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    Tag Archive: startup

    Crowdfunding? Beware!

    Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe have given entrepreneurs exciting options for funding the development and creation of a business or product. But not every experience with crowdfunding is a good one. There are some important pitfalls to keep in mind!

    Lessons from failure: The Coolest

    One of my favorite crowdfunded products is The Coolest. Before watching the video above, I didn’t know how much I wanted something like this! The inventor of the Coolest, Ryan Grepper, raised more than $13 million to bring his dream to life! Unfortunately, this entrepreneur’s dream turned into a nightmare.

    Raising a lot of money to develop a product seems like a good idea. But it only works if you鸿运彩票新版’ve calculated you鸿运彩票新版r pricing correctly before you鸿运彩票新版 start raising! Grepper’s mistake was pricing his Kickstarter rewards too low: he lost money with every unit promised. Part of this was because of production problems and supplier issues. Many of the assumptions he made when calculating his pricing didn’t bear out.

    The solution: a change in thinking

    Instead of thinking about crowdfunding as a way to gain startup capital, it’s more useful to think about crowdfunding as a mechanism for pre-selling products. Only the margin above you鸿运彩票新版r costs should be thought of as startup capital. For Grepper, increasing his margins when setting his pricing would have given him the financial latitude to overcome his production problems.

    Doing it right: Peak Design

    Peak Design’s Travel Tripod is their 12th Kickstarter project. They don’t use Kickstarter for startup funding; they use it as a sales channel. Can you鸿运彩票新版 use a sales channel for startup funding? Yes, and this is a strongly encouraged practice! But only plan on being able to use the portion of you鸿运彩票新版r sales that you鸿运彩票新版 would otherwise call profit to cover you鸿运彩票新版r startup costs.

    Avoid mistakes: pricing it right!

    For more help with pricing, see our Pricing Magic Course or Pricing Magic eBook! And if you鸿运彩票新版 want some more personal attention, you鸿运彩票新版 can hire Andrew as an entrepreneurial coach.

    Reading for Entrepreneurs: The $100 Startup

    You guys really responded to my previous post, .

    I tried to read this book twice. The first time, it pissed me off. All the talk of easy money and simple steps clashed pretty strongly with my experience, which told me that starting a successful business take a lot of strain and effort. I returned a few years later to finish the book and found it delightful on my second read.

    The thing that convinced me that Chris Guillebeau isn’t out of touch is that he talked with 1500 different entrepreneurs, and their stories are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. It also draws from his own experience. This points to the deep truth that different people can engage in the entrepreneurial process in different ways, with different end results. The way you鸿运彩票新版 think about what you鸿运彩票新版 do matters.

    “The way you鸿运彩票新版 think about what you鸿运彩票新版 do matters.”

    The real value of is that it removes the myth that you鸿运彩票新版 need to invest a lot of money to start a business. See, for example, about How to Get Started with Hardly Any Money. (Also, if you鸿运彩票新版’re interested, there’s .)

    The $100 Startup moves the emphasis from investing money toward providing value for customers. Guillebeau also emphasizes action over planning, which dovetails nicely with the Lean Startup methodology discussed over here.

    But my favorite part of is the stories of successful entrepreneurs who started with very little money. Like most humans, I love learning through stories, and inspiration is at least an important as content in learning entrepreneurship.

    Have you鸿运彩票新版 read The $100 Startup? Did you鸿运彩票新版 like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know.

    Enjoy the reading!

    Businesses my students are launching

    I’m privileged to teach business and entrepreneurship at . This semester, my students in Seminar in Strategic Management are launching businesses. Here are a few of the projects they’re working on:

    For Freedom Flags

    These are great gifts for veterans, police officers, firefighter, and other heroes and patriots.

    A post shared by (鸿运彩票新版@forfreedomflags) on

    Altered Marketing

    This dynamic duo is offering social media marketing consulting for small businesses. Any business that needs more traffic or wants to sell more should look them up!

    Wisdom Watchers

    These caring helpers take care of the daily household needs of older people. They help people living on their own to stay independent for longer, and they provide peace of mind for anyone responsible for an older relative.

    Cell Now

    These preneurs take used or broken electronics and give them a new life before selling them overseas to people who don’t have access to the latest gadgets.

    T.H.E. Detail Kings

    These help to protect the investment you鸿运彩票新版’ve made in you鸿运彩票新版r car. They make you鸿运彩票新版r used car feel like a new car for only a fraction of the price!

    A post shared by (鸿运彩票新版@the_detail_kings) on


    These guys , delivered with a unique experience!

    A post shared by (鸿运彩票新版@the.design.dude) on

    Renegade Shirts

    These guys deliver custom, classy t-shirts for military members and firearms enthusiasts. They also offer military unit t-shirts at a good price and right when they’re needed.

    String It On

    This team makes custom string art wall art (backed by good stories) for 鸿运彩票新版 stagers and moms with kids.

    Which project is you鸿运彩票新版r favorite? Which one(s) do you鸿运彩票新版 want more information about?

    How to get started with hardly any money

    This is a slideshow from a talk I gave .

    It goes through some bootstrapping techniques used when starting a new business. This talk concentrated on Social Enterprises and the unique advantages and challenges of such. “What is a social enterprise?” you鸿运彩票新版 may ask. That’s a great question and a subject for another day’s blog post.

    For now, please let me know if there are areas of the presentation that you鸿运彩票新版’d like to see explained in detail. Leave a comment below if you鸿运彩票新版’d like to talk about this further.

    The Slides

    The Presentation


    When to register you鸿运彩票新版r trademark

    One question I hear from a lot of first-time entrepreneurs is how they should go about registering their trademark. There area  few issues to consider here. First, let me state upfront that I’m not an attorney, not an expert in intellectual property, and I’m not giving anyone legal advice. But I hope that I can clarify the role of trademark in you鸿运彩票新版r company’s startup journey.

    Interbrand's Top 8 brands of 2015

    Interbrand’s Top 8 brands of 2015

    Trademark Basics

    In the United States, trademark is handled by the . A trademark is the mark that helps customers to tell you鸿运彩票新版r product or service from those of you鸿运彩票新版r competitors. It’s an important part of you鸿运彩票新版r company’s brand identity. As with copyright, you鸿运彩票新版 don’t have to actually register you鸿运彩票新版r trademark to start using it. Unlike copyright (which costs $55 to register), it costs between $10,000 and $30,000 to register a Trademark. It’s so expensive because of the time needed to search for previous similar uses of the mark and the attorney’s fees required for the lengthy application process.

    When to register

    The biggest misconception I hear about trademarks is that you鸿运彩票新版 need to go through the extensive registration process before you鸿运彩票新版 begin selling products or services to customers. The truth is that this is NOT a preliminary step, and you鸿运彩票新版 can start doing business without registration.

    I can almost hear the objection: “But what if someone rips off my trademark and starts using my before I can get it registered?” My response is that entrepreneurs shouldn’t rely on a trademark as the only differentiator between their products or services and those of their competitors.

    If the only thing that makes you鸿运彩票新版 better than you鸿运彩票新版r competitors is a logo, then you鸿运彩票新版 don’t deserve to lead you鸿运彩票新版r intended market. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to create as many barriers to entry behind you鸿运彩票新版 as possible. Trademark will eventually be one of these, but you鸿运彩票新版 should also consider how to outperform you鸿运彩票新版r competition on cost, price, service, delivery, availability, quality, and usefulness.

    It’s good to look better than you鸿运彩票新版r competition, but it’s preferable to BE better than you鸿运彩票新版r competition.

    You should plan to register you鸿运彩票新版r trademark eventually. But you鸿运彩票新版r first task as an entrepreneur is to develop a product or service, get it into customers’ hands, start generating revenue, and focus of being the best (or cheapest or fastest) at what you鸿运彩票新版 do. Some of these tasks require money, but they all require hustle. And hustle is both free and rare.

    Get out there and make it happen!

    *Note: Below is a video that explains all the details of Trademarks and registration, straight from the US Patent and Trademark office. They provide the best technical guidance available. The video IS almost 42 minutes long, so strap in if you鸿运彩票新版 plan to watch the entire thing.