney
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Thomas Edison
  • Anita Roddick (Founder of Body Shoppe)
  • Alexander Graham Bell

See: http://www.incomediary.com/top-30-dyslexic-entrepreneurs/

——————————————————-

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Kill the Cow

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein/1934917078/What will Norway live from when the North Sea oil wells run dry? I believe that some answers lie in empowering young entrepreneurs. The following cow story made me think about the fact that sometimes we get very creative when we are forced to do so. What are your cows?

Kill the Cow (by Conor Neill, www.conorneill.com)

A family lives in the outskirts of a remote village on a small plot of land.  The family owns one cow.  Each day they live from the milk of the cow.  If there is little milk, they eat little.  If there is lots of milk, they eat well.  The lives of the mother, the father, the children depend upon the cow.

One autumn day, a lone traveler stops in the village.  He is hungry.  The family share their milk.  The traveler is grateful. The traveler wishes to return the favour and help the family.  He doesn’t know how to help the family.  He hears that there is a wise man in the village.  He walks over to the home of the wise man.
“I was hungry and the family fed me.  I would like to help them.  How can I help this family?”
The wise man said “Kill the cow.”
“Kill it?  How can that help them?  They depend for their lives on that cow.”
The wise man repeated “Kill the cow.”
The traveler was nervous about following such strange advice,  but the reputation of the wise man was such that he went ahead and killed the cow.
A year later the traveler happened to pass again through the village.  He noticed new shops and a thriving market.  He saw a new hotel that provided beds and food to the travelers who came for the market.
The traveler entered the hotel.  Behind the bar he found the eldest son of the family of the cow.  The man was standing tall, smiling and happy.  The traveler greeted him and asked “What happened?”.
“We lost our cow.  There was no milk.  We had to go out and do something to eat.  We set up a small market, it grew.  We set up this hotel, it is growing.  Without the milk from our cow, we had to try new things.”
Silently to himself, the traveler reflected on the power of the wise man’s words.  “Kill the cow.”

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.” W. Somerset Maugham

What is your cow?

Conor Neill (author of The Rhetorical Journey – www.conorneill.com)


Today’s blog post was written by my friend Conor Neill, who is a professor of communication at IESE University in Barcelona.

Conor and I frequently collaborate on webinars for entrepreneurs. Watch the EVENTS page on this site for future events. I strongly encourage you to visit his blog site and to subscribe to his posts. – RICK

Entrepreneur Self Sabotage

We all have 2 different minds. One is logical, the other is emotional and they don’t always agree with each other. Sometimes they will do whatever they can to sabotage each other.

Consider the following entrepreneur story:
Gauri Nanda was a graduate student at MIT who got an $80K loan from her parents to start a business. Her first product is called CLOCKY. It is an alarm clock on wheels. You set the alarm to ring at 06:00 in the morning. When the time comes, the clock wheels itself off your bedside table and races around your bedroom making loud and annoying robot-like noises. You have to chase it down in order to shut it up. It is a great gimmick, Nanda has sold over 100 thousand clocks already and was featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine.

But why would 100,000 people want to chase a loud and annoying alarm clock around their bedrooms each morning?

Back to the two minds… One mind (the logical one) wants to get up at 06:00. The other mind (the emotional one) wants to stay in bed and sleep a few more lazy hours.

So Why do we fight with ourselves so often?

I coached an entrepreneur last week regarding his long-term goals. He was very clear on what he wanted to achieve long-term with his startup company but when we discussed what factors were keeping him from achieving success, the list was endless. The conclusion we reached was that he is not really sure if he is willing to do the work – to pay the high price that is needed to make his company a success. He keeps hoping he will find a short cut or an easy path to success, but in the meantime his company is moving very slowly. After lots of questioning, he sited several examples of situations where he had setup a specific goal and then sabotaged the result by either failing to follow-up or by prioritizing other tasks. His one mind wants success. His other mind wants an easy lifestyle.

Reaching this conclusion did not solve his problem, but it did shed a lot of light on it. He went away from the coaching session much more conscious of self-sabotage and with a new resolve to remove the excuses and to re-focus on accelerated success.

This is all about Values. People who are clear on their values don’t have the big internal conflicts. People who are not clear often end up sabotaging themselves. Working with a coach on clarifying your own values can be a fun and really interesting experience.

Are you ever of two minds? Do you ever sabotage yourself? If the answer is yes, then maybe you should contact me about a coaching trial and then put the Clocky on your Christmas wish list.

_________________________

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

www.Voiceable.ai – Your voice is your most powerful communication tool