It's not that they ignore competition, but they look at the topic in the wrong perspective. Competition is something your business must have, not something you don't want.
It's not that they ignore competition, but they look at the topic in the wrong perspective. Competition is something your business must have, not something you don't want.
Every business is looking for ways to create happier and more productive employees. However, with the economic recovery still slower than expected, many companies don’t have the budgets they once did for employee incentives. In fact, many businesses are simply trying to survive.
Still, with some creativity, you can come with several affordable ways to incent your employees and make them more loyal and more productive.
For six years, Team and a Dream has been honored to work with entrepreneurs who started companies like Crederity, Yodle (when it was still Natpal.com), Teleosis Insitute, Healthy Humans and Herb Magee. During that time, we completed hundreds of projects like market assessments, competitive intelligence, web strategy, web-based marketing, buzz-building, social media and more.
Today's economic environment is a crushing challenge for small businesses. They are aggressively seeking ways to grow their footprint, extend their reach and fill the pipeline with more qualified customers. They need visibility to profitability. They need to navigate the marketing options and find the ones that fit them best, cost effectively. They need a firm that can deliver on all of the options and maintain a closed loop marketing approach ... showing whats working and what isn't ... on a weekly basis.
Against that backdrop, we are extending our services to work with small businesses under $100 million. These firms have many of the same challenges as technology startups and they are increasingly challenged to create credible and effective Internet Marketing campaigns. Firms that were getting away with a decent web site can no longer ignore the power of Internet Marketing.
The landscape has grown progressively more complex since we started in 2002. As we navigate the landscape with our clients, it has become clear that we needed to have a comprehensive view of Internet Marketing. Marketing service providers need to be focused on creating revenue for their clients. Small firms competing today need Visibility to Profitability. In fact, the days of the targeted agency, design firm or SEO firm may be numbered. Consider this quote from Inbound Marketing Guru Peter Caputa in his Predictions for 2009.
"Most One-Trick-Pony Agencies will Die The website design business - as a standalone business - will die. So will the traditional PR agency and the traditional ad agency. There are far too many 10-30 person agencies who do just one thing. In the past few years, mid sized businesses have moved more and more of their budget to agencies that can do interactive marketing work: demand and lead generation. This year, those agencies will start adding some traditional agency services to their offerings. Then, they'll just take away all of the business. They won't just take it from traditional agencies either. Web site development companies have just as much to worry about. This is the year for marketing and web development agencies to adapt or die. They MUST develop services that generate demand for their clients. They must turn themselves into inbound marketing agencies. It's more about delivering an ROI. Not just billable hours. "
We've been working with a few early adopters on a metrics-driven, results-oriented approach that utilizes a weekly metrics dashboard. Combining stats from Google Analtyics, Hubspot and proprietary internal systems, we report on performance of campaigns relative to the client's specific goals and objectives. This has led to powerful conversations about the marketplace, the unique selling proposition and the messages that work. Using these techniques, we've been able to deliver client results such as month over month traffic growth of 275%, revenue growth of 300% and inbound link growth of over 400%.
In fairness, many of these online businesses were very young... but that isn't unlike what we see with many small businesses. They just don't have any web presence to speak of.
Moving forward, our blog and web site will continue to provide resources and guidance around the most cost effective tools and powerful strategies for Internet Marketing. We will be adding in the context of understanding the big picture and creating measurable results. Its the only way to compete and survive in this dynamically changing environment.
How has your company taken a comprehensive look at marketing? What kind of closed loop marketing approaches have been successful for you?
They recently announced what they're calling the Project 10 to the 100th contest where they're looking for "ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible." Their reasoning is that helping other people is the one thing (besides material wealth) that increases an individuals happiness over time. As a result, they're looking for ideas that not only help people - but ideas that will help the most number of people. Not only will you get the benefit of helping others, they'll also invest $10 million (yes, $10 MILLION) to make it happen themselves.
How does it work?
All you have to do is submit your idea using this 20-question submission form. You can also upload a 30-second YouTube video to their channel explaining your idea in more detail. Google will select the top 100 ideas and ask the public to vote until 20 semi-finalists are left. An advisory board will select up to 5 final ideas and Google will use the $10 million dollar pool to implement it.The winners do not receive any of the prize money - but they will have the satisfaction of making a difference and the accolades to go with it.
Your idea can be submitted in 8 categories total - Community, Opportunity, Energy, Environment, Health, Education, Shelter, and Everything else.
To increase your chance of winning, keep these criteria in mind (as shown on the site):
The deadline is October 20th and more than one entry is allowed so start brainstorming right away! Check out the current submissions here for inspiration.
How are you going to change the world?
By: Yasmine Mustafa
I started this post thinking I would quickly list ten things every entrepreneur should know how to do. Before I knew it, I had over twenty items. Skip and Megan (our summer intern) added their own ideas to the list to make the final thirty. Read on and add your own ideas to the list!
So what do you think? Are there any you disagree with?
Thanks to Akemi of "Yes to Me" for posting a guest blogging feature on Skip and myself. Akemi's blog features posts around spirtual growth and how it applies to our personal and work life.
Akemi stumbled upon our blog and e-mailed us about conducting an interview around our experiences with entrepreneurship. We discuss Team and a Dream, the challenges we faced as new entrepreneurs including how we overcame them, what we enjoy most about being entrepreneurs, and we end the interview with a few pieces of advice we've learned. Check it out - "Serial Entrepreneur Meets College Intern."
"3. What is the best part of being an entrepreneur for you?
Skip: Helping others to realize their dreams and influencing those dreams so that entrepreneurs are approaching things with a socially conscious approach. It is my way of “giving back” to a world that has been very generous to me.
Yasmine: The best part (without a doubt) is not having to sit in traffic as often in the morning and late afternoon! It’s also working on things I love doing. Brainstorming strategies, formulating the concepts of an early stage company, observing the end results of a marketing project or another engagement - those are the most exciting parts of what I do.
4. Any advice for people who dream to have their own business and yet find it hard to make the leap?
Yasmine: Don’t wait for the perfect idea - it’ll never come. Find an experienced mentor who’s been-there and done-that. He/she can provide you with needed guidance and support. I would recommend starting with something you’re either passionate about or something you’re good at. One or the other (or both) will provide you with a jumpstart in your business. Once you take the leap, you’ll feel exhilarated. There is no better feeling than knowing you’re starting something on your own.
Also, listen to your gut instinct. Life is too short to live someone else’s dream - follow your own!
Skip: The web has made it very easy to start a new business. Get out there and make it happen. Test out your ideas with a close circle of friends first and then with people who understand the business side. Launch early and often. Provide feedback forums for your clients. Listen closely to the market. Participate in the market conversation. Iterate. Focus. And always ask, “How is this business helping others or helping this world to be a better place?”
If you choose a path with heart, you will have a much higher likelihood of attracting partners, vendors and clients who want to see you succeed. One of my favorite quotes on this is by William Jennings Bryan.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.’ - William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)"
It's no surprise that one of the main reasons internet startups fail is because they run out of money. We at Team and a Dream are constantly meeting entrepreneurs who are looking for help in obtaining venture capital funding. While we get them ready through our Business Preparation service and make connections when possible, it can be a long and challenging process.
An alternative to seeking VCs (or at least as a way to buy time), is to go to family and friends and maybe angel investors. If you're in between and looking for another option - it's time to enter Business Plan Competitions. How can you enter these contests and win your startup capital? Check out the links below for more information and eligibility requirements. Some of these end soon so don't procrastinate!
Description (from website)
Tell us what you'll Just Start. Fact, fiction or fantasy. What have you always dreamed of doing? What are you resigning from and moving towards? And, how will the Just Start grant ($50k) help you strike out on your own?
$50,000 plus services
December 15, 2007
Do you have an idea that will solve a problem, express creativity, or change the world? Roll up your sleeves and submit your web application or business idea.
December, 31, 2007
ATG will connect budding entrepreneurs with leaders in e-commerce, and provide valuable feedback from visionaries who have shaped and continue to guide the e-commerce industry.
January 30, 2008
Describe an idea for a legitimate business that may be lawfully operated in the United States that does not involve alcohol, illegal substances, tobacco, firearms or pornography in any way.
March 31, 2008
Another contest to watch out for is run by Y Combinator. It's different in that U.S. technology entrepreneurs don't only compete for money - they also compete for the chance of being locked in apartments with each other where they work for three months straight to start their own companies. The program offers one-on-one mentoring with experienced consultants, legal assistance with filing the paperwork needed to start their business, personal intros to investors, and dinner once a week with a successful entrepreneur. This contest is held twice a year and the most recent one just ended this past October. Look out for the next one early next year.
I've personally entered a few competitions myself - not online, but at my school at Temple University. I was discouraged when I didn't place in my early years at school but I persevered and have won their Innovative Idea Award Competition two years running - once as an undergraduate and most recently as an alumni.
Entering a business plan competition isn't as daunting as it seems, but it does require time and effort. It can also be rewarding whether or not you win. Getting your ideas on paper helps you define the feasibility of your idea/business and it's something you need anyway when you're meeting with VCs or angel investors. Imagine how much smoother that meeting would go if you had just won one of these competitions? In addition, it can also be a great way to network and open other doors - win or lose.
If you know of other business plan or startup competitions, feel free to share them with us below.
Our 25-plus years of experience with startups facing common issues has led us to create our newest offering - a circle of entrepreneurs at similar stages in their technology startups. The circle provides teams with access to a professional investor and a strategic advisor as well as a serial entrepreneur advisor for a fraction of the fees they would charge to consult with them individually. In addition, it also provides a network of support and allows us to leverage our expertise across multiple startups concurrently.
Furthermore, the circle also provides a network of support and allows us to leverage our expertise across multiple startups concurrently. As an added benefit, a Team and a Dream intern is available at the biweekly one-and-a-half hour facilitated sessions, providing entrepreneurs with extra muscle to put the ideas generated in the meeting into practice.
Our Program Details and Benefits:
· You work with two specialists. Twice monthly you’ll have a 90-minute teleconference with a professional investor/strategic advisor and a serial entrepreneur advisor.
· We focus on your issues. There will be opportunities to bring your specific issues to the Circle for brainstorming and exploration.
· Intern consulting support included. Our cohort intern will work with each company for one hour on the topic of the week. (Additional execution is available)
· Online repository included. Each client will have an online repository to organize their project documents.
· Network and collaborate with a peer group. Meet and gain support from people struggling with the same issues as you.
· We will focus on special topics relevant to your company. The topics covered will be customized to fit your needs. Examples include Software Vendor Selection, Search Engine Optimization, Putting a Marketing Blitz Together, Business Plan Development, Assessing and Defining the Market, Competitive Issues, Go-to-Market Strategy, Developing Realistic financial projections, Creating Investor Presentations, etc.
· Includes a Value Needs Assessment. Provides a comprehensive map of what your business needs now.
· Savings of over $600 a month! You’ll work with two experienced specialists for a fraction of the price - allowing you to receive high value at a low price point.
Our Advisors and their Background:
Skip Shuda is the founder of Team and a Dream, which helps early-stage technology companies get to the next level. For over 20 years, Skip has been an innovator in the use of new technology to enhance the growth and profit potential of early-stage software, service, and technology companies. He founded Destiny Websolutions in 1994 which grew to over $17 million in revenues and 120 employees. For more information on Skip's background, please click here.
Laurie Burstein is a professional investor manager, who knows what makes companies successful. Professional psychologist turned "veteran micro-cap investor," she has been rated as one of the top microcap portfolio managers in the country*. She is currently the President of Oakwood Capital Management, Inc., and Managing Principal of Dartmouth Strategic Advisors. In addition, she is a Steering Committee Member of Temple University's Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, providing support to early stage companies technology and life science companies that are seeking funding. Laurie has also been a judge at Temple University's Annual Business Plan Competition.
Tags: business, entrepreneur's circle, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, experienced advisors, investor, support, Team and a Dream
Earlier today I spoke with Nate Stevens, CEO of Natpal of some big news for this Philly-born Tech Startup. Natpal helps drive leads and traffic to local businesses like restaurants, spas and opticians using their "track and enhance" online marketing methodology.
I met Nate a couple of years back while acting as his advisor through the Wharton SBDC. At that point, Nate had a dream and not much else. He was assembling a team from the UPenn student body. I remember talking to Nate about the best way to test out his idea ... get it out there and see what people say. He listened and quickly signed up his first five clients. When the clients suddenly started getting real traffic through Natpal's offering, they were more than willing to give testimonials on their results.
I was thrilled to learn about Natpal's raising $5 million in a combined equity/debt deal with Bessemer Venture Partners. I asked Nate what the keys were to getting Natpal ready to raise money and VCs ready to invest. He rattled off three things right away.
If you are interested in movers and shakers, keep an eye on Nate Stevens and Natpal. If you are interested in driving traffic to your favorite local business, have them give Natpal a call.