Growthink Blog

Creating Zealots


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I recently reviewed the book "PRIMAL BRANDING: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future" by Patrick Hanlon and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you.

It's truly awesome. Here's the scoop. Hanlon worked in advertising for many years for Fortune 500 clients. A few years ago, he asked himself the question: What is it that gets consumers to bond with brands like Google, Apple, Mini Cooper, Coke, Disney, Starbucks and Nike and not others?


Sell the Sizzle and Not the Steak in 2007


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There’s an old saying in marketing, “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak.” What
this means is that marketers need to promote the benefits of a product or
service and not the features. For instance, people buy a drill to make a hole
or they buy a light bulb to provide light.

When selling these products, it is often better to promote how easily the
product provides the benefits rather than offer a comprehensive list of the
product’s features (which many consumers may not even understand).


Conducting Informal Market Research By Asking the Right People


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Market research is critical to entrepreneurial success. It is absolutely crucial to understand customer needs in order to successfully launch a new product. Likewise, market research must be conducted on the industry, competitors, etc., in order to flourish.

However, formal market research studies are not always critical. Rather, by asking people who can offer good estimates of customer wants and needs, ventures can answer many questions more quickly and inexpensively.

Consider the following queries and suggestions:

Query: What types of toys will sell well this holiday season?


Equity Compensation for Startup Employees


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A question that is often asked by entrepreneurs and emerging businesses is how much equity to give key employees and new hires.

While there is no correct answer to this question, there are guidelines and key criteria to consider. The key criteria are 1) other compensation and 2) the risk profile of the venture.

Other Compensation: Equity compensation is one component of an employee's total compensation. Other components include base salary, bonuses, benefits, etc. For each position and geographic market there are standard compensation rates.


Second Life Business Planning Competition


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Advertisers often say that people need seven or eight exposures to a new product in order to really take notice. This is approximately the number of times I heard about Second Life before I decided to give it a try.

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world built and owned by its residents. Second Life launched to the public in 2003, and has grown dramatically since then. Currently, the site has nearly 1.7 million members/inhabitants worldwide.


Entrepreneurship and Overstating Fear of Loss


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Great article in the Washington Post today by Shankar Vedantam entitled "The Pain is Never as Bad as We Fear." Basic premise is that studies have shown that human beings greatly over-estimate the pain they think they will feel regarding a prospective future loss. For example, when it comes to money, people are much more able to emotionally "connect" with the pain of a hypothetical loss of a sum of money than they are to to connect with the pleasure/joy associated with a hypothetical gain.


Going Dual Screen


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About three months ago, I went dual screen. That is, I switched from a single computer monitor to a dual screen monitor.

I had read that a dual screen monitor can increase productivity by 50%. While I don't believe this statistic, the dual screen monitor definitely saves me 10 - 15 minutes/day.

The dual screen is really helpful if I want to comment on website, for instance. I'm able to have my email open in one window and my Internet browser in the other, so I don't need to constantly toggle back and forth between screens.


Charles River Ventures QuickStart Calculator


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As a follow-up to last week's post on Charles River Ventures' QuickStart program, we created an online equity calculator based on the CRV QuickStart formula.

The calculator allows up to 5 rounds of financing and shows the equity that the management team, CRV, and other investors get. You can view the calculator here: http://www.growthink.com/CRVCalculator.htm.

Nothing too fancy, but it works.


CRV Offers Creative Financing


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According to Venture Beat, Charles River Ventures (CRV), an early stage venturecapital firm, has launched a new investment strategy, offering rapid but tiny $250,000 checks to Internet start-ups.


The 30/70 Rule of Failure


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A great baseball player will get out 70% of the time.

A great venture capital firm will fund companies which fail 70% of the time.

So what does this mean? It means that failure IS an option. If we are not prepared to fail, then we will never take chances; we will never try new things; we will never launch new ventures.

While we shouldn't plan for failure, and we should constantly focus on success, we need not be afraid of failure. Conversely, we should embrace the lessons that failure offers us - why did we fail? what can we do differently next time?


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