Entrepreneurship

Starting a business can be scary, confusing and expensive without expert guidance and support. News, tips and advice for your startup.

Customer Strategy Tips from an Indie Rocker

In August 2005, Jonathan Coulton quit his job as a software developer, with the goal of conducting an experiment: over the next year, could he figure out a way to earn a living as a full-time musician, leveraging the Web and his small-but-passionate fan base?

Coulton isn’t the only artist who is trying to come up with new ways of cultivating an audience and making a living in a post-label, post-studio, post-publisher world, where big advances and development deals are essentially a thing of the past for emerging talent. For my new book Fans, Friends & Followers, I spoke with thirty filmmakers, musicians, writers and comedians who’ve been developing new strategies for building a fan base that can support the work they want to do. Many of their strategies would be equally effective for businesses trying to generate buzz and attract loyal customers – without an enormous marketing budget.

Coulton, for instance, has discovered that by giving his fans an opportunity to collaborate with him, they’re more likely to feel like active, engaged supporters – more likely to purchase CDs, merchandise, downloads, and concert tickets.

Here are just three of the ways Coulton has invited his followers to get involved with his career, each of which could be applied by many kinds of businesses. …read more at Customer Strategy Tips from an Indie Rocker – Harvard Business Publishing, published 17 April 2009.

Photo credit: Dale May Photography

By | April 20, 2009|Blog, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Business Answers: Finding Grants & Investors

In this video segment, Ken Yancey, the CEO of SCORE, and investment advisor Phil Town answer questions from MSNBC viewers on funding for their small businesses. The two debunk the myth of federal grants, caution viewers on accepting investment dollars from friends, and clarify the full credit risks of bank loans.

Author Peter Johnson offers some advice on what to do before you seek investors in this December 2008 video interview with CNN Money.

By | April 6, 2009|Blog, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Startups in a Downturn

Entrepreneurs who helped build their startups into tech stalwarts—companies like Cisco, Oracle, and Google—share lessons on how to thrive during tough times

December 1987 was no time to be raising money for a startup. Computer engineer Len Bosack was trying to attract funding for a young enterprise called Cisco Systems (CSCO). But the stock market had just crashed and the Dow Jones industrial average had plummeted 40% since October. Gun-shy venture capitalists either didn’t get the newfangled technology or deemed it too risky.

Making matters worse, Bosack was running low on the savings he had used to bootstrap the business, and competition was gaining steam. It wasn’t until this 75th meeting that he found a receptive audience. The willing financier was Donald Valentine of Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. On Dec. 14, two months after Black Monday, Sequoia invested $2.5 million in Cisco. “Valentine’s reasoning was pretty simple,” recalls Bosack, now CEO of telecom gear-maker XKL. “It doesn’t matter what they are. They are selling stuff in a bad market. With a little bit of capital and more experienced help they should be able to do better.”

Better is just what Cisco did. By the time of its initial share sale three years later, in February 1990—during a recession—the maker of telecom networking equipment was worth $224 million. Within a decade, Cisco Systems had become one of the world’s most valuable companies. …more at Startups in a Dowturn | Business Week, published 23 February 2009.

Flickr photo credit: Powru

By | February 25, 2009|Blog, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments