The Marketing Experiment


 

The Marketing Experiment

This experiment has been done many times at events.

At one end of the table, they place a box of donuts.

At the other end of the table, they place a bunch of fruit.

The attendees filter out of the room on a break...and see the table.

Fifteen minutes later, the attendees go back into the main room.

What do you think the table looks like? As you can imagine, the donut box is usually empty and much of the fruit is left on the table.

This doesn't makes sense, does it? Everyone knows that fruit is MUCH healthier than donuts. So why does everyone eat the donuts?

Obviously the donuts taste better, and unfortunately, this trumps the fact that the fruit is healthier.

So, why do I tell you this story? Because many times companies make the mistake of marketing "fruit" in their businesses, when they need to be marketing "donuts."

Let me explain. Even though customers should need your product or service, it doesn't mean they will buy it. If consumers always bought what they needed, the size of the fruit section in grocery stores would be doubled, and fitness clubs would be twice the size.

The solution is typically this: sell customers what they want; but then give them what they want AND what they need.

An example of this would be to sell a weight loss diet that promised customers they could eat five times a day and never be hungry (because that's what they want to hear). But then, the diet would slowly replace those five meals with smaller and/or healthier options so that the consumer realizes the desired weight loss.

So, I want you to ask yourself two questions:

1) What assumptions do you have about what your customers need, that your customers might not agree with (or won't buy since the reality of solving that need is unappealing)?

2) How could you reposition your offerings and/or solutions so that you are able to give customers what they want, and then give them what they need?

In marketing, your "hook" or marketing "offer" will bring more customers to your door. But then there are 14 other tactics you need to employ to maximize your sales and profits. The video below explains more:

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The World’s #1 Marketing Plan Template

Would you like to know the quickest and easiest way to create a winning marketing plan?

And how to use it to quickly increase your sales and profits?

Well, we've developed the ultimate marketing plan template to help you do this. Simply click below to learn more.

Finish your marketing plan and start growing your sales and profits today.

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5 Ways to Improve Sales Without Selling


 

5 Ways to Improve Sales Without Selling

There is a big difference between marketing and sales. The act of selling generates revenue when a product is sold. Marketing, on the other hand, is the act of attracting attention, branding a product or person, and creating a buzz that will eventually result in sales.

Peter Drucker once said, "The point of marketing is to make selling superfluous." In layman's terms, this means that if you do a great job of positioning your business in your ads and build a strong reputation, you won't have to do a lot of convincing and selling once prospects come in the door (or to your website). They will already be convinced that are the right company for them.

Below are 5 marketing strategies to use to make selling superfluous and to grow your business.

1. Improve Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Having a strong unique selling proposition (USP) is a critical element of your marketing plan. Your USP separates your product or service from your competitors. It makes your product or service a "unique, must have" item.

In fact, the USP of Domino's Pizza: "Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed," has widely been credited as the reason for the company's success in a highly competitive and fairly commoditized business.

Ideally you can come up with a great USP for your company like Domino's did. But at the very least, you must be able to clearly articulate reasons why customers should buy from you instead of competitors.

2. Use Multiple Marketing Channels

Once you have the right USP, you want as many of your target customers to hear it as possible. That's why you need to market yourself through multiple channels. The key is this: the more channels you use, the more prospective customers will hear about you. Importantly, some of your target customers prefer one channel (e.g., print newspapers) while others may prefer a different channel (e.g., radio ads).

While one marketing channel may be the most profitable for you, the more marketing channels you can make work for you, the more you will be able to dominate your market.

So, which of the following marketing channels can you start using?

  • Direct Mail
  • Email and Print Newsletter Marketing
  • Event Marketing
  • Networking
  • Partnerships
  • Press Releases/PR
  • Print Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization and Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • TV Ads


3. Understand Your KPIs

"KPIs" or Key Performance Indicators are the metrics that judge your business' performance based on the success you would like to succeed.

Knowing your KPIs and constantly working to improve them is critical to your marketing. For example,

  • How many leads do you generate per dollar of advertising (per channel)?
  • What % of your leads turn into buyers?
  • What is your average revenue per sale (and have you improved this through upselling, cross-selling, etc.)?
  • How often do your customers buy from you?

The more you understand and improve your KPIs the more your revenues and profits will grow. In fact, creating and managing your KPIs is one of the pillars of an 8-figure business.

4. Make Buying From You Easy

We've all been to businesses that don't accept credit cards. Or they only accept certain kinds of credit cards. As a result of this, they lose out on some customers. So make sure you offer multiple purchase options, from credit cards to possibly payment plans.

Likewise, you can make buying from you easier by having your products and services distributed elsewhere. For example, if you offer a physical product, you can also sell it on Amazon.com or eBay among other website. These are essentially buyer search engines; people are searching them for things to buy - what a perfect place for your product to show up. Or, if you offer a service, you can develop joint venture partners who sell it to their customers.

5. Provide the Right Information to Prospective Customers


Remember how good marketing will make selling superfluous? Customers need certain information in order to make a decision.

Specifically, be sure to provide information educating your customers on how your product or service can 1) solve problems and/or help them avoid pain, 2) improve their lives and/or increase their pleasure, and 3) save customers time, as that's a growing need for customers today.

Convey this key information in graphics, articles, videos, case studies, interviews and/or any other way that your prospective customers prefer to consume information.

By following these 5 marketing strategies, you can dramatically grow your sales and profits, and not have to resort to high pressure selling.

------------------------------------------------------------

The World’s #1 Marketing Plan Template

Would you like to know the quickest and easiest way to create a winning marketing plan?

And how to use it to quickly increase your sales and profits?

Well, we've developed the ultimate marketing plan template to help you do this. Simply click below to learn more.

Finish your marketing plan and start growing your sales and profits today.

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Six Great Places to Find Angel Investors


 

Six Great Places to Find Angel Investors

Last year, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, 67,030 ventures received angel funding.

This represented an increase of 1.8% over the prior year. In total, these angels invested $22.9 Billion; that's a lot of money.

Importantly, the Center for Venture Research found that the number of angel investors providing the funding last year was 268,160 individuals. So, clearly, there are a lot of angel investors out there.

So, you're probably thinking: how do I find these angel investors? The good and bad news is that there's no directory of angel investors. It's bad because if there was, it would be easy to find them. And it's good, since if angel investors were simple to find, they would be bombarded with deals; and thus raising capital from them would be much more competitive.

The best way to find these angel investors is through networking.

First, ask everyone you know (e.g., friends, colleagues, family, advisors like consultants, lawyers and accountants, etc. ) who they know that might invest in your business.

After that, the key is for you to keep networking and meeting new people. In many cases you should target individual angel investors directly. For instance, you may realize that a certain executive in your industry would be perfect, in which case you should call them and/or seek an introduction from a mutual acquaintance.

In other cases, you should "get out there" and meet them at different venues. Here are the six best venues I've found for meeting angel investors.

1. Local Business & Networking Events


Every city has local events that attract business owners and entrepreneurs (note that other business owners and entrepreneurs are often angel investors and/or can introduce you to angels).

You can find out about these events on sites like Meetup, Eventful and EventBrite.

For example, if you go to Meetup and type in "entrepreneur," you'll find lots of local events.

2. Industry Conferences & Trade Shows


Industry Conferences & Trade Shows are great places to meet angel investors. These events are filled with successful people who have the means and often interest in funding a company like yours. And, based on the fact that they are attending such a conference, they know your industry. This makes educating them on your venture easier, and also often gives them the ability to give you valuable strategic advice.

You can generally find out about these events in your industry's trade journals.

3. Alumni Events


Particularly at college alumni events you'll find lots of successful people. Many of whom would be very interested in funding your company as an angel investor. You already have a connection with these individuals since you share the same alma mater. So go to these events and meet them.

You may also have access to an online alumni directly. If so, you can use this to directly target certain individuals.

4. Chamber of Commerce Meetings

There's probably no better place to meet a large concentration of business owners (and potential angel investors) than local Chamber of Commerce meetings. So attend these meetings.

5. Volunteer at Local Organizations & Charities and/or Attend Charity Events

As a general rule, you should volunteer to give back to people less fortunate than you. But as a bonus, when volunteering you'll often meet very successful people, including large donors to the cause. These individuals might also be interested in funding your company.

6. Become a Guest Speaker

There are many groups like YPO (Young President's Organization) and Vistage that have monthly meetings during which they bring in outside speakers.

Find groups like these that could benefit from your knowledge. Present great information to them to help their businesses grow. In doing so, you will make great connections, including some that can fund your business.

As you can see, there are many, many places to find angel investors. It's mostly a matter of scheduling the time into your schedule to go do it.

------------------------------------------------------------

How To Raise Funding from Angel Investors

If you want to raise your first $100,000 (or more), click below to learn my battle-tested, 6-step funding formula for raising funding from angel investors

Raise angel funding today.

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Answers to the 5 Most Common Angel Investor Questions


 

Answers to the 5 Most Common Angel Investor Questions

On Wikipedia, I found the word "angel" defined as "a supernatural being or spirit, often depicted in humanoid form with feathered wings on their backs and halos around their heads."

While this might depict an "angel," it certainly is a far cry from the definition of an "angel investor."

Below I define exactly what an "angel investor" is along with answers to the other most common angel investor questions.

1. What is An Angel Investor?

 
The term "angel investor" is officially defined as a private investor who offers financial backing to an entrepreneurial venture.
 
When several private investors form an organization to collective fund ventures, they are known as an "angel investor group."
 
The act of providing the financial backing is known as "angel investing."
 
The amount of angel financing is significant. According to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, each year over 60,000 ventures raise over $20 billion from angel investors.

2.  Will an angel investor invest in my ______ (insert restaurant, hotel, technology, website, product, app, salon, etc.)?

The answer to this is "yes."

Software is the top sector that receives angel funding, representing approximately 23% of total angel investments annually.

Healthcare Services/Medical Devices and Equipment (14%), Retail (12%), Biotech (11%), Industrial/Energy (7%) and Media (7%) are the next top sectors.

Importantly, that leaves an "other" amount of 26%. And ìotherî includes every type of company there is. So, yes, there is an angel investor out there who would fund your type of business.

3.  What is the difference between angel investors and venture capitalists?

Venture capitalists differ from angel investors in that they typically provide more money (generally at least $2 million) and focus on companies that have achieved more operational milestones than companies generally funded by angel investors

Other key differences include the following:

  • Venture capitalists are professional investors. That is what they do for a living. Angel investors do not invest for a living.
  •  
  • Venture capitalists invest other peopleís money in ventures. Conversely, angels invest their own money. As a result, angel investments are not always based on the potential return on investment (ROI) of the deal (the primary concern of venture capitalists) but may result from other factors such as simply liking the entrepreneur and wanting to help them out.

4.  What return on investment do angel investors want?

There is no set formula for the return angel investors want. In general, they simply want a "fair" return. "Fair" might imply millions of dollars if your company eventually goes public and is valued at billions. Or, "fair" may be a 15% return, or a reasonably higher return than they would receive if they invested in the less-risky public stock market.

The key is to figure out what the prospective investor deems to be ìfairî and offer it to them.

5.  Where can I find angel investors for my company?

The best place to find angel investors is through networking. Who do you know? Who do your friends know? Who does your attorney know? And so on.

And then once you meet those referrals, ask who they know. And so on. By networking, you can reach tons of prospective angel investors and raise the funding you need.

Importantly, the vast, vast, vast, vast (yes, I know I just said ìvastî four times!) majority of angel investors are what I call "latent angel investors." That is, they don't know or walk around thinking of themselves as angel investors. But, they have the means, interest and ability to make angel investors.

Latent angel investors are the BEST for entrepreneurs, since they arenít seeing tons of potential companies to fund. As a result, if they see one good deal, thereís a good chance theyíll fund it. Conversely, those investors who see tons of deals are less likely to fund any particular venture.

Now that you know the answers to the five key angel investors questions, use this knowledge to raise this great funding source for your business.

------------------------------------------------------------

How To Raise Funding from Angel Investors

If you want to raise your first $100,000 (or more), click below to learn my
battle-tested, 6-step funding formula for raising funding from angel investors

Click here to raise angel funding for your business today.

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3 Little Known Reasons Why Angel Investors Fund Entrepreneurs


 

3 Little Known Reasons Why Angel Investors Fund Entrepreneurs

When most entrepreneurs start out and realized they need funding, they are typically presented with three options.

The first is debt financing, which is typically in the form of a loan from a bank.

The other two funding options are typically in the form of equity, and they are 1) equity from individual or "angel" investors and 2) equity from venture capitalists.

Importantly, when considering these two sources of funding it is important to understand that most venture capitalists will not invest in companies that have not achieved "proof of concept" (which generally means a working prototype and/or revenues). Also, venture capitalists generally only invest in companies that have the potential to be valued at over $100 million within five years.

These criteria make venture capital inaccessible to most entrepreneurs. Furthermore, angel funding is often a better option since it is much easier to attain.

Consider these statistics:

  • In an average year (according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire), 250,000 angel investors will fund 60,000 companies, giving them $20 Billion in total.

  • Conversely, in and average year (according to the National Venture Capital Association), there are only 800 active venture capital firms, who fund only 4,000 companies, also giving them $20 Billion in total.

So while venture capitalists write much larger checks, 15 times more entrepreneurs raise funding from angels.

So why do angel investors fund entrepreneurs?  The common answer is that they hope to get a solid return on their investment. Obviously, investing at the earliest stages for a company that eventually goes big can earn the investor 100X their money back or more.

However, there are three lesser known, but equally important reasons, why angel investors fund entrepreneurs:

1. They know, like and trust the entrepreneur. Like with friends and family investments, sometimes angels know and trust the entrepreneurs and want to help them succeed.

2. They feel they can add real value. Many angels have lots of relevant experience that can help the companies they fund, from experience hiring staff to connections with key potential customers or suppliers. If angels can see their involvement adding a lot of value to the company, they might be very interested in investing.

3. Sometimes the angel wants or likes the action. Simply put, angel investing is exciting. It is generally a higher risk/higher reward version of the public stock markets requiring a more entrepreneurial analysis which is highly intriguing. This is particularly the case when the angel investor is a retired entrepreneur or executive.

So, if you are an entrepreneur seeking funding, keep these motivations in mind when you identify, approach and speak with angels.

Because understanding them is often the difference between whether you will raise money or not. Finding angel investors is also easy if you know where to look.

------------------------------------------------------------

How To Raise Funding from Angel Investors

If you want to raise your first $100,000 (or more), click below to learn my battle-tested, 6-step funding formula for raising funding from angel investors

Raise angel funding today.

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Private Equity And Venture Capital Investors: How to Leverage Their Pessimistic Thinking


 


I speak to my friend Steve about once a month. And every few times we speak, he hits me with his latest new business idea.

Once in a while, the idea has merit. But most times it doesn't.

The other day Steve told me his latest idea. I could barely mutter two words in reply when he cut me off. "I forgot who I was talking too," he blurted out, "you don't like any of my ideas."

Interestingly, when he said that, I felt like a venture capitalist. You see, venture capitalists or VCs hear tons and tons of business ideas. And when you hear tons of ideas over many years, and see the vast majority of these ideas fail to materialize, you start developing a pessimistic attitude about new ideas.

And, after hearing so many ideas myself over such a long period of times, it seems that even I have gotten a bit negative or skeptical (well at least on ideas that my friend Steve tells me about).

Interestingly, I went to business school nearly 20 years ago with several bright guys who became venture capitalists. When they first became VCs, they were very positive people. They heard ideas with the mindset of "how can we make this work."

But after hearing thousands of ideas over many years, and investing in lots of companies that didn't pan out, their thinking shifted. In fact, today, their attitude is more like "what are the reasons that this idea won't work."

I tell you this not to be a downer. But to let you inside the head of a venture capitalist, or any investor that's been around a long time. Like it or not, these investors inevitably develop a bit of pessimism when considering new investment opportunities. And while you are speaking, their mind is constantly asking, "what are the reasons this idea won't work."

Why this matters is that you need to understand and play to this pessimism.

Here are four ways to accomplish this:

1. Pre-emptively address their concerns

As you now know, while you speak with VCs, they are considering the reasons your venture won't work. So, address these concerns before they even ask about them. For example, state in your presentation the top 5 concerns you think they might have and why you will overcome/address them.

Generally, you should address these concerns in the core part of your investor presentations. You should also have four or five back-up slides (that you keep at the end of the presentation for use if and when needed) that address other less-common concerns that you guess investors might have. By pulling up these slide when the investor voices the concern, you will have the best possible answer and seem ultra-prepared (which you will be).

2. Avoid superlatives

Most VCs I know hate superlatives.

Superlatives are words like "best," "greatest," "most powerful," "world-class," etc.  Unless you can back up these words, don't use them. Since VCs have been promised everything under the sun, and are turned off by such claims.

3. Relate your ideas to proven companies

One way to make your ideas appear more viable is to tie them to proven companies. For example, say that your company is like eBay but you [fill in the blank regarding how you differ]. Both consciously and subconsciously, this simile gives VCs and other investors the impression that your company might become as successful as that other proven company.

Importantly, don't bad mouth another company (particularly a successful company); as this will cause you to lose credibility. Rather explain why you are unique and can perform better and/or differently.

4. Boost your credibility wherever possible

Skeptical and pessimistic people (including VCs) are skeptical of grand claims. Hence why I told you to avoid superlatives above.

But you should also avoid other grand claims and bolster your credibility wherever possible.

For example, having a financial model that shows you are going to grow from $0 to $100 million in revenues in 3 years is generally going to be frowned upon. Since achieving such a feat is extremely rare.

Conversely, by researching the growth profile of similar firms, you can come up with more credible forecasts that will escape skepticism and show investors you really understand the business and its potential.

Likewise, you can boost credibility by getting customers. One of a VCs greatest concerns is whether you'll be able to acquire enough customers. Proving this early on significantly enhances your positioning and chances of raising VC dollars. Even if you don't have a product or service that's ready for customers, there are things you can do. For example, you can get alpha or beta customers. Or, at the least, you could survey customers and show VCs survey results and testimonials from customers saying they are seeking the precise solution you are building.

Finally, building a Board of Advisors and/or hiring accomplished employees will boost your credibility and show VCs that you know how to execute, and can thus effectively grow your business with the funding they invest in you.

Don't get me wrong. Most VCs aren't pessimists or curmudgeons that aren't fun to be around. But many do develop a natural pessimism against new entrepreneurs and ventures they meet. It is your job to overcome this pessimism. And once you do, you can gain the funding and the guidance of a VC that could help you dramatically grow your business.

 

Suggested Resource: In Venture Capital Pitch Formula, you'll learn exactly how to find and contact venture capitalists, exactly what information to include in your presentation, and how to secure your financing. This video explains more.

------------------------------------------------------------

How to Raise $1 Million or More

If you need millions of dollars in funding to build your business, you should raise venture capital.

Click here to discover the proven formula for raising venture capital funding.

When you click, you'll learn why the "old fashioned" way of raising venture capital is dead.

You'll learn why mastering the "T-Factor" is key to raising venture capital.

And you'll learn much more when you click here.

------------------------------------------------------------


 

4 Emails That Get An Investor's Attention


 

4 Emails That Get An Investor's Attention

If you were raising funding 25 years ago, you probably called prospective investors on the phone and sent them your business plan via fax or overnight delivery.

As you can imagine, things are very different today. And email is the number one way to communicate with prospective investors, particularly professional investors like venture capitalist.

The challenge, as you can imagine, is getting their attention. As most venture capitalists receive tons and tons of unsolicited email each day. So, the key is having a great subject line on your email to get them to open it.

Before giving you some subject lines that do work, let me tell you ones that don't. Subject lines such as "Unique Investment Opportunity," "Please Invest in our company," and "Great Investment Opportunity" don't catch investors' attention and turn them off.

So, don't use these. Here are some you can use:

1. Your Involvement in XYZ Company

Where XYZ company is a company that the investor has funded and which is in your general space. You would start the email with something such as "based on your investment in XYZ company, I think you will be interested in what we are doing..."

2. New in the "XYZ Space"


Where XYZ is the "space" in which you are operating in (e.g., the financial software space). The first line would tie the subject line to what you are doing.

3. Referred by XYZ


Where XYZ is a referral source that knows both you and the investor. This works extremely well, but clearly you must first get the referral.

Because referrals are so powerful, go on LinkedIn and/or other networks to see if you already have someone in your network that can refer you to the investor.

4. Comment on Your Post About XYZ


Where XYZ is a blog post that the investor recently wrote about a subject. In your opening line you explain what you agree with in their post and then tie it to your company.

Here's What to Include Next

Importantly, after your subject line and introductory line that ties your company with the subject line, you should NOT tell the investor everything about your company.

Rather, this first email should be a "teaser" email. A "teaser" email is an email that "teases" the investor by giving them a bite-sized amount of compelling information about your company.

The goal of the email is to see if they are interested. If they are, you will follow up with more information (maybe your Executive Summary and/or full business plan) with the goal of getting a face-to-face meeting with the investor.

There are two reasons you shouldn't send your business plan in your initial email. First, you don't want to "over-shop" your deal. Over-shopping is letting too many investors know about your company. If too many investors know about you, the law of numbers states that many investors will pass on investing in you (remember, most investors passed on the opportunity to invest in Google years ago).

So, if an investor isn't even interested in your market space or teaser email, they certainly won't invest in your company. And here's what can happen -- an interested investor asks this investor (the one who isn't interested in your space) if they've heard of your company. That investor says "yes" (since you unwittingly sent them your plan) and that they weren't interested. And then their disinterest dissuades the once interest investor from investing in you.

The second reason you don't want to send out your business plan in your initial email is for confidentiality reasons. You just don't want your business plan out there for everyone to see. Rather, wait until the investor shows that they are at least somewhat interested in your venture before sending it.

So, now that you know that you should start by sending investors a "teaser" email, the question is what to include in the teaser.

Here's the answer: the teaser email should include 5 to 6 bullets about your company and should be very short (200 words or less).  The goal, once again is simply to create a general interest in your venture so the investor commits time and energy to learning more about it (by requesting additional documents or setting up a meeting).

Your bullets should describe what space your company is in and credentials that make you uniquely qualified to succeed (e.g., credentials of management team, customers serving already or showing interest, etc.).

To summarize, send investors a teaser email instead of your business plan to start. And realizing that they receive hundreds of emails every day asking for funding, make sure your subject line stands out and seems like you're offering them value.

------------------------------------------------------------

How to Raise $1 Million or More

If you need millions of dollars in funding to build your business, you should raise venture capital.

Click here to discover the proven formula for raising venture capital funding.

When you click, you'll learn why the "old fashioned" way of raising venture capital is dead.

You'll learn why mastering the "T-Factor" is key to raising venture capital.

And you'll learn much more when you click here.

------------------------------------------------------------


 

Viral Crowdfunding


 

Viral Crowdfunding

I recently wrote about the powers of Crowdfunding and how it not only provides money to entrepreneurs and business owners, but it provides customers and a massive marketing push.

But, I didn't have time to discuss one of the keys of Crowdfunding success, which is to effectively market your Crowdfunding raise to others.

It is important to always remember that the best product or service doesn't always win; usually it's the company who best MARKETS its product or service that wins.

Likewise, it's often NOT the best companies (i.e., with the best team or product/service) who successfully raise Crowdfunding dollars. Rather, it's the companies who most effectively market their Crowdfunding raise to others who succeed.

So, how do you market your Crowdfunding raise so tons of people fund you?

To answer this, I'm going to use the classic 4Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotions.

Product:
You always need the right product to get sales. In the case of Crowdfunding, your "product" is 1) your company (what you are building) and 2) what your offer is to those who fund you.

With regards to your offer, make it compelling and creative. For example, some entrepreneurs have given crowdfunders cool rewards such as invites to attend their launch party, public acknowledgements to them on their websites, and some have even named products after top crowdfunders.

Price:
With regards to price, people will obviously be more prone to write you a $50 funding check today for a promise to ship you a $100 product later versus requiring a $75 payment today.

Place:
Place refers to where you sell your product. In the case of Crowdfunding, there are several "places" or Crowdfunding platforms you can use. Three of my favorites are Kickstarter.com, RocketHub.com, and IndieGogo.com.

Promotions:
Here's where it starts to get really exciting. Promotions are how you tell others about your Crowdfunding raise so they fund you.

The easiest group to tell and convince are your friends, families and colleagues.

But huge Crowdfunding success comes when you can get thousands of strangers to hear about what you're doing and fund you.

Now some people think that the way to do this is via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as email and your website.

This is partially true.

I say "partially" since social networking sites are merely mediums with which to share information. The key is to have information that's worthy of being shared.

So, what information is worthy of being shared? And what information do people share with tons of others?

The answer is "viral" information. Such information is defined as that which people readily pass to their friends and colleagues.

Here are some more famous examples of viral information used by businesses.

Viral Offers: Groupon grew quickly and to a massive size by offering viral offers; offers that are so appealing that people spread them to others who might be able to use them.

Viral Unique Concept: A few years back, Alex Tew created "Million Dollar Homepage," a website on which he sold one million pixels for $1 per pixel. It was an extremely unique concept and people started talking about it and purchasing pixels. Alex generated over a million dollars from the venture.

Viral Cool: The manufacturer of Blendtec blenders made a series of videos called "Will it blend?" Its videos test its blender chopping up various products including an iPad (over 13 million views), an iPhone (over 10 million views), a glow stick (over 8 million views), an iPod (over 5 million views), marbles (over 5 million views). It has also created videos blending Wii remotes, rake handles and more. Collectively these videos have resulted in tens of millions of views and millions of dollars in Blendtec blender sales.

Viral Inspiring: our friends at Grasshopper.com, created an inspiring video called "Entrepreneurs can change the world." The video has been viewed over 1.3 million times to date on YouTube.

As you can see, viral marketing can get thousands, tens of thousands and even millions of people to hear about you, your company and your Crowdfunding raise. And it can thus result in you raising tons of money and gaining tons of customers for your company.

So start getting your creative entrepreneurial juices flowing and figure out ideas for spreading news about you, your product or your company virally. Once you come up with the idea, create the content (e.g., develop the video or other information), and then market it (by sending it to your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and asking them to forward it to their friends).

Want Crowdfunding for your business? I developed a simple-to-follow program called "Crowdfunding Formula" that has helped numerous entrepreneurs raise great sums of money via Crowdfunding.

The program is a series of videos I recorded that walk you through each of the 14 steps to raising rewards-based Crowdfunding. Many of you have already joined the program and raised money.

If you haven't, click here to get Crowdfunding for your business now!

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How to Get Funded in 90 Days or Less

If you need funding fast, you have to use Crowdfunding.

Here’s how to do it right

1. It's fast. You’ll get the money in just 90 days or less.

2. It's easy. You don’t even need a business plan - you can get started right away.

3. You keep ALL the money. It’s not debt, and you don’t you don’t give up any ownership in your company either...

Click here to watch the video and learn more now

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The 5 Questions That Determine Your Business' Value


 

Determine-Your-Business-Value

The biggest aspiration of most entrepreneurs and business owners today is to grow and then sell their businesses. And why shouldn't it be? Selling your business creates more multi-millionaires than any other endeavor.

The key issue however is this: are you growing your business the right way, and are you focusing on the right things? You see, when it comes time for buyers to appraise the value of your business, they might find different things to be important than you do. And the last thing you want to do is focus your time developing aspects of your business that buyers don't value. Particularly when doing so forces you to neglect the things they do.

Below are five key questions that will determine your business' value. Answer them honestly. And then work to improve your position on each.

1. How replicable is your business?

When corporations consider buying a business, they make a "build" or "buy" decision. That is, they ask whether the time and money it would take to build a similar business from scratch is greater than the cost to buy the business from you now.

As such, the more unique and less replicable your business is, the better. So think about how replicable your business is. For example, could another company easily replicate your products or services? Could they easily hire and train a team as good as yours? Would it be simple for them to build a customer base like yours?

Answer these questions honestly and focus on building a profitable AND harder-to-replicate business going forward.

2. How easy will it be to run your business after acquisition?

Why do we pay a premium for a new automobile versus a used one? Because we know the new one doesn't have any problems. It hasn't gotten into any accidents. It doesn't have an oil leak, etc.

Similarly, acquirers will pay a premium for a business that is in great "running condition." Sure, every business will have its challenges, but a business that is simple to run, like a new car, will be highly valued.

So, let me ask you this: if you sold your business today and retired, would the new owner be able to easily run your business thereafter?

  • Do you have systems in place that enable your business to run consistently every day?
  •  
  • Are your employees trained to handle all key issues that arise?
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  • Will your customers continue to buy from your company even though you're no longer a part of it?

Always think how your business will run after you're gone. And if currently it wouldn't run smoothly, take actions now so that it will.

3. How has your business performed financially?

Unless the majority of the value of your company is in unique and patented technologies, buyers will thoroughly review your financial performance.

Clearly, they want to see strong revenues and profits. And they want growing revenues and profits. If your revenues or profits are on the decline, many buyers will project that decline will continue, and thus significantly decrease the valuation of your business. Fortunately the opposite is true, so do whatever you can to have strong and growing revenues and profits.

4. How stable is your customer base?

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. The revenues you generate from them pay the bills and ideally fund great profits.

As such, acquirers will scrutinize your customer base. And the most important question is how stable that base is. For example, do they expect 50% of your customers to leave after the acquisition? Or 25%? Or 10%? Or none?

Clearly, the more stable your customer base, the more attractive you are to an acquirer. In the ideal situation, you have signed contracts with customers so the acquirer has complete certainty they will be retained. If not, ideally your customers have gotten in the habit of buying your products or services, or have a solid preference for them, so their continued patronage is likely.

Likewise, having a diversified customer base, as opposed to just a few very large clients, helps. Because with fewer, larger customers, there's more risk that one will leave and take a large chunk of your revenues with them.

5. What are the odds of sustainable future growth?

When you combine the four questions above, much of what the acquirer is trying to answer is what your odds are for future growth.

For instance, if you have a stable customer base, your financials are strong and growing, your business is unique, and it will be easy to run your business post acquisition, then your odds for future growth are great and you will have tons of suitors.

And tons of suitors interested in buying your business means that they will bid the value up and up, so when you sell, you will get a great premium. Which is probably one of the reasons you started your business in the first place. So do this, and make it happen!

Suggested Resource: If you want to build a sellable business, watch this free presentation called "Million Dollar Exits: How to Build a Business You Can Sell For Millions of Dollars." It starts by explaining the 3 most dangerous trends facing entrepreneurs today. Or learn more below.

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Million Dollar Exits: How to Build a Business
You Can Sell For Millions of Dollars

What’s the ultimate path to wealth as an entrepreneur?

Build your company and then sell it for millions to the highest bidder.

In this video, I explain precisely how to build a sellable company.

The video starts by explaining the 3 most dangerous trends facing entrepreneurs and business owners today (so you can avoid them).

And then shows you the right way to build a sellable business.

Click here to watch the video now so you can build a business and sell it for millions

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How Freudian Thinking Allows You to Raise Crowdfunding


 

The influence of the crowd is a major factor in Crowdfunding, as psychology often plays a role in the failure or success of a Crowdfunding campaign.

Crowd psychology is a form of social psychology. Regular people are generally able to gain power by acting as a group. It has been shown through history that big groups of people have brought about sudden and dramatic social changes in a way that sidesteps traditional due process.

Social scientists have come up with a number of different theories to explain crowd psychology. In addition, scientists have also come up with several different theories regarding the way that crowd psychology is different from the psychology of the individual within that crowd.

Freud on Crowd Behavior

First, Sigmund Freud had a crowd behavior theory. He believed that people in a crowd act differently than individuals. His theory was that the minds of everyone in the group merged to form a new way of thinking. The enthusiasm of each member of the group would increase, and he or she would become less aware of the nature of their actions.

What this means for your Crowdfunding raise: Create a community around those who provide Crowdfunding to you. Use the community to make these people zealots. Encourage them to spread the word about your company so more and more people support you.

Communal Reinforcement

One amazing social phenomenon that happens within a crowd is communal reinforcement, in which an idea or concept is asserted repeatedly, even when there is limited evidence to support it.

As time goes by, the idea or concept becomes reinforced into becoming a stern belief in the minds of many people and can often be regarded as fact by members of the group. Imagine how persuasive you could be by actually showing them the evidence to support your promises (and you should)!

What this means for your Crowdfunding raise: When setting up your Crowdfunding platform and profile, choose a main message and repeat it over and over-in your headline, in the description, in your video, and in your comments. Repetition sells!
 
Social Proof

Online crowds come together virtually. They act and behave collectively, producing effects that would not otherwise be possible if they were approached by themselves.

But they need to see social proof. No one wants to be the first one to donate (except your mom), but if they see that others are doing it, they'll perceive it as more legitimate and will be more likely to fund you.

What this means for your Crowdfunding raise: Don't tell the masses about your Crowdfunding raise at first. Rather, start with your friends and family members. Then, when folks who don't know you come to your Crowdfunding page later, they'll already see a lot of others who've pledged their money to you.

Likewise show as much activity on your Crowdfunding page as possible. Let people see your comments as you answer questions and repeat your message. And make sure to publicly thank those who made donations and make sure people see the progress of your funding as you receive it.

When you raise money from sophisticated angel investors and venture capitalists, there is a lot of psychology involved. When raising Crowdfunding, it's even more so. So, keep this in mind and leverage it. And you will be able to raise Crowdfunding to start and/or grow your business.

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How to Get Funded in 90 Days or Less

If you need funding fast, you have to use Crowdfunding.

Here’s how to do it right

1. It's fast. You’ll get the money in just 90 days or less.

2. It's easy. You don’t even need a business plan - you can get started right away.

3. You keep ALL the money. It’s not debt, and you don’t you don’t give up any ownership in your company either...

Click here to watch the video and learn more now

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